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Romans by Robert Dean
Series:Romans (2010)
Duration:1 hr 0 mins 35 secs

Romans Introduction, Part 2
Romans
Romans Lesson #002
December 2, 2010
www.deanbibleministries.org

In the introduction we are oriented to the theme of this epistle, and the theme of this epistle has to do with a vindication of God’s righteousness. That word “righteousness” is from the Hebrew word tsedak and the Greek word is DIAKAIOSUNE. In both languages the word for righteousness can also mean justice. Righteousness has to do with the standard of something, the qualification of something. So when we talk about the righteousness of God we are talking about the standard of His character. When we talk about justice we are talking about the amplification of that standard to His creatures. In the epistle to the Romans the issue is vindicating or demonstrating the righteousness of God toward His creatures: how is God righteous is His dealings with His creatures and how can God’s creatures meet the righteous standard of God since we are not perfect and God’s standard is absolute perfection? That is introduced in verses 16 and 17 of chapter one at the end of the introduction, and that introduces the basic theme.

The second division has to do with justification itself and that covers the area from 1:18 to 5:21. God’s righteousness is revealed in His condemnation of the whole human race because of sin and the provision of justification to all by faith alone in Christ alone. This first basic division from 1:18 to 5:11 focuses on what we refer to as the doctrine of justification by faith. Then the third division of the book has to do with sanctification. Sanctification grows out of justification. They are related, and how they are related is the topic of a lot of discussion. What we mean by sanctification is not positional sanctification, which is what happens in the sense of legally or forensically at the moment of salvation but it has to do with the spiritual life as a believer. So when we hear the word “sanctification” just think spiritual growth, the Christian life; and that is covered in chapters 6, 7 and 8. It is important to understand that distinction: that sanctification grows out of justification but it is not identical to justification. These chapters have to do with how God’s righteousness is lived out in the lives of those who have been justified—how God produces experiential righteousness in those who have already been declared righteous.

The next section is that God will vindicate His righteousness in His relationship to Israel. At the end of chapter eight Paul makes the well-known statement: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” To make that a little more succinct, what Paul says is, I am convinced that nothing in heaven or earth, nothing that any creature does, can separate us from the love of God. The love of God is absolutely dependable, He is absolutely faithful, and He will never leave us or forsake us. Objection: What about the fact that He seems to have left or departed or cut off His grace from Israel? The answer to that, then, is the focal point of chapters 9-11 where Paul writes a demonstration that God is faithful in terms of His righteousness in His past dealings with Israel in chapter nine. Then he focuses on God’s present dealings with Israel in chapter ten, demonstrating that though many Jews have rejected Jesus as Messiah that is not because God somehow made them but that it is as a result of their own individual volition. Nevertheless God has not cut off Israel from His promises and the promises and the covenants from the Old Testament still belong to Israel. Then chapter eleven deals with God’s future dealing with Israel, that the current status is not complete, the rejection is not final, and that God eventually will pour out His grace to Israel and all Israel will be saved.

Then there is a major shift that takes place in chapter twelve which focuses on application, though there is a lot of application in the first eleven chapters. What happens in chapters twelve through sixteen is the implications for day-to-day living from what we have heard in terms of what God has done for us in justification and what God has provided for us in sanctification. Chapters 12:1-15:13 really Has to do with the implications of God’s righteousness in the life of the believer who is already justified; how God’s righteousness is going to be displayed in the life of the justified believer. There are three sections there. Chapter twelve focuses on how that is displayed in the assembly, the local church; how it is displayed in relationship to human government in chapter thirteen; then in chapter fourteen how that is displayed in relationship to weaker believers and stronger believers. There is a conclusion where things are summarized and Paul gives more information about his plans to visit Rome, and then almost the entirety of chapter sixteen has to do with greetings to various individuals that he knows in Rome.

