We Begin Romans
Today we begin the book of Romans. I want to start by saying that there is no possible way for me nor anyone else to explain the full richness of this book. Since we are going chapter by chapter, I hope to give you a good summary of what is going on, theological benefits, and application to your everyday. Please bear with me as we journey through this together. Feel free to email me questions that you may have concerning the chapter we cover! Also, there has been much debate amongst theologians for thousands of years on this book. I am but a tiny spec in the magnificent men and women that have sought to understand this book.
Read: Romans 1
Let us begin by setting up the book. The author is the apostle Paul, a giant of a theologian that had the equivalent of two Ph.D. degrees. He was super intelligent and yet blunt with the truth of the Gospel. He is writing to the church in Rome. Rome being the epicenter of the powerful Roman Empire. Understand that Paul is most likely corresponding to address a church filled with both Jews and Gentiles. Also, this church was being heavily persecuted by both the Jews and the Roman government. These things are important to understand in some of the language that Paul uses.
To understand this chapter, I want to break it down by sections. This way, we can hopefully grasp better what is being said.
1. Introduction: Paul gives a long introduction to his qualifications as well as letting the Romans know who the Gospel is really about. The reason Paul would give such long qualifications is there was a group of “teachers” that claimed to be super-apostles. They claimed to have special knowledge that the Apostles did not have. Paul wanted to let the Romans know who he was and how he had been called to be obedient. Though one aspect that I love about Paul was his ambition to point to Jesus, In verse 5, he makes the statement, “for the sake of His name,” meaning that we are to bring glory to Christ. The point of the Gospel is not our glory, no, the glory of Christ!
2. Longing to see them: This section should be encouraging and convicting. Paul is encouraging them because of their faithfulness to the Gospel. He wants to be with them and is continually praying for them. He hopes to come to them soon to be able to encourage them and push them forward, but also to preach the Gospel to them. As Christians, we need to hear the Gospel continually. To be reminded of the Good News of Christ. The part that is so convicting is how our longing to be together is? There are some that I’ve contacted that have not heard from anyone else in our church. I want to tell you that it is convicting. I pray that we all long to be together. I pray that we are all remembering one another in prayer and checking on one another. I am genuinely encouraged by our faithfulness to pray for the church, but I want to remember that we are called to be a family, life is better together. Let us long to be united and serve one another as Paul did Rome. If we do not long that, what is our fellowship? If we want to be in a building for the sake of being in a building, that’s not fellowship. Let us long with godly desire to be together to encourage and love one another mutually.
3. The Wrath of God. Paul begins this section by reminding his readers that the Gospel is the power of God for salvation! The power of God to save! But what does the Gospel save us from? Paul answers that in verse 18. The wrath of God. The Gospel is not good news without the bad news. We often don’t like to discuss this, but the bad news is that those who are without Christ will suffer the wrath of God. The Gospel is Jesus taking that wrath for you. Paul lays it out clearly that we are without excuse. To put off trusting in Christ, to deny the presence of God, to claim exception because of your suffering is not an excuse. We know that God is there. We know that we are sinful. We know these things, and yet what we do with them is on us. Paul writes that they had exchanged the truth for a lie, and therefore, God gave them over to their desires. Friends, we see a world that surrounds us that has been given over to its desires. To live a life devoted to Gods’ Word is utterly foreign in our culture today. Rather, it is doing whatever makes you happy. Paul gives strong and hard language for this in the final verse. They know that they are in sin, and realize they should suffer the consequences, but they approve of these things. To me, this gives me a stronger passion for making the message of Christ known. That people would experience and hear the good news of Jesus.
So what do we do? First, let our lives be dedicated to bringing glory to God! He is our first love and greatest joy. Secondly, let us long for fellowship. Let us reach out to others and encourage them today. Thirdly and lastly, let us long to make the Gospel known in our community. Jesus is coming back soon; let’s not waste another moment. I look forward to unpacking God’s Word more.