Paul’s obligation to Rome
Paul introduces himself to the Roman church and explains his intention to visit them and reap some “harvest” for Christ among the Jews and
Gentiles of the city.
Presenting the gospel
Meanwhile, he uses this letter to present an explanation of the gospel for the benefit of the Jews of their acquaintance.
Wrath of God is revealed
Explaining why the gospel is necessary for the world, since otherwise the world is subject to the judgement of God.
Knowing and keeping the law
The fact that the Jews have been the custodians of the laws of Moses does not necessarily give them any advantage over those who don’t know these
laws. Everybody is judged by the same standard- namely, keeping the law, not knowing it.
No preference for the Jews
Since nobody in practice does keep the law, in either group, the real way to escape the wrath of God is by means of the righteousness provided through
faith, in Christ.
Abraham, the father of our faith
How God’s people have really been a faith-community even from the beginning. Our model is Abraham, who had faith in a God who gives life.
One man was righteous
We are reconciled with God and escape his wrath through the death of Christ, which occurred for our benefit. By means of his own death, he brought us
from a state of death under wrath into a state of life.
Escape from sin
Having died on the Cross together with Christ, we are also raised together with Christ. Because we share in his resurrection life, we should also
share in his freedom from sin, and should guard ourselves against relapsing into our former state.
Escape from law
But escaping from sin does not mean that we tie ourselves down to observing the laws of Moses. The real solution is to allow ourselves to be guided by
the Holy Spirit of God.
Living in the Spirit
We are no longer “in the flesh” but “in the Spirit”. In other words, we are already living in the resurrection life. We are reconciled with
God and freed from the burden of his judgement. That fulfils the purpose of the gospel, as announced in the first chapter.
The puzzle of Jewish resistance
What happened to the Jews?
ch9 & ch10
Although many of the Jews are refusing to accept the gospel of Christ, that is not because God has rejected them as a people. It is because they are
failing to pursue the righteousness of God in faith.
The mystery of the Jews
Even now, there is a “remnant” of Jews who have accepted the gospel. The resistance of the rest has been serving God’s purpose, indirectly,
because it was one of the factors that brought the gospel to the attention of the Gentiles. Once the Gentiles have been brought to God, there is the
prospect (based on a hint in Isaiah) that the rest of the Jews will also come back, and they will all be together as one complete faith-based
The effect of the gospel on our lives
Living in the gospel
We need to present our lives to God as “a living sacrifice”, living in harmony with others.
Patience with weak faith
The specific problem of coping with those fellow-Christians whose faith is “weak”, in the sense that they don’t have enough confidence to rest
entirely on that security. They need the reassurance of keeping themselves in obedience to unnecessary scruples.
The powers that be
How the obligation to live in harmony with our fellow-men includes our obligations to those who are placed in authority.