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Romans 5:9 ESV

"Since, therefore, we have been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God." [My emphasis].

In what way is this "shall ..be saved" "much more" than the "have been justified" that is mentioned here?

Is it "much more" in terms of quality, or just a quantitative continuation of the same, or some combination of both of these?

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  • Our understanding and acknowledgement of Jesus and the necessity of his sacrifice is paramount to our reconciliation with God, through his propitiation for us, in order to have the possibility of our sinning nature be forgiven. That much should be obvious to the true believer. How we go about our lives, once knowing this, can be less than obvious however. I appreciate the question you have asked here and in turn appreciate the two, quite exceptional, answers now given. Commented May 12 at 10:08

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This is part of a larger argument. When Paul says "much more" here, he is not talking about quantity OR quality.

Rather, it is about the certainty and completeness of salvation.

Paul is making a comparison between two aspects of Christian salvation:

  1. Justification: The act of being declared righteous by God, which is made possible through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (his blood). This is a past event for believers. A completed action.
  2. Propitiation (Salvation from the wrath of God): This is the future deliverance from God’s final judgment and wrath. This is a future event for believers, yet to be fully realized.

Here’s a deductive argument based on the scripture:

  • Premise 1: Justification has already been achieved through the blood of Christ. - Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”
  • Premise 2: God, who has already justified us, is faithful and will complete His work in us. - Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
  • Premise 3: Salvation from the wrath of God is part of this work that God will complete in us. - 1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

Paul’s argument is that if God has already done the “harder” thing of justifying sinners (declaring them righteous) through the death of His Son, how much more certain is it that He will do the “easier” thing of saving them from His wrath?

In other words, if God has already done the great work of justifying us, we can be even more confident that He will complete His work by saving us from the wrath to come.

"Since A is true, then B is really, really true." Both ideas are connected, and both are true. [1]

So, the “much more” is expressing the greater certainty of our future salvation, based on the fact of our past justification.

Other References
“The Meaning of Romans 5:9 Explained.” Scripturespeaks.org, 2024, www.scripturespeaks.org/verse/Romans+5%3A9. Accessed 11 May 2024.
“Romans 5:9 Commentaries: Much More Then, Having Now Been Justified by His Blood, We Shall Be Saved from the Wrath of God through Him.” Biblehub.com, biblehub.com/commentaries/romans/5-9.htm. Accessed 11 May 2024.
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    @Jason – I am not trying to win an argument, here. But, isn’t the Premise 2 conditional? I mean, Philip 1:6 is certain on God’s part; He will complete the work. But what about our part? Paul talks about running the race well and not well! He asks the Galatian Christian believers: “You were running well; who held you back that you do not obey the truth?” (Gal 5:7). Commented May 12 at 8:01
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    @NepheshRoi The second premise speaks of God's role. The certainty on God's part is what is important for the premise to stand true. As John Piper put it - "Perseverance shows that our original union with Christ was real."
    – Jason_
    Commented May 12 at 23:15
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    @Jason - Good answer. Up voted. I also learned a new formatting technique from you. Thank you. Commented May 13 at 1:31
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Background

“For there is no difference, for all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:22-23).

“For we have charged both Jews and Greeks before, all with being under sin; according as it has been written, "There is not a righteous one, not even one!" "There is not one understanding; there is not one seeking God." All turned away, they became worthless together, not one is doing goodness, not so much as one!" (Rom 3:9-12).

On their own, human beings are all sinners. They break God’s commandments relentlessly; for sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4).

So, no one can reach God and get saved on his own, unless God reaches out to him. But God does exactly that.

Grace & Election

But the selection of who should get saved in each age is solely on God’s discretion:

“those being called according to purpose; because whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers. But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Rom 8:28-30).

This is exactly what God told Moses also:

“For He said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will pity whomever I will pity” (Rom 9:15) (This is found in Exodus 33:19).

Justification/Reconciliation through Blood and Death

The people who respond to God’s call positively will be “justified now” through faith in Christ’s Death. His “’past sins’” (Rom 2:25; 2 Pet 1:9) are forgiven as he gets cleansed through Christ’s Blood.

“Much more then, being justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath through Him. For if while being enemies we were reconcileed to God through the death of His Son, much more, being reconcileed, we shall be saved by His life” (Rom 5:9-10).

A few things:

  1. Our past sins are forgiven. Thereafter, we must avoid sins (that is, avoid breaking God’s commandments).

This is why Jesus asked the people to sin no more:

“After these things, Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, Behold, you have become well, sin no more that a worse thing not happen to you” (John 5:14).

“And she said, No one, Lord. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I judge you. Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

  1. Justification or reconciliation is a NOW process.

It is done through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice (Rom 10:17; yes, it requires faith through hearing; we haven’t seen Christ’s sacrifice).

Works of Law (animal sacrifices) has nothing to do here except to remind us of our sins year by year (Heb 9:25; 10:1,3).

Justification is the very first step in the life-long process of salvation.

