Though the Book of Romans is not a systematic theology, when one reads through Paul’s letter to these believers there is no doubt that Paul has delivered his message of grace with direction. As Paul opens this letter in chapter one he clearly explains his call, his connection, his commendation, and his concern, with those that he is writing to. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,” 1 is how Paul submits to the message he is carrying to these believers and unknowingly the readers of today since God’s Word transcends time. This completely shows how a believer ought to be connected with this message and messenger today according to verses 1:1 – 7. Paul then gives them merit as their “faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” One should wonder within themselves if this same commendation could be said of them?
As Paul moves from his introduction he jumps into the heart of the matter, his concern. To fully understand the concern of the message Paul is carrying one must follow it through from Chapter 1:15 – 16:27. Contained within these chapters Paul develops one of the greatest defenses of the Christian/Biblical worldview of his time. The Christian worldview Paul develops is simply put as “A disclosure from God [Source] to man [Recipient] of their sinfulness and unrighteousness without excuse as to their judgment [Wrath and Condemnation] but can otherwise be avoided through Jesus Christ [Justification] and because of this through the Holy Ghost [Sanctification] that man might live exalting his Creator with eternal life.” As Douglas Moo indicates in his commentary of Romans, “Only by understanding the “bad news” can we appreciate the “good news.”
2 Romans on Creation, Sin, and Salvation
In the first chapter, Paul begins with God’s creation and the Creator, explaining the fact that all men are inexcusable in their rejection of Him. When reading through this a definitive theological perspective can be formed about God and His creation, The heavens and nature clearly teach us two things: First, His eternal power. Second, His Godhead. In other words, nature teaches us that there MUST BE a Creator…a Supreme Being…a Master mind—behind the heavens and the creations around us. If He is Creator, then He ought to be worshipped and is worthy of all worship. Therefore, “they are without excuse” (GREENE)
From the vilest to the most moral of men, whether Jew or Gentile the judgment of God is “guilty” upon all, His wrath abides upon all, and is deserving for all. God is Holy and Righteous and nothing can be compared to Him. Man is always trying to show forth and justify themselves in light of this. This is not acceptable according to Paul in Chapter Three, he states “for there are none righteous, no not one.”3Chapter three also condemns man in saying “for all have sinned and come short the glory of God.”4 Dr. Harold Sightler in his commentary says, “This is an announcement, a declaration of fact.”
Man tries to justify himself, only to find out that because of our unrighteousness’s we are sinners, and since sinners deserving of the consequence of sin, that is death both physical and spiritual. Romans 6:23 states “for the wages of sin is death.” If left with this “bad news” then there would be no hope, no purpose to our lives, but since we have such a wonderful Creator, He delivers His gospel to us, that though the “wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
6 The Plan of God in Operation
With this great news one begins to see the plan of God in operation. The purpose of Christ isin Romans 8:1-3, it is that through Jesus Christ one is no longer under condemnation, one is justified through Him!How does this come to be in a person’s life, by faith? Romans 5:1 tells the believer that they are justified by faith, not only justified but now have peace with God. This is confirmed for those that live by faith in this good news in Romans 10:4. Once again Paul leads us into a deeper understanding of our lives with Christ, now that we are justified, we also have been sanctified.Paul tells us in Romans Chapter 15:16 that it is the Holy Ghost which sanctifies, that is, we have been set apart for something greater than pleasing ourselves found in Romans 8:12-13 and the ultimate setting apart in Romans 12:1-2. Now that one has been born again, how shall that person live?
According to the Spirit, not pleasing the flesh or submitting to it. God has provided the possibility for a believer to live graciously through the power of the Holy Spirit, and one can find the ethics for living this life in Chapters 12-14. How then is the plan of God to be performed or set into motion? One can learn of the desire of God that this good news be preached in all the earth and unto the ends of the earth in Romans Chapter 10. For throughout it we see God’s plan, provision, and prophecy concerning His message of redemption towards His creation.Because of this “good news” going forth all other things God plans to do in that believer’s life can be accomplished.
Eschatology in Romans
Paul also gives insight into to the Eschatology of God’s plan for His people in Chapter 11 telling the reader that God has not forgotten His covenant, or promise with His chosen people, the Jews. It is through the gentiles that God will work to stir the hearts of the Jews back to Him. It is also according to Moo in this chapter of Romans that we must be careful of a “special way” of salvation for the Jews.7 If this “special way” truly exists, then it voids “the way” that God has chosen for all people to include, the Jews.
With this information that is presented, it is by prayer and faith that one can come to understand the picture that Paul leaves for us in the Book of Romans through the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God. This great magnum opus of Paul in regards to the Christian worldview can be made manifest by understanding, Man is without excuse before a Holy and Righteous God. Man is without excuse to understand who He is, man is without excuse to understand his own sinfulness, and man is without excuse as to what He has done for His creation in providing a way of redemption and peace with his Creator. Furthermore, man is without excuse in the area of ethics once one has been born again as God has shown the life to live through the Spirit so that one might be conformed to the image of His dear Son. Plainly stated…Man is without excuse.
Greene, Oliver B. The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans. Greenville: The Gospel Hour Inc., 1962.
Meyer, Rick . E-Sword the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge. KJV. Franklin: 2000-2011. (accessed November 26, 2012).
Moo , Douglas J. The NIV Applcation Commentary Romans. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000.
Sightler, Harold B. Romans. Greenville: The Bright Spot Hour, 1999.