AUTHOR: Paul
DATE: 57-58 A.D.

The letter to the Church at Rome is the most doctrinally clear and complete of all Paul’s letters. In His letter, Paul first diagnoses who man is without Christ.  He then tells how God delivers man by grace through faith and closes the book by giving directions on how man should live after his salvation. Both Paul and Peter traveled to Rome and both were martyred in Rome, but it is unlikely that either was the founder of the church there. The membership in the Church at Rome was predominantly Gentile (1:13; 11:13; 15:15-16).

Paul wrote his letter to prepare the people for the time when he would visit (15:14-17). The letter was written when Paul was in Corinth. From there he went to Jerusalem to deliver donations for the Jerusalem Church that he had collected.  He intended to then journey to Rome and Spain (15:24), but his plans were interrupted when he was arrested. Paul did eventually get to Rome, but as a prisoner. It’s believed that Phoebe, who belonged to the church at Cenchrea near Corinth (16:1), carried Paul’s letter to Rome.

The theme of Romans is the righteousness of God (1:16-17).  This letter is more formal than Paul’s other letters and in it he clearly teaches natural revelation (Rom 1:19-20), universality of sin (Rom 3:9-20), justification (Rom 3:24), propitiation (Rom 3:25), faith (Rom 4:1), original sin (Rom 5:12), union with Christ (Rom 6:1), the election and rejection of Israel (Rom 9-11), righteous living (Rom 12), spiritual gifts (Rom 12:3-8), and respect for government (Rom 13:1-7).

OUTLINE OF ROMANS

I. Salutation and Statement of Theme, 1:1-17

A. Greeting, 1:1-7
B. Paul’s Interest, 1:8-15
C. Theme, 1:16-17

II. Righteousness Needed; Condemnation, Sin, 1:18-3:20

A. The Condemnation of the Gentile, 1:18-32

1. The cause of the condemnation: willful ignorance, 1:18-23
2. The consequences of the condemnation: divine abandonment, 1:24-32

B. The Condemnation of the Moralist, 2:1-16
C. The Condemnation of the Jew, 2:17-3:8

1. He did not keep the law of God, 2:17-29
2. He did not believe the promises of God, 3:1-8

D. The Condemnation of All Men, 3:9-20

III. Righteousness Imputed; Justification, Salvation, 3:21-5:21

A. The Description of Righteousness, 3:21-31
B. The Illustration of Righteousness, 4:1-25

1. Abraham’s faith was apart from works, 4:1-8
2. Abraham’s faith was apart from circumcision, 4:9-12
3. Abraham’s faith was apart from the law, 4:13-15
4. Abraham’s faith was in God, 4:16-25

C. The Benefits of Righteousness, 5:1-11
D. The Applicability of Righteousness, 5:12-21

IV. Righteousness Imparted; Sanctification, Separation, 6:1-8:39

A. The Principles of Sanctification; The Question of License, 6:1-23

1. Shall we continue in sin? 6:1-14
2. Shall we continue to sin? 6:15-23

B. The Practice of Sanctification; The Question of Law, 7:1-25

1. Is the believer under law? 7:1-6
2. Is the law evil? 7:7-12
3. Is the law a cause of death? 7:13-14
4. How can I resolve the struggle within myself? 7:15-25

C. The Power of Sanctification; The Question of Living, 8:1-39

1. Emancipated living, 8:1-11
2. Exalted living, 8:12-17
3. Expectant living, 8:18-30
4. Exultant living, 8:31-39

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V. Righteousness Vindicated; Dispensation, Sovereignty, 9:1-11:36

A. Israel’s Past; Election, 9:1-29

1. Paul’s sorrow, 9:1-5
2. God’s sovereignty, 9:6-29

B. Israel’s Present; Rejection, 9:30-10:21
C. Israel’s Future; Salvation, 11:1-36

1. The extent of Israel’s rejection (partial), 11:1-10
2. The purpose of Israel’s rejection, 11:11-24
3. The duration of Israel’s rejection (temporary), 11:25-32
4. Discourse on God’s wisdom, 11:33-36

VI. Righteousness Practiced; Application, Service, 12:1-15:13

A. In Relation to Ourselves, 12:1-2
B. In Relation to the Church, 12:3-8
C. In Relation to Society, 12:9-21
D. In Relation to Government, 13:1-14
E. In Relation to Other Believers, 14:1-15:13

1. Do not judge one another, 14:1-12
2. Do not hinder one another, 14:13-23
3. Do imitate Christ, 15:1-13

VII. Personal Messages and Benediction, 15:14-16:27

A. Paul’s Plans, 15:14-33
B. Paul’s Personal Greetings, 16:1-16
C. Paul’s Concluding Admonition and Benediction, 16:17-27

A Hidden Message in Psalm 23

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Do not be anxious about anything.  (Phil 4:6)

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must rightly remember who is in control.  Our God is sovereign over all things, including COVID-19.  As Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) said, “The sovereignty of God is a soft pillow on which weary people lay their heads.” 

Remember also God’s gracious promise, and that it is true and He is faithful to keep it:  Hebrews 13:5 …”I will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  The next verse remind us of the power that comes in trusting God and how we can live:  Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or COVID-19] shall do to me.

God loves us, and in Christ we find confidence and calm in times of uncertainty and trouble.  When we trust in God, fear is replaced with faith, stress is replaced with strength, anxiety is gone and hope abounds, problems become opportunities, and we are able to receive the blessings God has for us in the midst of difficult circumstances. Turn to Jesus. He will lead you to the still waters and give rest for your troubled soul.  

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…Hebrews 6:19

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