This epistle, which describes in clearer detail than any other book of the Bible God’s great work of salvation, has been signally blessed ever since it was first penned by the apostle Paul.  Some of the mightiest men in the kingdom of God have been saved through the power of this epistle.  It was the great Augustine, bishop of Hippo, whose conversion occurred after hearing repeated the line from Romans 13:14, “And put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  The Protestant Reformation exploded when Martin Luther emerged from his desperate spiritual struggle into the liberty of Christ by finally understanding that great word of 1:17, “The just shall live by faith.”  It is no exaggeration to say that the freedom Protestant and Baptist Christians enjoy today from papal tyranny is very largely due to this inspired letter of Paul the apostle to the Romans.

Romans deals more systematically with the doctrine of salvation than any other book of the Bible.  Some have said, correctly I think, that it is the closest thing we have in the scriptures to a systematic theology.  Paul’s argument, particularly from 1:16 through 4:25, very plainly demonstrates the fundamental problem of man’s ruin in sin, and God’s remedy of salvation through free justification by the blood and righteousness of Christ, received by faith alone.  The next chapters explain in even fuller detail some of the consequences and nuances of our justification, including the great reality that the new life we have in Christ is no license to sin, but rather the strongest inducement to personal holiness.  In chapter 8, Paul wraps up his grand thesis on salvation by showing the marks and blessedness of those who have the Spirit of God, and then describing in the plainest language possible the perfect security that the true believer enjoys through “the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

All throughout Romans, Paul has been dealing with the issue of Jews and Gentiles, and proving that there are not two different gospels for the different groups.  Both the children of Abraham and the Gentile world are under sin, and need the salvation that is provided in Christ alone.  In chapters 9 through 11 he deals with some of the questions pertaining to Israel’s standing with God, and also handles such vexing questions as election, reprobation, the necessity of preaching, and other vitally important matters.  Having summed it all up with an ascription of praise to the wisdom of God, he then spends chapters 12 through 15 in showing how believers should behave in their different spheres of life and relationships, in light of the glorious salvation they have in Christ.  Then in the final chapter Paul concludes by greeting many of the saints in Rome, and delivering some final exhortations and a doxology.

 

Advertisements