The Righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel by faith.
The theme of Romans is found in chapter 1v16-17, ‘For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed: from faith to faith: as it is written the just shall live by faith.’ (From start to finish).
Declaring the means which God adopted, where righteousness can be reckoned to men, in spite of their sinful state, and furthermore, by which his grace and mercy now brought equally to Jews and Gentiles individually, will yet be ministered to them nationally. The main teaching of the epistle is that the plan of salvation is consistent with God’s own character and attributes.
The Roman epistle was written from Corinth around 60AD by Paul and conveyed to the saints at Rome by Phoebe, who was on a visit to the city. She unknowingly carried under her cloak the most important book theologically in the whole of the New Testament, presenting the whole future of Christian theology.
Romans is an inspired argument, a reasoned exposition of the Gospel with its practical implication for life. A concise outline given by Philips:
- The Principle of Christianity – chapters 1–8; (division 1)
The Problem of Christianity – chapters 9–11; (division 2)
The Practice of Christianity – chapters 12–16; (division 3)
The Gospel of God (v16 & 17)
The Source of the Gospel – God (the author and finisher of our faith).
The Nature of the Gospel – Power.
The Purpose of the Gospel – Salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Scope of the Gospel – Everyone.
The Gospel received – By faith.
The Effect of the Gospel – To reveal the righteousness of God through His Son.
The Result of the Gospel – The just shall live by faith (Habakkuk 2v4).
The Introduction of the Gospel (1v1-15)
The Gospel defined (1v16-17)
Universal need of the Gospel (1v18 to 3v20)
Basis and terms of the Gospel (3v21-31)
Harmony of the Gospel with the Old Testament (chapter 4)
Practical Benefits of the Gospel (5v1-11)
Triumphs of Christ’s work over Adam’s sin (5v12-21)
The Gospel – the way to holy living (chapter 6)
The place of the law in the believer’s life (chapter 7)
Holy Spirit as the power of holy living (chapter 8)
The Principle of Christianity – Chapters 1-8
Condemnation (chapter 1 – 3v20)
Justification (chapter 3v20 – 5v11)
Identification (chapter 5v12–21)
Sanctification (chapters 6 – 8)
The Problem of Christianity – Chapters 9-11
God’s past dealings with Israel in electing grace (chapter 9)
God’s present dealings with Israel in governmental discipline (chapter 10)
God’s perspective dealings with Israel in fulfilment of prophecy (chapter 11)
The Practice of Christianity – Chapters 12 – 16
The laws of the Christian life (chapter 12 – 13v7)
The laws of Christian love (chapter 13v8 – 16v27)
Paul presents his credentials to the church at Rome.
A servant of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s service was characterised by humility and obedience at all times, pertaining to his Lord and Saviour. Paul received the Gospel by revelation of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1v11-12).
Called to be an apostle.
Separated unto the Gospel of God.
The word ‘called’ is very important, as it relates to a Divine call. In Acts 9v3-6 he was called by Jesus Christ from heaven to receive the salvation of God (unique in its character). He was commissioned to the work of the Gospel in Acts 9v15-17 by God’s servant Ananias. In Galatians 1v1, he was called to be an apostle by Jesus Christ and God the Father. In Galatians 1v15-16, he was ‘separated from his mother’s womb and called by His grace, to reveal His son in me in order to preach Him to the heathen.’ He was separated to the work of God by the Holy Spirit in Acts 13v2.
Therefore, we conclude his conversion was unique, his apostleship was unique, and his separation by the Holy Spirit was unique.
1v2 – The promises of the Gospel in the Old Testament, are rooted and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The Gospel being the fulfilment of the promises as revealed in type as follows:
The triumph of Calvary (Genesis 3v15).
The covering of animal skins – a type of the covering for sin.
Noah’s ark – a type of God’s salvation.
Abraham – God will provide himself a lamb and the work of substitution (Genesis 22).
Psalms 2, 22 & 69.
Isaiah 7v14; 9v6; chapter 53; chapter 54v4-9
There are many other scriptures in the Old Testament that reveal the Gospel message, but those stated above present the Gospel in its fullness.
Deuteronomy 18v15 – ‘I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I command him.’
A Prophet – one who speaks God’s Word.
From your midst – truly human.
From your brethren – an Israelite.
Like unto me – raised up of God.
I will put my words in his mouth – fullness of inspiration (God’s Word spoken).
He shall speak to them all that I command him – fullness of inspiration (God’s Word spoken).
All are responsible to listen and obey Him (Acts 3v22 – 26).
Acts 3v23, ‘And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from amongst the people.’
The following scriptures give further prophetical promises.
Isaiah 4v2; 7v14; 9v6; Jeremiah 23v5 and Jeremiah 33v14-16. The Brazen Serpent in Numbers 21v9 and John 3v14.
