Book 6 of the NT having 16 chapters. It was written by Paul to the believers at Rome about AD 57. Time to read: 1 hr. Key people: Paul.
Outline: None of the apostles, including Paul had been to Rome (Rom 1:13). Jews returning home (to Rome) after Pentecost had started the church there. In the introduction to this letter, he makes a clear presentation of his faith stating, “God’s wrath is against all demonstrations of our sinful nature. Man in his stubbornness is in effect storing up this wrath against himself for the day of ‘settling accounts’ which is coming” (Rom 1:18, 2:5-11). He then outlines the gospel remedy – salvation – providing freedom from sin’s power, the privilege of becoming a child of Christ and discovering God’s great love. From that solid basis, he goes on to explain how his readers should live.
Main lesson. “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom 12:1,2). This book spells out the two options; we cater to the sinful, corrupt nature that will lead to eternal damnation or we choose to put that nature to death, live for Christ, and receive eternal life.
Key verses and thoughts: * “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Paul, after his powerful initial encounter, had such an ongoing, growing relationship with Christ that preaching the gospel, regardless of personal cost, was what consumed him totally. Some of the salvation verses in this book are; “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace” (Rom 3:23,24). “We have been justified through faith; we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1). “When we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:6-8). “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23). “Salvation depends on God’s mercy, not on our desire or effort” (Rom 9:16). “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Rom 10:9,10). Once we have embarked on this life of faith we need to progress. It is not a destination but a continual journey of faith until we reach heaven, for “whatever does not come from faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). Faith is always a work of God and not of man’s effort, however our faith must outflow in works of righteousness. It needs to be pointed out although “Sin came into the world by one man – Adam, so also freedom through salvation comes by one man – Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:12,17-19). Sin is automatically passed on to each member of the human race, but salvation is a gift that must be individually received.
* “Should we keep on sinning to prove and experience more of God’s mercy? God forbid” (Rom 6:1,2). His forgiveness is available when we do sin and repent but we are to walk in newness of life. This is the principle of baptism. Every part of the old life, figuratively speaking, is to be crucified so we are not its slaves any longer. We are to dedicate ourselves to the new, divine master (Rom 6:4-22). In our old nature, there is nothing good. A continual conflict exists between it and the new nature. Jesus is the only one who can rescue us and give victory in this dilemma (Rom 7:18,24,25). We decide which nature wins by the continual choices we make to the situations of life.
* “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom 8:1,2). Don’t let Satan try to condemn you by guilt feelings or wrong accusations. Confess the facts based on the Bible – that because you are a child of God the blood of Christ has released you from the hold that Satan and sin had on you previously – and walk in the liberty that Christ died to provide. Don’t dwell on what you were but see your new self as living in right relationship with God. Paul then explains that those who live according to the sinful nature, following the desires of that way of life, fail to please God and with this persistent bias towards evil and being under its control are destined to spiritual death. The converse is also true. Those that live by what the Spirit desires have their minds focused on what He wants, and being in submission to Him gives life and peace. Therefore, we have an obligation to ‘put to death’ the wrong actions of the body and a responsibility to live rightly if we want to walk, in correct alignment, under the protection of Christ (Rom 8:5-13).
* “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose of being conformed to the image of Jesus…In all things we are more conquerors, because He is for us and we can’t be separated from His love” (Rom 8:28,29,31,35,37). The Christian walk is not governed by our perspective or wants - it is orchestrated by the love and power of the ruler of the universe. Many times it is only as we look back that we can grasp (even then only to a limited extent) the sovereignty or over-ruling of God in our lives. This is why Paul confidently wrote from experience, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us” (Rom 5:3-5). Do I have this approach and attitude when things don’t seem to be going the way I think they should?
See also: baptism (water), choice, faith, road (romans), Roman Empire, sovereignty of God.