January 24, 2022
This week we started reading the book of Romans Chapters 1-8. It is important to know a little about the author and the book so we will look into this first.
Paul was the author of Romans and the man we studied in the book of Acts that was persecuting and killing Christians. He was on his way to Damascus and saw a great light, and heard Jesus speaking, was blinded, and gave his life to Christ (Luke 9). He made three missionary journeys, and was put in prison several times for his witness of Christ.
He wrote this letter to the Christians and Christian Jews in Rome prior to his arrival. The main theme of the book was to present salvation for those who had not heard. This main theme of Romans was stated in 1:16-17 “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Paul was going to the big city of Rome. At the time, Rome was very sophisticated and Greeks and Romans thought the gospel was foolish. In the above verses we see that Paul was not ashamed to talk about the good news of Christ and salvation because God saves everyone who believes in his Son through his power. In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed and that righteousness is obtained through faith in Christ.
In verse 17 Paul states that in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness by faith. What does “righteousness” mean? According to Ladd (1976), “Righteousness is the norm or standard which God has decreed for human conduct. The righteous man is he who in God’s judgment meets the divine standard, and thus is declared to stand in a right relationship with God.” God’s righteousness is also contrasted with man’s righteousness. Romans 10:3 states, “Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.”
What we will learn through the book of Romans is that no person can meet God’s standard. Romans 3:10 states, “There is no one righteous, not even on.” Even though no one is righteous, God gave us hope. God made a way for us to be in a right relationship and that is through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul uses another word in verse 18 that can be difficult to understand, “wrath.” He states, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.”
The wrath of God and the righteousness of God are in contrast with one another. According to Ladd, “The wrath of God is not an attribute of God, or a passion like human wrath…The wrath of God is the reaction of a holy God to man’s sin. It is God’s righteous judgement toward those who sin.”
A few other points about the first few chapters in Romans. Chapter 1 is about the Gentile (non-jew). Chapter 2 is about the person who is “religious.” This can mean the Jew who is following the “law” or from some other person following rules. These are people who look good on the outside, but are full of sin on the inside. They are judgmental of other people as well.
As you continue to read Romans you will see righteousness, salvation, and faith mentioned a lot. These are major themes. We will discuss this more next week. There are only 16 chapters in Romans so I would like us to continue with the same reading as we did last week: Romans 1-8.