1v3 – Verses 3 & 4, declare that the centre of the Gospel concerns his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. We are here brought to the wonderful truth of incarnation, that is, Deity being clothed with human flesh.
As the son of David we have the Messiah – message to the Jews.
As Son of God – message to the Gentiles – the church.
1. In v4 Christ is marked out in distinction from others as the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead.
2. To be the Son of God with power – literally in the days of His flesh and in his resurrection. The resurrection from the dead vindicated all Christ’s claims to Deity.
3. I have power to lay down my life and to take it again, this commandment have I received of my Father (John 10v18).
4. David said in Psalm 16v10, ‘For it is impossible for thy Holy One to see corruption.’
Note: The power for any work is according to the spirit of holiness abiding in the person i.e. the result will be a sanctified life as revealed in Romans 6v8.
The Lord Jesus manifested the spirit of holiness: –
In his birth.
In his life.
1v5 – ‘By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His Name.’
1. ‘By whom we have received grace’ – Paul here is referring to the day when he received grace (salvation) which can be more explicitly stated as mercy and grace.
Mercy – forgiveness from judgment we do deserve.
Grace – favours bestowed which we do not deserve.
2. ‘…and apostleship’ – this refers to Paul’s appointment by Deity to preach the message of the Gospel to all nations. Unto obedience to the faith, the only means whereby a soul can be saved is by obeying the word spoken, then exercising faith and confidence in God, founded on his word spoken.
The Object of Preaching the Gospel.
That souls may be saved by faith.
That the Redeemed of the Lord may give Glory to His Name.
That those that bear the Name of Christ will display the character of Christ.
That Glory and Honour will be given to His Name.
‘Among whom are ye also called of Jesus Christ.’ The Saints at Rome had been called by the preaching of the Gospel, and by acceptance by faith into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, therefore with God the Father.
To be His own possession.
Giving a dignity to their position.
Called unto obedience to the written Word.
Called unto holy living, therefore, unto separation from all that is unclean.
‘To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.’
- ‘To all that be in Rome, beloved of God.’
To all in Rome – who are the subject of God’s special Love. John 14v21 ‘…and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him and I will manifest myself to him.
‘Called to be saints (holy).’
Saints by Divine calling. We do not become a saint by merit, but by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. To be a saint is to partake of the character of God, giving our relationship to Him.
‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.’
Grace – unmerited favour proved by our peace with God i.e. fellowship with God.
‘From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’ – all man’s blessings come equally from God the Father and God the Son. Deity of Christ – One with the Father. Each can work individually but are in essence One.
‘First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.’
Paul’s affection for the Roman Church.
First I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all. Paul directs his thanksgiving to my God, including himself in the thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for him, along with what he has done for the Saints at Rome. That Jesus Christ was the mediator between God and man, bringing into view all the work of Christ.
The Incarnation, death, Resurrection and Ascension, giving a basis of thanksgiving for all the blessings of salvation.
That their faith is spoken about throughout the whole world i.e. the world where Paul travelled to on his missionary journeys. Paul loved to rejoice over the faithfulness and steadfastness of the church of Jesus Christ. Rejoiced for the glory given to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ as those believers in Rome lived out Christ.
GENERAL NOTE – WHAT IS FAITH? For a definition of FAITH we cam say it is (belief and trust in the authority of God’s Word) i.e. in the scriptures. In Hebrews 11v1 we find out what FAITH does, ‘FAITH is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’
1) FAITH PROVIDES SUBSTANCE which = ASSURANCE, FUTURE HOPE, RESURRECTION,
HOPE OF CHRIST’S RETURN, GLORIFICATION
2). FAITH PROVIDES EVIDENCE which = CONVICTION, PRESENT REALITIES NOT SEEN.
3). Conviction is faith relating to the present. Forgiveness of sins. Christ’s intercession.
Hebrews 11v6 – ‘But without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.’
NOTE: The Righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel by Faith.
‘God is my witness whom I serve.’ Paul did not serve for the approval of men. His service was rendered with the eye of God upon him, with my spirit in the Gospel of His Son. Fervent believing prayer coming from a heart of adoration for his Lord, that the Gospel message may be to the glory of his God and Master.
That without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers (priestly service). Paul had already stated that their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world, giving Paul a fellowship with them in prayer, and longing to share with them a mutual faith, A man in the spirit, in fellowship with God, whose walk is controlled by the Spirit of God, with a prayer life delighting the heart of God, will move mountains.
Paul’s prayer for a prosperous journey, by the will of God, to visit Rome. Paul’s journey to Rome was probably three year’s later and through many trials and disasters i.e. shipwreck, imprisonment, arrived in Rome in chains, a prisoner, but all in the will of God. Paul, the aged, tried unto the bitter end. (Dare we complain).