The introductory section in 1:1-17 contains Paul’s basic greeting, as he does in almost all of his epistles. He introduces himself and gives a reference to his authority—what gives him the right to introduce address this group of believers the way he does and this always goes back to his apostolic authority. Romans 1:1 NASB “Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called {as} an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” So we have the identification of Paul as the writer of this epistle. He describes the gospel in summary fashion, the foundation of the gospel in vv. 2, 3, 4: “which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures.” The first thing he is going to do is ground what he is going to say, not in the Gospels, not in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament. One of the interesting things about Romans is that of all the epistles that the apostle Paul wrote, and all the times that he quotes from the Old Testament, half of his quotations from the Old Testament are in Romans. That tells us again, just as in the study of Hebrews, that you have to have some understanding of the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, to understand what Paul is saying. He is developing everything that he says in Romans on the basis of what was revealed in the Torah in the Old Testament and the prophets. [3] “concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, [4] who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…” So he is going to establish this on the basis of two important things: the fact that Jesus is born in the line of David and that He is declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead. Both of those ideas are loaded with an Old Testament frame of reference.

For forty days after the resurrection Jesus taught the disciples concerning the kingdom of God. What did He say about the kingdom of God? This sort of summarizes the focal point of the message of Peter and the other apostles in the book of Acts. It always goes back to establishing Jesus’ credentials as the descendant of David, the one who is the focal point of all of the Old Testament prophecies related to the Messiah. We see this again in Paul’s introduction. The foundation was, who was Jesus? Was He who He claimed to be? Was He born of Mary in Bethlehem, fulfilling over a hundred messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, or not?

Then in verses 5-7 Paul Talks about the readers who are in Rome “called to be saints.” That is just the salutation. Then he talks in the remainder of his introduction of his desire to visit them in Rome—verses 8-15. He praises them because their faith is known throughout the whole world, the Roman empire, so they have already developed a reputation; there is a sizeable number of believers there. Romans 1:7 NASB “to all who are beloved of God in Rome…” He doesn’t say to the church in Rome because by this time there were a number of different churches or congregations in Rome. He is addressing all of them; he doesn’t use the word “church” until he gets to chapter 16. He mentions their faith, the reputation that they are developing throughout the Roman empire, and that he continually prays for them, vv. 9, 10 and his desire to come to them to impart doctrine to them from the utilization of his spiritual gift as an apostle. Then he concludes the introduction in vv, 16, 17 with this quote from Habakkuk 2:4. He states in v. 16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel” –which is a figure of speech for saying “I’m proud of the gospel”—“ for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” So he establishes right off the bat the universality of the gospel; it is for everyone, Jew and Gentile. Then he says in verse 17, which is the key verse for understanding the epistle: “For in it [the gospel] {the} righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…” It is important to pay attention to how Paul talks about what is revealed as we go through Romans, and here we see that the righteousness of God is revealed. Then in verse 18 we see that the wrath of God is revealed. So we see that as he begins the first section in verse 18 he starts with the judgment of God, which is the outworking of His righteousness. So His righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, “as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS {man} [justified ones] SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

Then we come to the first major section of the epistle, which focuses on this whole doctrine of justification. Justification by faith alone is the hallmark doctrine in Romans. We find it also developed in Galatians. Galatians was Paul’s first epistle and we see that all of the ideas and the doctrines in Galatians are developed and expanded much more in this epistle to the Romans. The epistle to the Romans is considered to be one of the finest pieces of any kind of literature of all of history. It is one of the tightest, most logically developed arguments in any kind of religious literature that will be found. What Paul does is start with what is revealed in the Old Testament and he puts it together logically to show how what is revealed in Jesus in the Gospels is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies and that the Christian proclamation that justification, how a person becomes just in his standing before God, is by faith alone and isn’t something that came along, and was new with Jesus or Paul, not something that is just Christian, but it is grounded in the Old Testament. In chapter four he is going to take us all the way back to the Torah, to Genesis chapter 15:16, to show us that Abraham was justified by faith alone before there was the law and before there was circumcision; and that justification by faith alone was not something new with Christianity but that the Law was never intended as a way for man to be justified before God. So he begins in this first section, from verse 18 down to verse 32, to establish the condemnation of all mankind because they have rejected God.

