“One day you will stand before God and you must have his righteousness”
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Rom 5:18)
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE BOOK OF ROMANS
CHRYSOSTOM (347 – 407) (He was called ‘The Golden Mouth’) would have Romans read to him twice a week. So wonderful and powerful was the book.
MARTIN LUTHER (1483 – 1546) In his preface to the Epistle to the Romans he states “This epistle is in truth the chief part of the New Testament and the purest gospel. It would be quite proper for a Christian, not only to know it by heart word for word, but also to study it daily, for it is the soul’s daily bread. It can never be read or meditated too much or too well. The more thoroughly it is treated, the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes. In itself, it is a shining light, quite sufficient to illumine the whole scripture.’
Luther goes on to say “In this epistle, you will find the greatest abundance of things that a Christian ought to know:
What the law is, the gospel, sin, punishment, grace, faith, imputed righteousness, Christ, God, good works, love, hope. Cross-bearing conduct of ourselves toward the godly and toward sinners.
Conduct of ourselves toward those of weak faith, friends, toward enemies and toward ourselves.
Moreover, all this teaching has been built on the scripture ground and illustrated by Paul’s personal example and by the example of the prophets, so that there is nothing left for us to desire.
It seems therefore, that Paul’s object in this epistle, was to draw up a syllabus of the entire Christian and evangelical doctrine, and to prepare an introduction to the entire Old Testament. For any person who has received this epistle into his heart has without question, the light and strength of the Old Testament in himself.Accordingly, let every Christian become familiar with this epistle, and put it into constant practice. To this end, may God grant us his grace! Amen!”
MELANCTHON (1497 - 1560) – called the Book of Romans “The compendium of Christian doctrine”
JOHN CALVIN (1509 – 1564) said of Romans “When anyone understands this epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.”
FREDERICK GODET (1812 - 1900) the Swiss theologian called the Book of Romans “The cathedral of the Christian faith.”
G. CAMPBELL MORGAN (1863 – 1945) said of Romans “The most pessimistic page of literature upon which your eyes ever rested” and at the same time “the most optimistic poem to which your ears ever listened.”
RICHARD LENSKI wrote that Romans is “Beyond question, the most dynamic of all New Testament letters …”
COLERIDGE (1772 – 1834) “I think St Paul’s Epistle to the Romans the most profound work in existence…”
MATTHEW HENRY (1662 – 1714) states in his Commentary on Romans that in the universe of ‘spiritual stars’, there are those that differ from the rest in magnitude and glory – in the Old Testament it is David’s Psalms and in the New Testament it is Paul’s fourteen Epistles, the chief of which is Paul’s epistle to the Romans.
ST PETER THE APOSTLE wrote about Paul’s letters “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16
Paul writes to the church at Rome in 57AD.
He was on the last leg of his third missionary journey around the Mediterranean Sea area (Acts 18:23 – 21:19) and he was headed for ‘home’ to Jerusalem to tell the saints what he had done (Acts 21:18-19)
He was at Corinth (Acts 20:3) at the time, and was to leave for Jerusalem with money for the poor saints there (Acts 15:26).
Before he leaves, he writes this letter in
about the space of three months
(Acts 20:3) and sends it to the Christians in Rome by a lady called Phebe who lived in a suburb of Corinth called
Cenchrea (Rom 16:1). She was travelling to Rome from Corinth at the time. She
was a Christian woman and obviously highly thought of by Paul.
You see, Paul just couldn’t run down to the shops and pop this letter in the letter box. Why? There was no postal service for the public. The Roman government had its own official letter and parcel delivery service for government business, but there was none for the everyday citizen. Letters and indeed money, had to be sent via friends and relatives.
Who started the church at Rome?
In 33AD at Pentecost in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1), about 24 years earlier than when Paul writes this letter in 57AD, there were strangers of Rome (obviously so called as Paul hadn’t met a lot of them them) (Acts 2:10). These went back to Rome and started the Christian church there.
Now over the years, many Christians from all over the East, had gone to live there as well and swelled the church numbers. Indeed, some of these were Paul’s friends, and his own converts in the faith (Rom 16).
About three years later (60AD) after Paul writes this letter, he finally gets taken to Rome (and not the way he had in mind), but as a prisoner of Rome (Acts 26:32).
This was his fourth journey (Acts 27:1-16).
Paul had never been to Rome, but he had heard such good reports of the church’s faith there (Rom 1:8) which had gone all over the world.
