This week we start a new series on the book of Romans. Having covered chapters 1-8 periously we return to look at chapters 9-11 with the aim of completing the book, chapters 12-16, next year. It's always difficult starting into the middle of a book, so to find out where we have got to you can follow the Roman Plot! in the following posts.
Global Mission, United ComunityGod's desire is to see the Gospel he promised beforehand (1v2) go to all people (1v16). Paul who has been set apart for the gospel (1v1) to call people from the nations (1v5) is eager to preach the gospel (1v15) to other places without the gospel (15v23). This work can't be done alone but only with a united community, Jew and Gentile who accept each other (15v7) and are in partnership with each other (15v24). By preaching the gospel to them through this letter Paul will cause the church to (a) look in on themselves and see that they are one in the gospel and (b) to look out on the world that desperately needs the gospel.
The Gospel Explained 1-4
The Gospel is God's and is all about his Son Jesus Christ (1v2-4). This gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (1v16). In the gospel we receive a righteousness from God that makes us acceptable with God (1v17). We all desperately need the gospel because we are all under God's anger and wrath. It is what we deserve because of our wickedness and suppressing the truth (1v18). This is his fair, just and reasoned response to our sin (1v32). God's anger is being revealed now giving us over to our hearts desire (1v24, 26) but it is also a sign of his final judgement to come (2v5).
God is fair in the way he deals with us seeking that we all come to repentance (2v4). He will judge us fairly, he has no favourites, (2v11) and he will judge each person according to what they know, either with the law (the religious Jew) or without the law (the irreligious gentile) (2v12). This will happen when Jesus comes again (2v16)
Of course many will try to get right with God through their own religious performance and observance (2v17) but the truth is they can't even practise what they preach (2v21-24). Religion can't save you or change you only the Spirit at work in our hearts can save us (2v29).
Whoever we are weather a church going person who knows their bible or a non church goer who knows nothing of the bible we are all the same deserving God's just judgement (3v9). No one is righteous, no one is good enough for God (3v10,12), especially those who go to church and read their bibles! (3v20). What is needed is God's gracious intervention.
God in his grace provides a solution to our problem (3v21-26). On the one side God's justice demands that we are punished for our sin (2v5) but on the other side he makes salvation possible (1v16) creating a tension between justice and forgiveness. This tension is solved without conceding to either side by sending Jesus who is our propitiation/sacrifice of atonement, dealing with God's wrath (3v25). God in Jesus stands in for us, paying the penalty for our unrighteousness so that through faith in Jesus we might be be made righteous (3v22). God did this as a demonstration of his justice (3v26). This is a universal offer but conditional to faith (...to all who believe...3v22)
Therefore no-one can boast (3v27) whether you are religious or irreligious, God saves all people Jew or Gentile in the same way – by faith (3v30). Faith is the way we receive our righteousness, it was the same for Abraham (4v2), David (4v6). The implication is we are all equal before God and are united together through our common faith in Jesus (4v11-12). This promise of salvation is dependant not on my obedience or disobedience but on God's promise (4v16). What God says God will do despite what we feel or think (4v21). Our response is to believe completely on the perfect performance of Jesus Christ and not on my obedience (4v22-24).