“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 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. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:9-11 KJV)
Through… By… They both come from the Greek “dia”. The NIV simply uses “through”. Either way it’s used five times in this short passage. Why through? Like a channel or an opening “through” or “by” indicates something you must completely be inside. For comparison, the term “dia” is also used in Matthew 12:1 when, “Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn…” “Through” not only indicates a closeness, it is starkly different than “around” or “above”. In walking on water, Jesus walked on the water, but He walked through the storm.
Consider this analogy. Linux uses the “|” (pipe) key (usually just below back space) to filter (and sub filter) in a command like this: “cat /var/log/messages | grep Oct 24 | grep -v error”. This effectively filters the system message log for entries dated Oct 24 and sub filters for entries that have the term “error” in them. Windows uses a different key “>” (greater than) to redirect in a command like this: “echo %username%;%date%;%time% > logon.txt”. This effectively captures the user’s user name, the date, and the time to a log file. In today’s world we come up with far more complex commands and formulas to filter and redirect data output. Flow charting, schemas, diagrams, and outlines are the common tools of management to take material through a process. When we use the term “through” in the above passage, we similarly refer to being redirected by Jesus. In and of ourselves, we do not go “through” anything. Only in surrender when we abandon what makes us greater are things then able to be done through Jesus.
Focus on the idea of “through” or “by”. Through Him, by death, by life, through our Lord, and by atonement. First, through Him. It is quite common for people to need their vision adjusted by glasses or contacts. It is similarly the case that what is important must be through Him. Outside of Him, we are subject to wrath. Next, by death; by life. It is His death and resurrection to life that gives us the incentive to die to self and let Him resurrect us like a seed buried only as a necessary part of really growing (see Mark 4:26, 27). Next, through our Lord. Surrender must be exclusive to our Lord. Surrendering to people apart from the word of God is building on sand. Finally, by atonement. It is the atonement that Jesus offers that is singularly fulfilling in the most complete sense of fulfillment.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9 KJV)