He had wanted to visit there. (Acts 19:21; Rom 1:13)
Although God has told him he would go to Rome and be God’s witness there (Acts 23:11), he was unsure whether he would or not get there (Rom 1:10, 13).
After Paul got to Rome, he was obviously a trusted ‘prisoner’ and so they let him hire his own house for two years, where he received and taught all who came to him for about two years (Acts 28:30-31).
You see, the authorities in Rome hadn’t heard about Paul and knew very little about him (Acts 21:28) and indeed, were interested in what Paul had to say about the Christian sect of which they had heard (Acts 21:29). So he had a ‘free range’ for two years.
Now around 62-63AD, they let him go as a free man.
But in 64AD Nero burns Rome and blames the Christians who he saw a big threat. It has been said that one in ten people in Rome were becoming Christians. He therefore has the excuse to go after Paul.
Paul is captured soon after and put back into prison. This time there is no hired house for him.
Paul was beheaded in Rome about three years after in 67AD.
This beheading takes place about ten years after he writes his letter to the Romans.
Pentecost at Jerusalem
Paul’s 1st trip
Pauls’ 2nd trip
Paul’s third trip.
57AD writes the book of Romans from Corinth (Greece) – 24 years after Pentecost
Prisoner at Caesarea for two years.
Paul’s 4th Trip. Taken to Rome to appeal to Caesar.
Three years after writing Romans
Hires his own house for 2 years – under ‘house arrest’
Emperor Nero burns down Rome and blames the Christians.
Paul re-taken as a prisoner
Paul beheaded – 10 years after he writes Romans
Why did Paul write his letter to the Romans?
Paul wanted to let the Christians at Rome know that he was on his way there. He writes Romans around 57 AD and this is before God told Paul around 61AD, (Acts 23:11) that he would send him to Rome. At the time of writing the Book of Romans Paul did not feel sure that he would get away from Jerusalem alive (Rom 15:31). As a result it seemed a very good idea to get down on paper a written explanation of the true nature of the gospel of Christ according to Paul’s doctrine. After all, as the apostle to the Gentiles, it was only fitting that to leave a written copy in the world’s capital on the nature and gospel of Christ. Of course, as we have seen, Rome and the Roman Catholic ‘church’ has been the most violent and deadly to Christians for two thousand years and therefore Paul sends God’s sword direct into the eye of Satan who sits and has his own ‘church’ in Rome.
The background to the Roman epistle
It was the common Jewish belief of the finality of Moses and his laws as the final expression of the will of God. There was Jewish insistence that Gentiles who would become Christians must be circumcised and keep the Laws of Moses. Indeed, Christianity had its foundation taken from the Jewish religion and powerful Jewish leaders were determined to keep it so. Circumcision was the physical rite which stood as the initial ceremony in the Jewish naturalisation of Gentiles.
Paul’s main theme and insistence
All men are sinful and the law is the cause. Man’s acceptance with God does not depend on man trying to keep God’s laws – he can’t. Why? They are pure and holy and man is not.
God’s laws only bring out the sin in man.
So God solved the problem by becoming a man, Jesus Christ, to fulfil the law on man’s behalf. Entry into heaven can only be by perfect obedience to God’s laws. Man can’t do it, so Christ did it on behalf of all men. We get into heaven by the obedience of Christ. Man’s acceptance with God does not depend on what man has done, but on what Christ has done for him.
Theme: The righteousness of God
Importance of Romans
The eternal question that man has always had, is best summed up by Job in the Old Testament, when he says “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? Job 25:4. Paul’s epistle to the Romans leaves us in no doubt.
Romans is a reasoned argument that outlines salvation on how to get the righteousness of God. Romans tells us how to get right with God.
God gives Paul the most skilful and surgical of words that leaves no-one in doubt on how to get to heaven. Like the rest of the King James Bible, the book of Romans, as written in the English (that means no Greek of Hebrew needed) is a legal document that can stand the scrutiny of any courtroom in the land.
Ch 1, 2, 3 = All are sinners
Ch 4, 5 = Justification
Ch 6, 7, 8 = Subduing the flesh
Ch 9, 10, 11 = Israel
Ch 12,13,14,15 = Service
Ch 16 = Salutations and warning
Ch 1, 2, 3 = All are sinners
Ch. 1 – The obvious ‘bad’ sinners
Man’s blatant, vile and sinful mockery of God.
