I know it’s been a long time in coming… a goal for the new year is more consistency in blogging here. I know it’s my calling and Lord knows I try. Perhaps in my quest to improve Bible literacy, the devil is also in the details?
If you’ve read this epistle (letter) through a few times I’m sure you’re convinced that this is Paul’s best! A masterpiece which brings together all of theology in brief! For me, it confirms all the basic truths that IS the gospel message! Needless to say, I find myself turning to the Book of Romans over and over. It is also why I am pointing you readers to it as well! I sometimes gobble it up, and other times just nibble and snack. So much to digest and it’s all meat!
Having learned how it is structured and main points is just an introduction-an aperitif if you will. For now, a very general guidance and our direction for future and deeper study in the coming year!
Next: let’s say a little about the church that was in Rome. Paul had not yet visited but wanted to very much (Rom. 1:13, 15:23 ) but was hoping to do so soon. So, how did it happen that there were believers in Rome? We can conclude from the fact that when Paul wrote this letter, the faith of those of the Roman church were already well known (Rom. 1:8). It may be that as there were also many Jews there who came to believe that the gospel came with them. Peter also mentions at Pentecost that there were visitors from Rome. It’s quite possible that having become believers, they shared it with others upon their return. It is also likely that the church at Rome was a mix of Jewish and Gentile believers. Many of the Gentile believers, before coming to Christ, had been Jewish proselytes to Judaism. It is commonly believed that Paul wrote this epistle while he was in Corinth during his time in Achaia and sent it with Phoebe, a sister in the church at Cenchrea who was going to Rome.
Now a little about Paul, though I admit that studying the man is almost as fascinating to me as studying Scripture!
-Paul was a Pharisee before his conversion on the Damascus Road! He knew the Jewish law from top to bottom and everything in between!
-He was brought up in the Greek culture and the Hellenic life. He was familiar with all Greek literature.
-Paul had ROMAN Citizenship which gave him extraordinary privileges in the Roman world.
So, here we have a man knowledgeable in the extreme with Hebrew ways, a cultural Greek and a freeborn Roman citizen. This made him, in my opinion, uniquely qualified for his calling! Exhibiting intellect, strength of will (aka discipline), deep feeling and sympathy for all, his character is a perfect blend of who Jesus was looking for to be a witness to all the world! Most of all, what always continues to draw me to study this man is his conversion directly by Jesus. Beyond all else he was the perfect man to blend how being a believer in Jesus was the legitimate outcome, development and completion of all the truth found in the Old Testament!
A Little More Doctrine (no groaning!)
Browse through the first eight chapters again. It’s all about HOW THE GOSPEL SAVES SINNERS! This can be summed up by the statement “Present righteousness and final salvation through Christ BY FAITH” Sadly, nowadays in our deeply commercial, industrial ,urbanized, mechanized world we live by the clock and have less time to consider and ponder and meditate on the deeper things. Materialism seems to rule the masses. The next great technical gadget and of course the many distractions that encompass the internet. Despite all that there ARE hearts that are uneasy and seek more than what is seen. That desire, that rightness with the Creator. THAT is a major part of Paul’s message in these first words of Romans. Check out Rom. 1:18 , Rom. 1:21-23, Rom. 2 , etc.
Paul is going to tell us where righteousness can be found but first he tells us where it is NOT found! Not in worship of nature or in religion! Ultimately he says, “It is NOT found in me!” He then writes all about where it IS found-the Gospel; which is his message in Romans 1-8. There are two aspects to this righteousness-the legal and the moral, or said another way, the judicial and the dynamic. The Gospel provides both! Righteousness is IMPUTED, that is it is judicially given through the awesome payment Jesus paid on the cross. There is also righteousness IMPARTED – the power given through and by the renewing Holy Spirit of Christ JESUS. This is JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE!
So, by faith ,believing all that Jesus said, who He is and in His resurrection we have:
– Peace with God
– Access to God by faith
– Joy in the hope of glory
– God’s unconditional love in our hearts
– Saved from God’s wrath
– Joy in God
Note also those things we are now “dead” to… that no longer have power over those who believe:
Dead to sin-alive to God
Dead to the Law-married to Christ
Dead to the flesh-led by the Spirit
Pretty awesome ain’t it!! By simply believing Jesus, surrendering our being to Him, we become free of the curse of death and eternal wrath!
I’m going to end this here for now and let you dig in a little bit more to these first eight chapters.
It’s a lot to consider, to ponder, to meditate on.
If you’re not yet a follower of Jesus Christ, today I invite you to join me on this marvelous and adventurous road. It’s not going to make you rich, get the mate you have your eye on or anything like that. What it DOES do is set you free to be YOU. The YOU that God created you to be…and He welcomes you to come NOW-just as you are!
You can tell God that you are willing to trust Him for salvation. You can tell Him in your own words or use this simple prayer:
Lord Jesus, I ask You to forgive my sins and save me from eternal separation from God. By faith, I accept Your work and death on the cross as sufficient payment for my sins. Thank You for providing the way for me to know You and to have a relationship with my heavenly Father. Through faith in You, I have eternal life. Thank You also for hearing my prayers and loving me unconditionally. Please give me the strength, wisdom, and determination to walk in the center of Your will. In Jesus’ name, amen.
So, if I’ve helped you in any way this year to draw nearer to God, I’d love to hear from you! You can comment below. All comments are moderated so if you don’t want it published, just say so, OK. I know this is a deeply personal decision. I also want to invite you to my church-ONLINE! Check out my church LifeChurch @ Church Online to meet others who are following Christ or seeking to know more. There are over 80 opportunities to watch the message, worship in song, and even seek personal prayer. All of the live chats (yes we talk in church!) are moderated by trained hosts from all over the world. I host on Tuesday mornings 8:30 AM Central Time-USA and if you are there… say HEY DONNA!
One of my personal goals for the coming year is to post more consistently (at least once a week) despite anything life may send my way. I covet prayers for the coming year as we dig deeper into Romans. My “plan” is one or two chapters a week so we finish up before Easter Sunday April 1. After that we’ll go into full “excavation mode”. You can download a tentative outline by clicking –Romans Excavation Plan! We may delve more into the culture and history surrounding the book as well as sneaking in a little Greek here and there! And of course a bit more about Paul-the man!
For the rest of this year may your days be merry and bright. For the coming year… I pray you may draw nearer to God and Jesus Christ our Lord. I’m considering a make-over of the blog and trying to put together a few other features and classes … pray with me and for me, ok? I’m always open to suggestion also.