He starts off by saying, Romans 1:19 NASB “because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.” This is the revelation of His invisible attributes. But what happens is that they have rejected Him. The revelation is clear enough that all mankind are accountable, no one is without excuse. [21] “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God …” They “suppressed the truth in unrighteousness.” Verses 21 to the end of the chapter is a summary of what transpired after Adam’s fall; it is a historical summation of mankind prior to the call of Abraham when there was the human race who had the testimony of God’s existence in a clear enough accountable fashion and yet they rejected it. Then summary is: “Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” This is what happened in that period before the flood and from the time of the flood to the tower of Babel, and then God, as it were, just throws up His hands because the whole human race is no good, and He is going to focus on one individual—Abraham—and his descendants. So the summation in vv. 18-32 is that the Gentiles—before there were any Jews and before Abraham was called—rejected the revelation of God.

Then starting in chapter two he is going to deal with two classifications of people. We often think that somebody can come before God and say, Well I live a good life, I’m a moral person, I follow the Ten Commandments, the Torah, or whatever moral standard there is; I can have justification, I can be vindicated before God’s righteousness. What Paul shows in a masterful piece of logic in chapter two is that neither the moral person nor the religious person has standing before God because the essence of sin is of such a level of corruption that nothing that man can do can overcome the basic constitutional defect that we have because of sin. So in the first 16 verses of chapter two he shows that God’s righteousness condemns the moral man, the most moral person who tries to find his standing before God based on his own morality. He shows that basically even the most moral of person is still a hypocrite because he cannot perfectly, consistently fulfil or live out the standards that he claims to hold to.

Concluding about the moral man, Romans 2:8 NASB “but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth” anyone who doesn’t obey the truth “but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. [9] {There will be} tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil…” He goes on in verse 12 “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law…” that is, even though they don’t have the Torah, the Old Testament, the oracles of God, the prophets, nevertheless, he argues, they have a standard in their soul that is a residual of being created in the image and likeness of God, and they know what right is and what wrong is. And they can’t consistently do what they believe to be right. Therefore when they do not do that which they know to be right because of the inherent conscience that is in their soul from God then they stand condemned. Even though God is the one who will justify the good no one is good, no one really lives up to that. We may have a level of relative goodness and a level of relative righteousness when we compare ourselves to some other people, when we compare ourselves to the absolute perfect standard of God none of us measures up, not even the best.

Then he goes to the second argument in 2:17 to 3:8 to show that God’s righteous standard also condemns the Jews. The Jews had three things that they relied upon that set them apart from the rest of the human race. That did set them apart from the rest of the human race and they were part of God’s blessing for the Jews but it didn’t justify them, it just put them in a position of greater accountability. The first thing that they had was the Law, the Torah, the Mosaic covenant. They had all of the covenants, the promises of God, the entirety of the Hebrew Scriptures; not just the first five books but the Law and the prophets. Yet, even with that standard given to them none of them can live up to that divine standard, there is always failure, they cannot boast in being completely obedient to the Law.

The second thing that they would rely on was circumcision. Circumcision wasn’t the sign of the Mosaic covenant; it was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant. Abraham was the one who was to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant that God had made with him, and so in the historical development of Judaism there was a reliance upon the fact that because God blessed Abraham then all of those who came from Abraham were also in this privileged position and would automatically be justified or saved before God because of their relationship to Abraham. So Paul concludes that it wasn’t really outward circumcision, outward circumcision was just supposed to be a symbol of inward circumcision or separation unto God; and unless there was that inner circumcision then there was no righteousness in the life of the individual. Romans 2:29 NASB “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.”

The third thing that the Jews would rely on was the fact that they possessed the oracles of God; they were the custodians of divine revelation. One again, Paul shows that that is not enough to give them justification. It put them in a position that they had more knowledge and to whom more was given more was expected, and one again they failed. The conclusion, then, is given starting in v. 9 down through v. 20: All have sinned: Gentiles, the moral person cannot live up to God’s righteousness, and the Jews cannot live up to God’s righteousness. Therefore he concludes in Romans 3:23 NASB “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There is no human being who has ever lived who can reach a level of righteousness that meets God’s approval. So if man can’t meet God’s approval on his own how can we be justified before God? That is what Paul begins to answer, beginning in verse 21. So from verse 21 down through the end of chapter five we see the explanation of justification by faith alone.