The universal and open ungodliness &
unrighteousness of all
In the first sixteen verses, Paul introduces himself, confirming who Jesus Christ is, speaking of their well-known faith and his longing to be with them to preach the gospel. He then rebukes all men, Gentile and Jew, who, in spite of knowing who God is and that their eternity is in hell, they obstinately, wilfully and publicly commit the most vile of sins. These are the sodomites and lesbians that flaunt themselves in Gay Pride marches.
Does this include the Jew? Yes, a very brief look at the conduct of the lives under various kings will show this. Solomon for example, sacrificed and threw babies into the fire. All of the Northern kings were evil and a lot of the Southern kings as well.
As Paul states For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Rom 1:18
Yes, they know the truth but they don’t let it affect their ungodly and unrighteous behaviour. Every day, they know and perceive that there is a God. In their nature they know there is a God, so that they are without excuse. Their lives becomes so dark, evil and sinful that they neither thank God or honour him. But they are like the men of Sodom inflicting blindness on themselves by committing worse evils without shame - going from idolatry to the most abominable sins of the sodomite and lesbian and every vice imaginable. Furthermore, they enjoy watching others do the same without rebuking them.
Ch. 2 – The hidden ‘good’ sinners
Hypocrisy & self-righteousness
All have judged - especially the Jew
Now the basic reader says to himself “Phew! I’m glad I’m not as bad as those dreadful sinners in chapter one.” And this of course is man’s pitiful condition. As the scriptures repeatedly say Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. Prov 21:2
In this chapter, God tightens the noose and extends his rebuke to include the ‘good’ people and the ‘secret’ and less obvious sinners, especially the self-righteous. All those that judge others, those who are hypocrites and those who would lead an ‘open’ and ‘honest’ life by natural inclinations – these are the enemies of God’s law.
So in Chapter one, God addresses the obvious and openly ‘bad’ sinners and in Chapter two, God drives his sword into the ‘good’ sinners.
The latter are those that are ready to pass judgment on other people as is the manner of all hypocrites. In looking to present themselves in good light so as to esteem themselves pure, their hearts are full of greed, hatred, pride and all vileness.
As Christ rebukes Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Matt 23:25
All men are mentioned as ….There is none righteous, no, not one: Rom 3:10.
Indeed, the Jew is singled out for particular mention along with the Gentile.
These seemingly ‘good’ people are the very ones that despise the goodness and righteousness of God and therefore heap up wrath for themselves because of their hard hearts toward God.
God lets no-one escape. No-one is able to pass as a sinless person.
God has wrath toward those who would attempt to lead a ‘good’ life by their ‘natural’ goodness, kind–heartedness, human endeavour and love of mankind.
God does not let anyone escape his scorn and derision and future wrath and he sees them as nothing more than hard hearted and unrepentant sinners.
He ends up by saying that a true Jew is one that has been spiritually circumcised of the heart and not just the flesh (v28-29).
Ch. 3 – All have sinned
Jews & Gentiles are all sinners
The law exposes sin
The law of faith is the answer
So Paul sweeps both the ‘bad’ and ‘good’ sinners into one big heap saying that no-one is better than anyone else. All are sinners in the sight of God. Paul shows that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin with the difference that the Jew have been given the oracles of God. But God’s laws weren’t given to save the Jew but to condemn him such that he might know sin. Indeed the whole world is guilty before God (v19) for by the law is the knowledge of sin (v20).
Paul then reveals the righteousness of God who is Jesus Christ manifest in the flesh (v22).
Furthermore, no one can be justified before God by trying to keep his laws. As Paul states, there is only one way to access God’s grace and that is by Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Rom 3:24.
Paul then states that the only sacrifice that God will accept (called a propitiation) is the blood of Christ (25). God will justify those who believe in Jesus (v26).
Paul then introduces a law, other than Moses’ laws, and he calls it the law of faith (v27).
In summary then, God uses the first three chapters of Romans to establish the universal nature of man’s sin. But God’s laws have exposed sin. Why? It’s obvious that if there were no laws, there would be no sin. As a result, if the law exposes sin, it stands to reason that laws can’t make sin ‘go away’. God’s remedy is the law of faith.
Ch 4, 5 = Justification
Ch. 4 – Abraham’s faith
Justified without works
So in chapter four, Paul presents the unique and ‘two-sided’ Abraham who straddles the fence by having a foot in both camps of the Jew and the Gentile.
