“Paul penned this, his most influential letter, while staying in Corinth during his third missionary journey in A.D. 57. Though Paul had not yet visited Rome, he knew many people there and hoped he might visit soon. He welcomed an opportunity to serve them and for them to speed him on his way to further ministry in the west. The origin of the Roman church is unknown. It may have started as a group of Jewish believers and may even have begun not long after Pentecost. Over the years it had grown and was made up of sizeable Jewish and Gentile constituencies. This important letter gave Paul the opportunity to instruct the believers in the essentials of salvation. Some specific issues existed among the mixed racial makeup of the church, so he spoke both to Jews and Gentiles. Yet the message of salvation is the major theme of Romans. From 1:18-8:39, Paul described the human condition from God’s perspective and set forth what God has done to forgive and restore human beings to right relationship with Himself. Not only that, God has given His Spirit to those who trust His grace. Through the Holy Spirit those who have been justified by faith are able to live holy lives, walking in ways that are pleasing to God. After discussing how Jews and Gentiles fit into God’s overall plan for the ages (chaps. 9-11), Paul spelled out some ethical implications of salvation in Christ (12:1-15:13).” (HCSB)

1:5-6, “We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name, including yourselves who are also Jesus Christ’s by calling.” 1:8, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world.” 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.” When we live by what we believe, people notice. When we live as hypocrites, people notice. Everyone may not listen to what we say, but they all watch what we do. God has given us His grace and mercy, even though we do not deserve it. It is in response to His love that we witness our faith to others, not to earn His grace, rather because of it. If Christians follow Paul’s advice in Romans along with all Biblical directions, lives will be forever changed. The Christian faith would continue to multiply, and it will only spread if believers are not ashamed to live their lives and speak according to the gospel.

In regards to 1:17 William W. Klein notes, “Righteousness” is blamelessness before God. Contrary to the widely held view that righteousness is a human achievement, Paul’s position is that righteousness is a gift that can’t be earned. God declares guilty sinners righteous and so puts them in right relationship with Himself. Those who respond to God’s gracious offer to be made right with Him receive the Holy Spirit. Through the Spirit’s power those who have been declared righteous are in the process of being transformed into the image of Christ.” Even with Jesus Christ in one’s life, a person will not always act the way one should. We all are natural sinners and we will stumble and make mistakes. It is because of our faith in Christ that assures us that even though we mess up, God will never stop loving us. He will always be there to pick us up and clean us off. With the help of the Holy Spirit, day-by-day, our lives will continue to grow in the image of Christ, and we will not be complete until either He returns or calls us home. Until then, it is important always keep Him first in our lives.

In regards to 1:18, “God’s wrath is not an uncontrollable, destructive emotion directed against those God dislikes. Wrath describes His just, holy response to sin and rebellion. From human perspective shaped in a world permeated by sin and injustice, wrath and love are seen as polar opposites. In God, however, there is no conflict between His great love and His terrible wrath. Most human beings know that something is wrong with the world, and there is a deep longing that it be put right. The multiplicity of religions and sects give a variety of explanations of why the world isn’t as it should be. They also prescribe a variety of logically incompatible solutions to right the wrongs. Both God’s love and His wrath are the guarantors that what is wrong will be put right. To deny or minimize God’s wrath is to obscure what He revealed in the death of His Son who bore God’s wrath in our place.” (Klein)

1:19-21, “Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. From the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.” We have been made in God’s image and we all have what is called a conscience. This conscience tells us the values of what is morally right and wrong. Because of these values, deep down inside all of us exists knowledge of a Creator who has developed these rules of values. The Triune God that consists of Father, Son, Spirit, is the only logical Creator of such values.

2:4, 6, 11, 13, 15-16: “Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? He will repay each one according to his works. There is no favoritism with God. For the hearers of the law are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts. Their consciences testify in support of this, and their competing thoughts either accuse or excuse them on the day when God judges what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus.” Klein has commented that, “God’s judgment is not based on people’s action toward others but on how people act toward Him. Those who do good in relation to God obtain eternal life, while those who do evil toward God receive God’s wrath. Since justification comes by faith, not works and because “there is no one righteous, not even one” (3:10), Paul could not mean that people secure salvation by self-effort. Rather he appealed to the principle: “Actions reveal a person’s heart.” Jesus noted that righteous actions will emerge from within (Mt 12:35). That no one is righteous indicates human inability to secure salvation apart from God’s provision. This does not mean that people are as bad as they can be, or that they cannot do good things from a human perspective. However, as to eternal salvation, their situation is hopeless so long as they are left to themselves. God’s initiating grace must come first. Righteousness must come from God (vv. 21-22).”