He begins at verse 21. This is really the core of this epistle. The foundation for this epistle is understanding 3:21 down through 5:21, and so he talks about the fact that the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed. Notice 1:17 the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, then in verse 18, the start of this section, the wrath of God is revealed. The wrath of God is a phrase for His judgment, the execution of His judgment on mankind. The wrath of God is revealed against Gentiles, against the moral person, and against the religious Jew—all have sinned. The he says, now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed (v. 21). So how does God reveal His righteousness apart from the Law? He talks about three key words here. The first word is justification, Romans 3:24 NASB “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” Freely: there is nothing done to earn it, to purchase it, to buy it.

In verses 21 down through 31 Paul emphasizes the fact that justification is by faith alone. He emphasizes that we are justified freely by His grace (v. 24), through “redemption,” the second key word. Redemption is the purchase of a slave; the entire purchase price is paid to free a slave. Romans 3:25 NASB “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation…” This word hilaskomai [i(laskomai] is a word used in the Greek to describe the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant in the Old Testament, related to the day of Atonement on the Jewish ritual calendar. So these words—justification, redemption, propitiation, righteousness—are the key words that we have to understand. The principle is that man is now justified by faith alone. It excludes boasting, the Law: [27] “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.” So we have to be careful here because Paul uses the term “law” in two different ways: one in reference to the law of Moses and one in reference to simply believing the gospel—he calls that the law of faith. In the same way he will refer to works in terms of meritorious works in terms of trying to gain the approbation of God or be justified on the basis of these works, but sometimes he also refer to faith as a work, but it is non-meritorious; faith is merely doing something you believe, not in the sense of trying to gain favour with God. The object of faith is what has the merit and that is Jesus Christ.

So his conclusion in verse 28: “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” And it is not just the ritual of the law, it is obeying all of the 613 commandments that are in the Torah. And in chapter four he gives an illustration which comes from the Old Testament, from Abraham: that Abraham was justified by faith. In Genesis 15:6 Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. That is not when he believed God and it was imputed to him as righteousness, he had already done that before God called him out of Ur of the Chaldees; but it was that Abraham believed God and because he believed God the righteousness of God is imputed to him and it is on the basis of faith that he has received righteousness from another source. It is not his righteousness. Paul goes on to give a couple of illustrations from David, from the Psalms in 4:5-8. Then in vv. 9-12 he shows that Abraham was justified, and his statement of justification is prior to his circumcision. So it is prior to the law, it is prior to circumcision, it is prior to the giving of the Torah, and this shows that justification is by faith alone; it is not related to the law, to circumcision, or the possession of the oracles of God. In 4:13-16 Paul goes on to show that it is not on the basis of the Torah, but in vv. 17-25 he argues that it is on the basis of faith alone. Verse 22 reiterates Genesis 15:6, it was accounted to him or imputed to him for righteousness.

In chapter five we get into the benefits of justification. Chapter five covers the six basic benefits of justification. In the first verse we have peace with God. Because we are justified and God declares us just, we have peace with God therefore. There is no harmony between man and God rather than enmity. Second, we are able to rejoice in hope. Romans 5:2 NASB “through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” Third, the blessings related to spiritual growth. We can glory in tribulations and suffering because we know that this produces perseverance, character, hope, and that all defines spiritual growth. Fourth, we have a tangible expression of the love of God that is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, v.5, and then in v. 8 NASB “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The fifth benefit of justification is that we don’t have to worry about condemnation anymore. Romans 5:9 NASB “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath {of God} through Him.” Sixth, [10] “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God …”

In the last part of chapter five, vv. 12-21, he talks about how God’s grace in justification overcomes the deficit that we have because we are born in Adam with the imputation of Adam’s original sin. Romans 5:19 NASB “ For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” So it is not on the basis of our obedience but on the basis of Christ’s obedience and His righteousness that many will be made righteous. That concludes the first part, which deals with justification by faith. His righteousness has been revealed in terms of condemnation of all mankind and justification by faith alone is available to every single human being.

