Ancient Rome had to have been interesting and it even seems like it might have been fun, some times.
But we have to wonder, unless you were the emperor or a high up politician, was leisure actually leisure?
Tomorrow, we’ll look at the Romans’…
Results of Justification by Faith
1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
“Peace with God” – not merely a subjective feeling (peace of mind) but primarily an objective status, a new relationship with God: Once we were His enemies, but now we are His friends (see v. 10: Eph 2:16; Col 1:21-22).
2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
A Christian can rejoice in suffering because he knows that it is not meaningless. Part of God’s purpose is to produce character in His children.
For example, if a person was incarcerated for a crime they didn’t commit, it would be horrible.
Yet, if they did their time with God by their side then the event would be enjoyable and even gainful.
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
“Hope maketh not ashamed” – the believer’s hope is not to be equated with unfounded optimism.
On the contrary, it is the blessed assurance of our future destiny and is based on God’s love which is revealed to us by the Holy Ghost and objectively remonstrated to us in the death of Christ.
Paul has moved from faith to hope to love (see 1 Cor 13:13; 1 Thes 1:3).
“Is shed abroad” – the verb indicates a present status resulting from a past action. When we first believed in Christ, the Holy Ghost poured out His love in our hearts, and His love for us continues to dwell in us.
6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
“Righteous man…good man” – we were neither righteous nor good, but sinners, when Christ died for us.
In all actuality, we deserve nothing from God, but God says otherwise. If we believe in Jesus Christ then we deserve everything and we will obtain it.
Some people think they are so horrible that God could not love them and they refuse Him.
I once had a girlfriend that was quite wealthy and I was unemployed so she wanted to give me some money.
I refused to accept her gift and she said, “It is impolite to refuse a gift.” I had to think for a minute before I realized she was correct.
Imagine how your mother would feel if she brought you a gift and you refused it. How do you think she would feel?
It’s the same with God, don’t refuse what He offers and don’t let stupid man convince you to turn down the gift of all gifts: Eternal Life with Jesus Christ.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
“Enemies” – man is the enemy of God, not the reverse. Thus the hostility must be removed from man if reconciliation is to be accomplished.
God took the initiative in bringing this about through the death of His Son (see Col 1:21-22).
“Reconciled” – to reconcile is “to put an end to hostility,” and is closely related to the term “justify,” as the parallelism in vv. 9-10 indicates:
v. 9 v. 10
By his blood By the death of His Son
We shall be saved We shall be saved
“Saved by his life” – a reference to the unending life and ministry of the resurrected Christ for His people.
Since we are reconciled when we were God’s enemies, we will be saved because Christ lives to keep us.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
5:12-21 – a contrast between Adam and Christ. Adam introduced sin and death into the world: Christ brought righteousness and life.
The comparison begun in v. 12 is completed in v. 18; these two verses summarize the whole passage.
These two men also sum up the message of the book up to this point. Adam stands for man’s condemnation; Christ stands for the believer’s justification.
“Death” – physical death is the penalty for sin. It is also the symbol of spiritual death, man’s ultimate separation from God.
“For that all have sinned” – not a repetition of 3:23. The context shows that Adam’s sin involved the rest of mankind in condemnation and death.
We do not start life with even the possibility of living it sinlessly; we begin with the sinful nature (see Gen 8:21; Ps 51:5, 58:3, Eph 2:3).
John Locke (1632-1704), widely known as the Father of Classical Liberalism, had believed that when we are born without knowledge of anything (Tabula Rasa), but God says otherwise:
We are born evil at heart:
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Ps 58:3).
Yet, we know of God, not His ways and all that He has done and will do, but we know Him:
“He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Ecc 3:11).
Back to v. 5:12-21 – Due to the fall of Adam and Eve we are born on the road that leads to hell, but Jesus Christ came and died for us, giving us a road map to heaven, Himself.
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
“Sin is not imputed” – in the period when there was no (Mosaic) law, sin was not charged against me. Death, however, continued to occur.
Since death is the penalty of sin, people between Adam and Moses were involved in the sin of someone else, namely, Adam.
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
“Much more” – a theme that runs through this section. God’s grace is infinitely greater for good than Adam’s sin for evil.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
“Free gift came upon all men” – does not mean that everyone eventually will be saved, but that salvation is available to all.
To be effective, God’s gracious gift must be received.
Remember, it’s impolite not to accept a gift?
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
“Law entered” – not to bring about redemption but to point up the need for it. The law made sin even more sinful by revealing what sin is in stark contrast to God’s holiness.
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Did the Romans have free time?
Most people in Roman times did not have much spare time. They were too busy working. They liked games though.
Soldiers often played board games with counters and dice. Counters and boards for their games have been found. Archaeologists aren’t always sure of the rules!
Hunting was also popular. People hunted animals for fun as well as for food. The Romans introduced fallow deer to Britain, just for hunting.
Some things the Romans did for fun were horrible. They enjoyed fights between gladiators, and fights between people and animals.
These bloodthirsty shows were put on in front of crowds in large arenas called amphitheaters.
Roman emperors paid for free shows at theatres and amphitheatres. It was a good way to make themselves popular.
What did gladiators do?
Gladiators fought one another, usually in pairs. They also fought wild animals such as lions or bears.
When a gladiator was beaten (but still alive), the audience would wave scarves or put their thumbs out if they wanted him killed.
If he’d fought well, and they wanted him to live, they would close their thumbs onto their fingers. Different types of gladiators used different weapons.
For example, a man with a sword and shield might fight a man with a three-pronged spear or trident, and a big net.
What was a Roman play like?
Romans enjoyed the theatre. Most plays were funny comedies, though there were serious tragedies as well.
Actors often wore masks to show whether their character was happy or sad! They also wore wigs – an old man had a white wig, a slave had a red wig.
Why did Romans like baths so much?
Roman baths were like leisure centres. You went there to relax, not just to get clean.
The baths were open to everyone, and a good place to keep fit, meet people and do business.
When you went to the baths, you took off your outdoor clothes and warmed up with some exercises.
Then, after a swim in the pool, you went into a series of heated rooms. You got hotter and hotter, to sweat out the dirt.
You’d chat with friends while you sweated, and perhaps have a massage and rub down with perfumed oil.
Then you (or a slave) would scrape off the dirt, sweat and oil with a metal scraper called a strigil.
Finally, a plunge into a cold pool. Very refreshing! The best preserved Roman baths in Britain are in the city of Bath.
What happened in a chariot race?
In Rome there was a huge stadium called the Circus Maximus, used for chariot races.
Chariot races were held in Britain too. These were thrilling, but very dangerous.
Chariots were small two-wheeled carts, driven by one man and pulled by four galloping horses. They raced around an oval track. There were often smashes during the seven-lap races.
If a gladiator lived long enough to retire, he was given a wooden sword as a present.
Many Roman actors “over-acted”, waving their arms and shouting. They had to attract the audience’s attention because plays often went on for hours.
Martial, a famous Roman writer, wrote that the most annoying noises from the baths were the yells of the sausage-sellers calls and the shrieks of customers having their hair plucked out!
Big amphitheaters were sometimes flooded to stage spectacular water shows with real boats and even crocodiles.
There were four teams of chariot racers in Rome. People supported them like we follow football teams and wore the team’s colours.