3:20, 23, and 31: “For no flesh will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Do we then cancel the law through faith? Absolutely not! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” Verses such as these can be understandably confusing. The best interpretation is the fact that without knowledge of the law, it is easy for one to become prideful in believing that one is perfect. Once we know the law, we discover that we are perfect…perfect sinners that is. We all deserve eternal damnation by acts that we have done, statements we have made, and even thoughts we have thought. It is because of the love of God, that He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins, so that we may have an eternal relationship with Him. Once again, it is because of this relationship that we uphold the law, not to gain a relationship, but in response to it.

In regards to 3:25, “But what kind of God (Father) sends His Son to such a horrific death to satisfy His own sense of justice? First, Jesus voluntarily gave His life (Jn 10:14-18). So this was the eternally agreed-upon plan by Father, Son, and Spirit. Second, the triune God—not just the Son—is involved in this world’s suffering. The Father and Spirit were not undetached observers but were intimately involved with the Son’s suffering on the cross. Third, consider God’s holiness and sin’s offensiveness to such a perfect, unsullied, personal Being. Sin elicits His just, wrathful response—the removal of all traces of both sin and sinner. Fourth, we must grasp God’s limitless love for His human creatures made in His own image. Though He could justly write us off forever, in love God acted to save those who trust in Him. So while His holiness required the just payment of death for sinners, in love He paid the penalty Himself in the person of His only Son.” (Klein)

In regards to 4:6, “God considers those who trust Him as righteous. Expressing it in economic terms, God puts their sins on Christ’s account and credits Christ’s righteousness to their account. Believers are not suddenly made morally pure to live sinless lives thereafter; rather, they are now considered “in Christ,” with all the blessings and benefits of that position.” (Klein)

Big Daddy Weave (In Christ):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEUsyvejlOY

4:20-25, “Abraham did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, because he was fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. Now ‘it was credited to him’ was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”

5:1-8, 11: “Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

5:18-21: “So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. For just as through one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

6:1-7, 11, and 14: “What should we say then? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Or are you unaware that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims. So, you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace.”

6:15-18, 21-23: “What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Do you not know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were entrusted to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. And what fruit was produced then from the things you are now ashamed of? For the end of those things is death. But now, since you have been liberated from sin and become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the end is eternal life! For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In regards to 6:16 and 22, “Paul’s positive use of the metaphor of slavery may strike Christians today as offensive. However, slavery’s pervasiveness in the ancient world helped convey his point graphically. In fact, everyone is a slave either to sin—an evil, malicious slave master—or to God. God grants His slaves eternal life and freedom from sin’s destructive power. Sin pays death as wages; God grants life.” (Klein) Today, the two most popular slave drivers are time and money and they both usually go hand-in-hand. How many of us have said to some extent, “I would love to participate in this charity, I just do not have the time…” Here in the U.S., we work trying to earn as much money as possible to establish the “American Dream.” The question is, what good does accomplishing the dream do, if you can not share the pleasures with others who have been taken out of our lives because we kept busy for so long? We are indeed slaves. I do not know about the reader, but I would rather be a slave to God who grants freedom, rather than a slave to anything ore anyone else.

Casting Crowns (American Dream):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LznxnuVaG8o

In regards to 7:15-25, “This section is hotly debated. In one view, the internal struggle was Paul’s (and others’) personal Christian experience. In Christ, all Christians want to do what pleases God but find themselves frustrated in their efforts because of the lingering presence of sin’s power within. The struggle continues in this age, with progress and victory possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit and ultimately when Christ returns. Alternatively, some scholars argue that here Paul spoke of the position of Jewish people (and thus of himself as a formerly unbelieving Jew) living in frustration under the law. In this view Paul described the unbeliever’s struggle, experiencing defeat apart from Christ. He was a slave to the law of sin and struggled with the body of death.” (Klein)

8:5-6: “For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.” C.H. Spurgeon has said, “When we rely on other people, their water supplies ultimately dry up. But, the well of the Creator never fails to nourish us.” When I think of such earthly matters as relationships, finances, work, and any and all circumstances of life without God in the picture, the result is that of doubt, anger, depression, etc. When I keep God at the center of my life, even though things may not make sense at the moment, I hold strong to my faith in Christ for assurance that in the end, everything will work out. In regards to 8:9, “Paul identified the indispensable constituent of those in Christ: the Holy Spirit. There are no Spiritless Christians. They are no longer “in the flesh” but are freed from a merely human, powerless life. The Spirit grants spiritual life to believers at the point of salvation. The Spirit indwells believers and provides to believers the capacity to please God and to put to death the sinful behaviors opposed to the life of Christ.” (Klein)

8:16-18: “The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” 8:26-28: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”