Then in chapters 6-8 we have sanctification. Sanctification is the outworking of our justification. Only the justified person is now free to live and to express the righteousness of God in his life. So in chapter six Paul talks about sanctification in relation to sin. In chapter seven he deals with our sanctification in relation to the Law. In chapter eight he talks about our sanctification in relation to the Spirit. The foundation is given in vv. 2, 3 on chapter six—that we die to sin. At the instant of our salvation we are identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, and at that instant the tyranny of the sin nature is broken. Prior to justification we can’t do anything but sin, everything comes out of this corrupt nature. We can produce morality or immorality but it is all out of that corrupt fallen nature; it doesn’t cut any ice with God. The unbeliever only has one option and that is to operate on the basis of his sin nature, but once we are justified we have a new nature given to us. The power and the tyranny of the sin nature is broken and so now we have to live in light of that freedom from sin. Romans 6:7 NASB “for he who has died is freed from sin.” Three commands are given in vv. 11-13: a) reckon or consider yourselves to be dead to sin; b) Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body; c) Don’t present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin. These are three mandates to the believer and he can now do this, he has the freedom to do this, because he has died to sin.

In verses 15-23 Paul is saying that believers are transferred from the position of being enslaved to sin to being enslaved to righteousness, and only when we live in light of that righteousness can we have the real life that we have in Christ. Romans 6:23 NASB “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is a verse that we have heard relates to salvation, but it doesn’t. This is in the sanctification section of Romans. Romans 6, 7, and 8 isn’t talking about how we are justified, it is talking about how the justified person lives. This verse has to do with experiencing the full abundant life that God has for the believer. The wages of sin is death, i.e. the believer living in disobedience and the end result is not spiritual death, it is carnal death, a non-productive life. But there is a productive life, a fullness of life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Chapter seven describes a relationship to the law, that we have been freed from the law and that the law cannot provide justification. In the Old Testament they were under the law and Paul tried to live under the law, but he experiences the frustration that you cannot consistently and fully fulfill the law. The law is designed to expose sinfulness. 7. Because whenever you sin, break the law; you realize you can’t keep it. Romans 7:7 NASB “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” So the law exposes the fact that we can’t keep it, that that is not the path to justification; yet, the law is still good. [12] “So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Then in verses 13-25, you can’t live out your justification on the basis of the law because there is always this conflict in the life of the person just trying to do it on his own, he doesn’t do what he wants to do and he does what he doesn’t want to do, and that is the ongoing conflict in the life of the believer not living on the basis of the provision of the Holy Spirit.

Notice in chapters 6, 7, and 8 where there is the emphasis on the spiritual life the Holy Spirit doesn’t come into it until chapter eight.

Chapter six talks about the fact that we are freed from sin. Well not that we are freed from sin how do we live to righteousness? Do we do it by the law? Chapter seven says, no you can’t do it by just pulling yourself up by your moral bootstraps. You have to rely on the Holy Spirit, and that is chapter eight. So we can’t answer the question of how that is raised in chapter six until we start dealing with the realities of the Holy Spirit in chapter eight where we are told, Romans 8:1 NASB “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… [4] …who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” So we are talking about those who are in Christ Jesus, not unbelievers, in this passage—justified believers who are either living according to the Spirit or walk according to the flesh. There are those two options. If they are living according to the flesh then the result is going to be temporal death, carnal death; if they are walking according to the Spirit then they are going to experience the fullness of God’s blessings in their life.

