Today we begin a study of Romans, perhaps my favorite book of the Bible (it is a toss-up with Philippians and the Gospel of John). I’ve been going through Romans multiple, overlapping times, in a couple ways — reading a chapter, reading the study notes and listening to a chapter or two on my commute.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Romans roughly 25 years after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension into Heaven. His authorship is virtually undisputed. Even liberal scholars agree that he wrote it.
This wasn’t a typical letter, though he did greet many people at the end of it. This was a very carefully crafted summary of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The church had already spread to Rome and the broad persecution of Christians had not begun. But this letter is for all Christians, not just those in Rome.
Paul begins with the “big picture” and lays out how we know there is a God because He reveals himself in his creation and in our conscience, we are all sinners in need of a savior, Jesus is the solution to the problem of our separation with God, and much more. Paul also addressed some tensions between Jewish and Gentile believers.
He makes it clear that we are saved by grace, though faith in Jesus. There is a series of verses sometimes referred to as “The Roman Road” that are useful in presenting the basic Gospel:
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9 That 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.
Once he lays out the plan of salvation Paul helps us understand what a life lived in submission to Christ looks like. As he often did, he starts with doctrine then moves to application.
Side note: Have you ever noticed how rarely theological Liberals preach from Romans?
This has been a life-changing book for countless people. I hope you join in the study and share your comments and questions.