Love Poured Forth

by Zane Hodges

Romans 5:5. now expectation does not result in shame, because the love of God is poured out in our hearts through the holy spirit who has been given to us.

The expectation that is produced in us through enduring our trials and becoming approved in God's sight, promotes a boldness about our Christian profession. What Paul means is that we can unashamedly (i.e., boldy) confess such a believing expectation. Paul will address the theme of confessing Christ in 10:5-13, a passage in which he affirms that "everyone who believes in Him shall not be ashamed."

The fundamental reason why this freedom from shame can be realized is now traced to a rich inner experience of the love of God. So far from our "afflictions" creating a sense of distance and estrangement from God, they can actually usher in a deeper appreciation of His love. As these afflictions are properly endured, producing qualities in us of which God approves, it is as though the love of God is poured forth in our hearts. That is to say that our hearts are suffused with His love as the holy spirit makes that love a joyous realization within us.

With these words, Paul has reached the climax of his "staircase" treatment of the benefits of justification. Justification by faith results in peace with, and access to, the God from whom we were formerly estranged, and is accompanied by an expectation of future glory. This expectation, in turn, is enhanced by experiencing the afflictions which God uses to mold us into persons who have His approval. And that process itself leads to a grand realization of how much we are loved by Him.

Paul's description in 5:1-5 of the rich quality of the Christian's postjustification experience serves as part of a bridge section (5:1-11) leading to a detailed exposition of precisely this experience (Rom 5:12–8:38). But Paul's words already imply the meaningfulness of the last phrase of his thematic statement in 1:17: "The one who is righteous by faith shall live."