Romans 8:6 NASB “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” The verses here down to verse 17 focus on the benefits of walking by means of the Spirit, and then in verses 18-39 it is the goal of sanctification which is our ultimate glorification. It concludes: Romans 8:38, 39 NASB “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That raises the question: what about Israel? It seems like God has turned His back on Israel. So now in chapters 9-11 Paul is going to talk about how God’s righteousness is vindicated in His dealings with Israel. In chapter nine he emphasizes that God has not changed, He has not rejected Israel completely. In verse four he says that the Israelites still have the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, the promises [9] “whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever.” So that is the foundation; God has not completely left Israel. There is a purpose for God’s seeming rejection of Israel. It is because Israel rejected God, rejected Jesus as the Messiah when He came, but nevertheless God still has a plan and a purpose for Israel. He deals with the two objections, covered in verses 14-19 where the objection is: well God isn’t really righteous, is He. He answers that and shows that God is indeed righteous and as the sovereign God He raises up the people for one purpose, others for another purpose. This isn’t talking about salvation or justification but the purpose and the plan of God. The second objection is given in verses 19-29 which deals His plan for His people Israel and as God has the right to raise up Gentiles for His honor and His glory, and that if He wants to demonstrate His wrath to those who have chosen to be disobedient then He can do so (vv. 21, 22). Then he focuses on the fact that it is Israel’s rejection of God that has led to blessing to the Gentiles. The conclusion is then given in vv. 30-33, talking about how God has now opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles.

Chapter ten is about Israel’s present condition and that though many have temporarily rejected the gospel eventually they will call upon God. Chapter eleven deals with that in details, that Israel’s rejection now is not total, there are many Jews who will accept Jesus as Messiah, and there are many Jews who are justified because of that. The rejection of Israel is not final and there is a future time when the Jews will turn back to God and accept Jesus as Messiah and all Israel will be saved.

In chapter twelve we get into the implications of justification: now that we are justified how does a justified person live? How does a justified person carry out their life in relationship to those in the church, to those in society in relation to government, to those other believers, some who are weak and some who are strong? That covers chapters 12-14. The big transition begins in Romans 12:1 NASB “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship. [2] And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” This lays the foundation for application. Now that you understand what took place in terms of justification—a non-experiential reality—you can see how this is to make a difference in all of your relationships, everything in your life. In verses 3-8 he talks about spiritual gifts within the local church and how those are to be used for the benefit of other believers, and then in verses 9-21 about how Christian love, unconditional love, impersonal love, is to dominate all the decision making in the Christian life—a rejection of arrogance and self-absorption and turning to humility and depending upon God to take care of any personal conflicts that arise.

Chapter thirteen talks about government. Remember that Paul wrote this at a time when one of the worst dictators of all time, Nero, was ruling over Rome and yet he says, Romans 13:1 NASB “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” So even if in our opinion the authority is evil or wrong we are to respect the principle of authority. That is always hard for us to deal with, we are always looking at the person and we have to respect the office even though we may not respect the person in the office. Of course, respect for authority always goes back to the basic issues in the angelic conflict. He connects this to paying taxes and customs and respect for those in authority in government. This is applied in other ways: in verses 8-14 in terms of how this relates to others in society. We are to love one another and he applies this in terms of the Ten Commandments. We can only do this by putting on Christ, verses 11-14.

In chapter fourteen we deal with how we deal with other believers. Some believers are going to be all twisted and are going to get the wrong ideas, some are going to try to impose their standards on everybody else; others are going to go in the other direction. So here he deals with the issue of how to treat weaker brothers, and esteeming one another and honouring one another even though we may be wrong in areas of application, and dealing with the law of love toward the weaker brother in the last part of the chapter.

Chapter fifteen at the very beginning Paul talks about the law of liberty, the principle of liberty in relationship to the application of bearing each others’ burdens and loving one another because we are all justified. So there should be a greater measure of love for those in the body of Christ. Then we come to the conclusion starting in verse 14 where he goes back to explaining his reason for writing again. He talks about his future plan to visit Rome in vv. 22-33, and then he begins in a long chapter to give greetings to a number of different people who are within the congregation at Rome. He concludes by saying, Rom 16:25-27 NASB “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, {leading} to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”

That gives us an overview of Romans.