In regards to 8:28, “Paul did not say things are good—an absurd claim in view of both natural tragedies and human atrocities. When suffering, Christians might conclude either that God does not love them or that He is not sufficiently protecting them. Paul thus insisted that in all things God works to accomplish what is good for His people. Clearly God does not always spare His people from tragedies, illnesses, and other adverse circumstances of life, or even shield them from their opponents’ persecution. In any of these difficulties—and Paul listed some awful ones—God is working for His people’s good. Prosperity theology maintains that “good” means God always physically heals or protects trusting, praying believers from tragedies. But this teaching runs counter to the tenor of this passage. In fact, to say that God always prospers His people borders on heresy, calling into question God’s working of His sovereign purposes through His people’s suffering. Rather than promising escape, Paul intended here to provide hope for the afflicted. God will accomplish “good”: His loving purposes for His creation and glory to His people. The “good” concerns their final salvation. Despite any alleged evidence to the contrary, nothing can separate God’s people from His perpetual love.” (Klein)

8:31-39: “What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. No, in all these tings we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

10:8-10: “On the contrary, what does it say? ‘The message is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.’ This is the message of faith that we proclaim: if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.” In regards to 10:9-10, “Merely mouthing ‘Jesus is Lord’ and proclaiming that Jesus rose from the dead cannot secure salvation. Presumably the devil and many people could meet these requirements and not be true followers of Christ. A heartfelt confession of Jesus’ lordship designates a lifelong commitment that issues from the center of a person’s being, the heart. What matters is not saying Jesus is Lord but making Him Lord at the core of one’s existence. This is what Paul really meant by calling on the name of the Lord to be saved (10:13).” (Klein) 11:36, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

12:1-5, “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function, in the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another.”

Casting Crowns (If We Are The Body):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAWeHo8E70E

In 12:9-21, Paul describes a list of ethics Christians should uphold to. There are a few verses that I would like to highlight within the Christian Ethics section which are: 12, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” 15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” 18, “If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone.” 20-21, “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” There is something about conflict that appeals to everyone. It is easy to get into an argument, but more difficult to make peace. In all honesty, without keeping God at the center, it is practically impossible to make peace. In chapter 12, Paul teaches Christians that we must be patient and persistent in prayer. When we are able to rejoice in hope, then we are able to rejoice with others who rejoice and weep with those who weep. We are able to surprise our opponent by doing good to them after they have done something bad to us. Those “fiery coals” Paul talks about represents heavy guilt on the opponents conscience. Just as God has given us His love and grace, He wants us to treat one another the same way He treats us.

13:1, “Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God.” This is a tough verse, especially for me. I am not too crazy about obeying the speed limit and always rely on that “5mph grace.” Laws have been made by both God and man to ultimately protect us from ourselves. Why stop at a red light when we can keep on going? Well if that light is at a busy intersection, if we continue going, then we will hurt, if not kill ourselves along with others. In Psalm 119, we discover that joy can be found in the law and happiness can be obtained by following the law. I know it is difficult to fathom, mainly because we are by birth, natural sinners who always want to stretch limits and see how far we can go without following certain laws. Our lives and the lives of those around us would become so much easier to live within the laws, happiness can truly be found by following them. 13:12-14, “The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.”

In regards to 14:4, 13-14, “When he forbade judging, Paul did not mean Christians must not call a sin a sin. The context concerns Jewish practices such as dietary regulations, Sabbath keeping, and feasts—“doubtful issues”—that troubled many new (especially Jewish) Christians. Some believed they should remain kosher, while others thought differently. Paul insisted these are individual, non-moral matters for each believer to decide, for each one will give an account to God, not to other Christians. Since Jesus declared that nothing is unclean in itself, what one chooses to eat or not eat is a matter of personal preference. But we cannot take Paul’s conclusion to cover any and all actions. That is, we cannot say that believers may engage in anything they wish as long as they hold the personal opinion that is acceptable. Sin is never permissible for a Christian.” (Klein)

15:1-2, “Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves. Each one of us must please his neighbor for his good, in order to build him up.” We have a tendency to get caught up with this concept called “self-esteem” which comes from psychiatry which came from Freud. There are a few problems with the concept of self-esteem, the first being that Freud was an atheist. Self-esteem teaches that we must love ourselves first, but where does this love come from? If we love ourselves based on ourselves, this will lead to ego, tyranny, and pride. Jesus instructs us that we must always esteem others first, but more importantly, put God first. When we put God first in our lives, we acknowledge the fact that the Creator of matter tells us that we matter, we then have purpose, value, and yes—self esteem! This gives us the strength to help and guide the weak.

I believe that these verses are perfect for ending this particular commentary: 15:5-6, “Now may the God of endurance and encouragement grant you agreement with one another, according to Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.”

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