Justification is absolutely “free” (Rom 3:24) from God. It has no relation to our merit. But we need to have “faith in His blood” (verse 25).

David talks about the blessedness of a person who receives the free justification without the works of Law:

“Blessed are those whose lawlessnesses are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed the man to whom the Lord will in no way charge sin” (Rom 4:6-8 citing Psalms 32:1-2).

Salvation through Resurrection and Life

  1. We “shall be saved”. This is given in the future tense.

See,

Justification is through the blood and DEATH of Christ; and

Salvation is through the LIFE and resurrection of Christ.

So we see that justification/reconciliation is a NOW process but salvation is a life-long process that culminates in the resurrection in the FUTURE.

This is why, Paul advises to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phlp 2:12).

The justified person learns to bear “afflictions, knowing that affliction works out patience, and patience works out proven character; and proven character, hope. And the hope does not put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us” (Rom 5:3-5).

Is there an automatic guarantee for our salvation?

“It's not that I have already reached this goal or have already become perfect. But I keep pursuing it, hoping somehow to embrace it just as I have been embraced by the Messiah Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God's heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus” (Phlp 3:12-14).

Much More

So, the “much more” is in terms of both quality and quantity because,

  1. In justification, we have not much role except to respond positively to God’s call in faith;

  2. But in salvation we are racing towards a goal (Phlp 3:14; Heb 12:1) through afflictions and persecutions yet without forsaking holiness. We need to work out our salvation through thick and thin with the help of God. It is a race.

Conclusion

The salvation is “much more” in quality and quantity;

In quality because we are becoming more and more spiritual (Rom 8:5);

In quantity because we get rewards according to our “works” (Rom 2:6).

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Much more shall we be saved is both in terms of magnitude of quality and duration that is endless.

“Justification is the ground of peace, Sin no longer bars of from the presence of God. Yet peace is a favor infinitely beyond justification. God’s affections are not satisfied with clearing us from all guilt. He wants our love and our adoration. Righteousness alone does not give us a passport into His presence, but this further grace of reconciliation urges us into full and affectionate fellowship with Him. And we are aware that He will not rest in having us clothed in forensic righteousness only, but will make us all that He desires, to satisfy His own love.” Concordant commentary

Much rather, then, being now justified in His blood, we shall be saved from indignation through Him.

#3709. Orge implies that it is not a sudden outburst, but rather (referring to God’s) fixed , controlled, passionate feeling against sin….a settled indignation. From word study by Hendrksen

In other words, Christ’s blood is a memorial of the abiding efficacy of His death. If fends us off from all future indignation. Knoch

One aspect of the many of “much mores” is stated in the next verse.

For if, being enemies, we were conciliated to God through the death of His Son, we shall be saved in His life. Romans 5:10 Since Christ united us in His death, we are raised up into His resurrected life. The very life of Christ is being formed in a believer and one begins to experience what His life living in us does. It brings us peace, joy, rest, Glorying in God. To truly worship Him as He is. He gives us ALL THINGS, He not only justifies us, He glorifies us. Romans 8:26-30

Part of the old life of being under the wrath or indignation of God is revealed in Romans 3:18-32 where God gives people over to the lusts of their hearts, or in other words lets people continue in their own ways and reaping the results of that.
God putting us in Christ’s life now changes our lives as He is formed in us and we begin to experience a life where we begin to know the true God, where not only to we are no longer His enemy, but like Abraham a friend of God. Even more so we begin a journey of know Him as Father in a more affectionate way.

The many mores are continually being revealed through Paul’s letters as revelations are given to him. The much mores are only revealed through His spirit opening up our eyes to what He has freely given us…..all the way into Ephesians where Christ inheritance is now also ours. To come to know God as He truly is through Christ’s life will continue through the ages, to receiving new bodies with out sin, and to forever be in the presence of God and Him being our all in all.

Conclusion: We have only just begun to discovering the much mores and l don’t think it will ever end.

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Prophet Sha'ul / Rabbi Saul / Apostle Paul being an educated Jew of his day possibly using standard Jewish hermeneutical practices of the day, primarily in this case the rule of "kal va homer", or "from the lesser to the greater". https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/hermeneutics

I.e. if this lesser thing is true in light of whatever, "how much more" is the greater thing true. In this text, if Jesus' blood declares us righteous/sets us free (depending on how you parse dikaiōthentes), "how much more" will it rescue us from any coming anger. Kal va homer is used throughout the text by its Jewish authors and also by the characters in the text, including Rabbi Yeshua e.g. Matthew 7:11.

"Much more" or "how much more" is often key phrase for usage of kal va homer.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=how+much+more&t=ESV#s=s_primary_0_1

Jason's earlier answer leaning into this idea imho. Shalom!

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  • Your explanation of "kal va homer" is very helpful. The only comment I would make is that we are justified by his blood but saved by his life, which also explains why it is "much more."
    – Nhi
    Commented May 15 at 14:16

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