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  • Writer's pictureCandice Watters

Saved by His Life (Romans 5:9-10)

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. ¹⁰For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. —Romans 5:9-10

Last week we gloried in the revelation that God sent Christ to die, and Christ who is God died in our place for sins He did not commit. This is not owing to anything in us. Only grace can explain God’s loving action for our good. Now Paul pivots to what God’s lavish grace means for us. 

“We have now been justified,” Paul says. Declared righteous–that’s what God did at Calvary. The Holy Judge declared that we who trust in Christ are not merely innocent of wrongdoing; it’s as if we never sinned and as if we always obeyed. How can we who are incapable of sinlessness and perfect obedience be considered righteous? All of this is owing to the blood of Jesus. We are “justified by his blood.” No more costly payment has ever been paid.

But there’s more, much more. This blood that justifies us is what pleads our case before God’s bench of justice. When the accuser shouts out the list of our sins—sins that deserve God’s wrath—the blood of Jesus guarantees that we shall be saved by Him from God’s righteous anger at our sin. All of this happened while we were still God’s enemies. We were reconciled to God by the death of Jesus, His Son. Again Paul tells us that this is owing not to us, but to Christ.

Now that we are reconciled, Paul says, we shall be saved. How then shall we be saved? I grew up hearing about how I was saved by the blood of Christ. All of the emphasis was on His death. The humble self-sacrifice that Paul describes in Philippians 2:3-8 made up the bulk of my understanding of what it means to be saved: Jesus died for my sins and I’m saved by His death. 

But here Paul says something more. He says that we who have been reconciled shall be saved by His life. What does that mean?

When theologian J. Gresham Machen was near death, he dictated his final words in a telegram to his colleague John Murray: “Im so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.” The blood of Christ paid the penalty for our sins. This is what makes it possible for us to be forgiven. But Christ’s obedient life is no less essential for our salvation. Not only did He never sin, He always obeyed. We who are in Christ have the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that is perfectly sinless and perfectly obedient. We are saved by His dying, yes!, but also by His living. 

Believer, praise God for the active obedience of Christ! “No hope without it!”


For Reflection

  1. What does it mean that we are saved by Christ’s life?

  2. Give thanks to God for Jesus’ perfect obedience in life, actively obeying all of God’s commands.  

  3. Ask God to help you grow in the obedience of faith that flows from the salvation you’ve been given in Christ (Romans 1:5).


Candice Watters is a wife, mother of four, and author. She edits the Fighter Verses blog in between loads of laundry and planning the upcoming VBS for Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. She and her husband Steve blog at


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