Through examining Romans, chapters 1-8, we see Paul covers a variety of theological and apologetic information for the Christ followers. In writing to the followers in the church in the city of Rome He makes it clear he wishes he could visit them (Romans 1:8-17) but is writing this letter to clear up the dissension between an identity crisis between the Jewish and Gentile members of the church as to whether they were to live by the law or by grace. Through this letter he writes many of the foundations of what it looks like to be a follow of Jesus and what that means for our battle with our nature and understanding our identity.
Paul addresses the natural world, recognizing the hard truth about where it is in relation to God. He describes the opposition the natural world will have towards God and His will. He gives clear words that God is the Creator of our world, assigning Him as the cause. Paul states that the creation of the world itself is God’s way of showing His invisible qualities (Romans 1:18-21). He did this to show Himself to us and there are people who will choose to neglect giving glory to God and/or recognize Him for what they have in thankfulness. Paul recognizes the problem with the natural world is that they have chosen to worship the created things rather than the One who created it (Romans 1:25). He states the origin of this fall of the natural world saying, “just as sin entered the world through one man, and death came through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). While Paul makes this clear, this is not his focus. He does not only look at the fact that we do not measure up and are all sinners, rather he continuously points to who we are apart from that because of God’s grace and righteousness.
Paul notes in our most basic level we are of a sinful nature and slaves of that identity from our birth in the flesh (Romans 5:12-14). All of us are sinners (Romans 3:9). However through Jesus and the work He did on the cross we are free to live apart from a sin slavery and in Christ’s redemption for us (Romans 3:24). We are justified in Him through our faith in Him and do not have to prove ourselves through the law; all the law does is prove our
sinfulness (Romans 3:27-28). We are loved by Christ if He would die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:6-8). We are promised eternity with Him through our faith in Him (Romans 6:5-7, Romans 6:22-23). We are called to live apart from sin as Christ followers (Romans 6:11-14), living as an instrument for God. He also speaks of us now being vessels of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9). Paul speaks of our identity being renewed and justified and sanctified very often but also speaks of our relationships with humans.
Paul makes one thing loud and clear for everyone to understand, all are sinners and in equal need of God’s free gift of grace and salvation. No one is better than another (Romans 3:9-24). This was a point he belabored so much through his writing so much I believe because this was a source of division and problems in the church in Rome. People tried to claim that one might be better than another, but Paul wanted it to be clear to the Romans that they were to understand all are equal; no one should be treated as less than yourself. This is because each one of them deserved a death that they were saved from undeservedly by Jesus. He also wanted it to be very clear that we are not adequate to be the judge of anyone else for we are guilty of the same things and will be judged by God for them (Romans 2:1-3). He also makes it clear that we are to use our lives to serve and help other people, not just ourselves (Romans 2:6-11). Paul speaks all of these things to a group of people, which will have an impact on the culture.
Paul wrote to the Romans at a time where Rome was one of the largest cities of its time. In Rome there were far more influences and religions that just Christianity and I believe this is why he so strongly wanted to establish their faith and doctrine and unite them. HE spoke to the Christians that they are no longer slaves to the law but slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:15-19). The Roman Christians would be examples to the culture that is so counter to what it means to be alive and free in Christ. For the culture Paul spoke of “claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and
worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:22-25). Paul left the Roman Christians with an encouragement to stay strong and know the God they serve makes them conquerors in the presence of this culture (Romans 8:28-35).
The things Paul spoke of would greatly affect your worldview. When looking at a worldview I note a few certain questions: What was the cause of it all? What is wrong with the world? What is the solution? Is there anything after death? Finally, what is our purpose for existence in light of the prior? Paul builds a sound doctrine and worldview for the people in Rome as he answers each one of those questions clearly. He states the Lord created this earth and all creation. He then says the problem with the world is Sin. The solution is made clear through the free gift of our God and our belief in it through faith. He answers the final question if the first four questions are true by saying we then shall go on living freely in a relationship with Him devoting ourselves to Him, knowing we will spend eternity with Him. This worldview will dramatically change how our lives are spent and what we live for.
The Holy Bible, New International Version