‘Long to see you that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, that in the end you may be established.’ Paul’s desire was to share with them spiritual things that the Lord had given him.
‘Some spiritual gift’ – Charisma – denotes a gift of grace. What Paul would impart came as a gracious gift from God to him by the operation of the Spirit of God upon his spirit. In this way the gift was spiritual, ‘to the end that ye may be established.’ Episterizo = to establish, is to cause to lean by supporting (on ministry of God’s Word) which leads us into a fuller dependence on God, so shall ye be established.
1v12 – ‘That is that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith of you and me.’ Paul goes on to explain, that there would be a mutual blessing. He would be encouraged by their faith and they by his. In all edifying company there is a spiritual enrichment. ‘As iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend’ (Proverbs 27v17). Note Paul’s humility and graciousness. He was not above being helped and comforted by other saints.
1v13 – Paul wanted the Roman church to know that he desired to visit them on many occasions. What hindered him, we are not told. His purpose was to have fruit among them also, that they may rejoice together in the joy of eternal things, the fruit of sharing the beauties of Christ and resting upon his promises.
1v14–17 – Paul affirms his confidence in the Gospel he preaches in 6 ways.
(1) The Discharge of his Preaching (1v14)
Paul viewed himself as a debtor to the Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise. Paul knew that by grace alone he held the answer to the world’s need, man who was blinded by sin, could through the Gospel, be given the glorious light to set him free.
(2) The Desire of his Preaching (1v15)
So as much as in me, I am ready to preach the Gospel to you that are at Rome also. Ready – eager, a burning desire to preach unto the unconverted in Rome, in order to fulfil his debt.
(3) The Determination of his Preaching (1v16a)
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. There was no embarrassment, but a wonderful joy to Paul, as he preached the inspired message of redemption to meet the needs of all mankind.
(4) The Dynamic of his Preaching (1v16b) – The Power of God.
(5) The Design of his Preaching (1v16c) – Unto Salvation
(6) The Doctrine of his Preaching (1v17) – The key word here is righteousness, two things about it are revealed in this verse.
(i) The revelation of that righteousness to us.
‘for therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.’ Righteousness means here, conformity to the right, that being God’s standards of goodness. God is righteous man is unrighteous, the gospel shows how the righteousness of God can be bestowed upon sinful man, ‘from faith to faith.’ That simply means that God’s righteousness is received by faith and reproduced by faith. The phrase ‘from faith’ refers to the initial act of faith, ‘to faith’ refers to the life of faith which issues from it.
(ii) The revolution of that righteousness in us.
‘The just shall live by faith.’ This quotation from Habakkuk 2v4 shows that righteousness through faith was not a new idea but was firmly rooted in the Old Testament. In order to be right with God men must have faith. Robert Haldine renders it this way, ‘they who are righteous by faith, that is having the righteousness of God which is received by faith imputed to them, shall live.’ This is the theme of the epistle to the Romans expounded in the book.
THE NEED OF THE GOSPEL FOR ALL HAVE SINNED
In this section 1v18 to chapter 3v20 we have 4 separate types of men.
Immoral man (1v18-32)
Moral man (2v1-16)
Religious man (2v17-29)
Every man (3v1-20)
In v18 we are directed to THE WRATH OF GOD; UNGODLINESS; UNRIGHTEOUSNESS
The wrath of God from heaven – the wrath of God is a present judgment from Heaven.
Men who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
Ungodliness – failure in the religious world.
Unrighteousness – failure in the moral world, who suppress the truth and prevent it from completing its work.
Wrath of God – God is holiness, truth and justice and must punish sin.
1v19 – God has placed in all men a light to know him, but man has refused the light, therefore, remains in darkness.
1v20 – God’s creation reveals two things – his eternal power and Godhead. Man is without excuse because he refuses to accept the proof that God is eternal and powerful, when the light of the presence of God is manifest all around him.
1v21 – Man knew God by his works but refuses to glorify Him. They were unthankful, vain in their imagination and their foolish heart darkened. Light rejected is light denied. Those who do not want to see lose the capacity to see (v22-25).
Two things characterize man who rejects the knowledge of God.
Conceited over self-styled knowledge of God.
Deeper into ignorance of God.
1v24 – Wherefore God also gave them up to –
1. Uncleanness through lust of their own hearts to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.
v25 – Who changed the truth of God into a lie. Worshipped – creature more than the Creator.
v26 – Given over to vile affection.
2. Women change their natural use
v27 – Men with men
v28 – Did not want to retain God in their knowledge.
3. God gave them over to a reprobate mind.
1v29-32 – Note in the above passage, it is stated God gave man up 3 times, because man did not want to retain God in their knowledge (see v24, 26 & 28).