I like to think that Romans is popular among the theological minded because it full of therefore’s. Paul is attempting to lay out a logical argument, with different sections building on each other, and at times circling back. Unlike his other letters, Paul isn’t dealing with problems in that specific church or addressing specific needs. He addresses the problem facing all churches—that is what to do about the Jew and Gentile divide. Instead this letter is telling the Romans what he believes and what is central to the Christian faith. Chapter 5 hits a home run with three “therefore’s.”
But let me only highlight the first therefore, which is in the first verse, “We are justified by faith (what Paul has been talking about in chapters 3 and 4), THERFORE, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ.” It is easy to skip over this line and focus on the thought provoking stuff right after it. But this idea that we have peace with God because of Jesus Christ is absolutely central to the story of Christianity. When the Apostle Peter is shown by God that Jesus is also for the Gentiles he goes and tells a Roman Centurion and his family that God sent to Israel “peace by Jesus Christ” (Acts 10.36). The world, ourselves, and our relationship with God is not right. It is broken and un-whole. Jesus Christ makes us whole and gives us peace with God. We can be in right relationship with God, the world, and others because we have shalom/peace.