It’s the greatest commentary in Scripture. It outlines virtually all aspects of the gospel. It was written to a nation that mysteriously received the gospel. The book was written by a man who had been radically transformed; a man who understood the good news and desired to have all understand who God is and the Gift that he had freely given.
It all began when Saul, who we know now as Paul, was converted. He was a Jewish man who was persecuting those who believed, when he was suddenly converted by the ascended Jesus himself. This set the stage for Paul to set out on his journey to preach the good news through a series of missionary journeys. Towards the end of his third missionary journey, Paul wrote a book called Romans. Possibly the greatest commentary on overall aspects of the Gift given to all. This book goes through key concepts and arguments, and Paul’s style of writing to the Gentiles, but also the Jews is heartfelt.
The progression of topics throughout Romans is done so well for the organized/analytical minds like me (with the exception of a couple chapters… to be discussed later…). It begins with Paul declaring that he is UNASHAMED of the gospel (Romans 1:16-17). Notice that it says that he is unashamed of the gospel that is offered to both the Jew and the Gentile. This was Paul’s huge point throughout this entire book (other than salvation of course). He was called to minister to the Gentiles, but Paul, being a Jew, has a heart for the Jewish people and desires for them to understand that this is a gift to all. Therefore he is unashamed of the gospel that is free to all who will accept it. After declaring that he is unashamed, he goes into to the fact that we are CONDEMNED. We are worthless. We are nothing, we just kinda suck. First glance, kinda a downer. But Paul uses this to build up justification which is the next theme that he discusses. Paul goes into describing that we are all JUSTIFIED because of Christ. God sees Christ through us, if we accept Him, and therefore we are completely justified in sin because of His death and resurrection. However, this justification is not to be taken for granted. Yes, we are justified/seen as new/perfect in His eyes, but that does not mean that we are not without sin. Paul then moves into SANCTIFICATION. He describes that this is a process! We must understand that we are sinners, every single one of us, but through Christ we can, overtime, seek more freedom from sin until we reach glorification in which we are free from it completely. Sanctification is living life; it’s hard, stinking hard sometimes, but all things are done to strengthen our faith in Him and to love Him even more.
Paul has a fairly easy flow up until this point (around chapter 9). This next section is about Israel, and this is the part in which we see Paul’s heart for ALL to understand this. He goes into describing the fact that Israel is still the chosen land and people of God. They have the history, they will be restored, but they must not be ignorant to the gift that is front of them. Paul of course has a heart for Israel, because, as stated before, HE WAS A JEW. This is so important for us to remember as we follow Christ; Israel is still God’s chosen people and He has a plan for them, just as He had a plan to save us.
Finally Paul brings us to a close starting in chapter 12. Until the end of the book Paul goes into APPLICATION of our faith, until his concluding remarks. The beauty of these last few chapters is that Paul, continuing in his writing style of asking questions then answering them himself, emphasizes the fact that we have to apply our faith. We can believe all we want, but we are not TRUE servants if we are not applying what Christ has done to our own lives (examples can be our speech, our sexual purity, fulfill the Great Commission, etc). Faith without works is dead (James 2:14).
The purpose of Romans is to encourage believers; to push on towards eternity, to make disciples, and to build one another in the faith. Through this, we see God’s righteousness, His perfection, His mercy, His generosity, His wrath, His LOVE. Yes, we are to know this: God is good, He has given a free gift to all; and we NEED it. We are nothing without Him, but made to be everything in Him. How beautiful it is…
“I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:11-12