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Romans 5:5 “And hope maketh not ashamed [present tense]; because the love of God is shed abroad [perfect tense] in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

This appears to say the present tense hope of the glory of God in verse 2 is confirmed in the present by an [experiential?] love of God in our hearts, and that this “shedding abroad” was an action completed in the past with ongoing result. But when was that action completed?

The two perfect tense verbs in verse 2 [have access, we stand] seem to be intended to relate in time to the justification in verse 1. Does Paul intend to mean that the perfect tense shedding abroad of the love of God in our hearts by the Holy Ghost was also an action completed in time with justification? Wouldn't that in turn imply that the existence of a present tense love of God is a necessary proof of justification?

When was the love of God shed abroad in our hearts a completed action?

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  • 'Is shed abroad' is a continuous present tense. It is a continual state. It is a constant experience.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:20
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    The Blue Letter Bible morphological mapping tool has "is shed abroad" as a Perfect Passive Indicative verb. I understand the Greek perfect tense to describe a completed action which produced results which are still in effect all the way up to the present. My question is when was the action completed [initially]?
    – Gary Sears
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:26
  • Is the entrance to this state the result of justification? If not, how do we enter this state?
    – Gary Sears
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:35
  • The text does not convey 'has been shed abroad' nor does it suggest 'was shed abroad' : the concept is of a state, not of a past action. Wycliffe, Tyndale, Matthews, Bishop's,and KJV all agree 'is shed abroad'. /// Pour out a finite substance from a finite container and, in time, the pouring stops. But the love of God ? ? ?
    – Nigel J
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:35
  • How do we enter ? Through a strait gate and few there be that find it.
    – Nigel J
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:36

1 Answer 1

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The verb ἐκχέω in Rom 5:5, translated "shed abroad" (KJV) is not the best - it is much better translated here as "poured out" - see Matt 9:17, 23:35, 28, Mark 14:25, Luke 5:37, etc.

Indeed, it appears that Paul may be using the same verb used to describe Jesus blood that was "poured out" (Matt 23:35, 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 20:20) to describe His love via the Holy Spirit that is also poured out (Titus 3:6, Acts 10:45, 2:17, 18, 33).

Thus, in one real sense, God's love was poured out when Jesus was crucified and His blood was poured out. In another sense, Jesus' sacrifice only makes sense to the sinner at conversion, when the sinner realizes his great need of the Savior!

In Rom 5:5, the perfect tense of ἐκχέω is used because the pouring out is a completed act (at conversion into our hearts) with on-going effects - God's love via the Holy Spirit continues to transform the sinner to be a Christian - one like Christ.

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  • Thank you for your reply. Do you think that this love of God in our hearts is meant by Paul to be a conscious experience? And is lack of such love an indication that one is not converted [Romans 8:9]?
    – Gary Sears
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:33
  • @GarySears - certainly a lack of the Holy Spirit indicates that a person cannot be a Christian follower of Christ according to Rom 8:9, 10. Further, 1 John 4 repeated says that if we do not show the love of God we do not belong to God or Jesus.
    – Dottard
    Dec 7, 2022 at 22:35

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