Today in God’s Word
1 Samuel 1; Romans 1; Jeremiah 39; Psalm 13-14
Today we begin Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the greatest letter ever written. I suspect that my thoughts will remain with this letter until we finish a couple weeks from now.
Chapter 1 is introductory, yet it is packed with wonderful content to keep you busy for much more than one morning…so let me point out a few things and you decide where you want to set your mind and dig in on your own…
Notice the explanation of the humanity and simultaneous deity of Jesus in Rom 1:3-4. Compare the declaration of his true identity at the resurrection to God’s declaration at Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:16-17…do you see the wonderful foreshadowing that happened there in the river Jordan?
Notice the obedience of faith (cf. Rom 16:26) as the goal and mission of the Apostleship and it is for the sake of God’s name or I like to say “the fame of his name”. Obedience of faith differing from the obedience of law in that we follow God and take him at his Word not to accomplish something in law keeping but because we see him as our loving Father and we respond to his voice because we know he intends good for us and we love him and we trust him. The obedience of faith is a response to God’s righteousness and not a demonstration of our own (compare the rich young man and the blind beggar in Mark 10).
Notice God’s unique love for those whom he calls in Rom 1:7. Consider John 14:18-21 and John 17:6-26 and see that God does not merely have a general love for humanity but a specific and unstoppable and conquering love for his bride.
Notice the theme of the letter in Rom 1:17 and the wonderful fact that as born sinners we are not destroyed by the righteousness of God, but rather God reveals to us in his Gospel how his righteousness actually saves us by faith. Listen or watch a message on this topic here.
Notice in Rom 1:18-23 the fact that all persons have a knowledge of God buried within them somewhere that is suppressed. This means you have an ally within the person you are witnessing to!
Notice in Rom 1:24-32 that when God releases his restraining mercy, wickedness multiplies. This concept sheds more light on the statement Paul later makes that he is what he is by the grace of God (1 Cor 15:8-10). We all have the capacity to spew wickedness but by the grace and mercy of God he restrains even unbelievers in this world except for his sovereign purposes when he “gives them up” (cf. Rom 1:24, 26, 28). Therefore, we should recognize that we are all one lump together under sin lest we be like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 (cf. Rom 9:21).
See below if you are interested in a brief overview of the whole letter:
Broadly, Paul describes how God saves in chapters 1-11 and then chapters 12-16 he declares how we are to live in light of this truth. But more specifically, Paul sets the stage and presents his theme through 1:17 and then begins his argument for justification by faith in verse 18 on. I suggest that Paul uses 1:18-3:20 to setup humanity’s universal standing under God’s wrath. Then he shifts in 3:21-5:21 to explain how we escape certain judgment, namely, through justification by faith in Christ and how this is accomplished through union with Christ just as we were condemned through our natural union with Adam. From 6:1-7:25 Paul answers objections and misunderstandings about justification by faith that he knows would rise in the reader’s mind and he teaches now sanctification by the Spirit. In chapter 8 he presents what some argue is the greatest chapter of the Bible and it is a glorious picture of life in Christ. Chapters 9-11 answer questions about how God is sovereign in salvation and how the Gentiles are grafted into the promises of Israel and how Israel will be saved. This first half of the letter concludes in exultation for the wonder of God’s plan and how he brought salvation to the world through the error of his chosen people only to save his people through this plan as well. From chapter 12-16 Paul details how we are to live in response to this Gospel and this is where we find the imperative statements, beginning with Rom 12:1.
Soli Deo Gloria!