The Jews have Abraham as their physical ancestor but they do not, and will not, have/copy his faith.
The Gentiles do not have Abraham as their ancestor but can have his faith.
The Jew was angry and incensed that the Gentile could have access to the grace of God the Father even though they weren’t Jews.
Paul aggravates the Jew further by having the Gentile call Abraham our father (v 1)
This was unforgiveable to the Jewish race, who of all men, vigorously pursued their share of righteousness by the privileges they enjoyed as God’s people, and they added them to the works they performed.
Back in chapter two, Paul tells them that a true Jew has been circumcised in the heart not just circumcised in the flesh. 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. Rom 2:28-29
So Paul makes it absolutely clear, that the Jew cannot be justified before God just because they are the physical heirs of Abraham and try to have a righteousness resulting from their works. If they wish to be genuine heirs of faith, they must copy Abraham’s faith who was justified before God without works. As Paul says But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom 4:5. This is called imputed righteousness.
Now Abraham received this righteousness before he was circumcised as a Jew. How could this happen? God gave him a promise that couldn’t be believed in the natural. God promised Abraham who was one hundred years old, and beyond the fertile stage necessary to have children, and his wife Sarah was dead in the womb, that he would be the father of many nations and countless children. Wow! Who’d believe that? Well, Abraham did and therefore God rewarded him by giving him a righteousness (imputed) that couldn’t be gained by works. As Paul says Abraham’s faith was counted to him for righteousness (v5). Though it seemed impossible in the natural, God eventually made it come true.
Paul ends up with the parallel of our situation in that, without works, a man can get to heaven by believing that Christ’s blood can wash away all sin (v24-25) by believing on him (v24). Just as Abraham was dead in the body but God let him give birth, we, spiritually speaking are dead in trespasses and sins, but we become born again.
An aside: God sees sin and demands a blood sacrifice. Under the Old Testament this was imperfect animal blood which was only a temporary payment and had to be repeatedly performed. Only God’s blood could permanently satisfy God and what God’s law demanded. God dying on the cross, was the highest honour that he could pay his law. The fact that a universe of people can get saved and go to heaven is secondary.
Ch. 5 – Adam vs Christ
Christ died for the ungodly
We are justified by his blood
Having established that …being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Rom 5:1, Paul points out that we now have access to the grace of God.
Paul then superbly compares Adam with Christ. Like a computer virus that can spread to all the computers in the whole world, Adam’s sin has been passed on down to us over six thousand years. This is Adam’s legacy to the world.
The ‘virus’ of sin is already in us the moment we are conceived in the womb. Indeed, we sin because we are born sinners. As Paul states … as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Rom 5:12.
But he gives the solution: For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Rom 5:19.
Indeed, 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Rom 5:8-9
When we are physically born, we are condemned from the start. We are born sinners. Therefore we must become spiritually born again to be declared righteous.
Ch 6, 7, 8 = Subduing the flesh
Ch. 6 – Daily struggle with sin
We are to be servants of righteousness
So Paul raises the question that some might ask. “Well, if we can have God’s grace for sinning, why not have more of God’s grace by committing more sin?” His answer? Of course not!
As Christians, we have been …baptised into his death (vs 3) by the Holy Ghost and are … buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom 6:4.
Paul goes on to say that Christ … died unto sin once: but in that he (the Christian) liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:10-11)
In this chapter, Paul outlines what our daily behaviour should be. We were servants of sin but now we are to be servants of righteousness. There is the struggle between the two natures that Christians have – the inner man is spiritual, but being born again, is also trapped in a body of flesh and sin. This teaches us that while being utterly freed from the power of sin, we cannot be lazy, idle and secure in this knowledge.
We now have genuine freedom from sin. We have a choice. This choice and liberty we now have, does not abolish the law, but supplies us with the things that the law demands – willingness and love to fulfil the law as Paul outlines it (1Cor 11:1). The liberty that a Christian has is not a flesh liberty to indulge the flesh. As all Christians find, when we have true liberty, we must practice true discipline on ourselves.
Ch. 7 – Dead to the law
The law is holy
Our natures of flesh are evil
In this chapter, Paul uses the example of a woman who becomes free from her marriage as a result of her husband dying. When a husband dies his wife becomes free to marry another. So here is man’s problem. In an unsaved state, our old man/nature gets very angry with what the law demands because it can’t fulfil it. Now, it’s not that the law is evil, far from it, as it is holy just and good (vs 12). The problem is that man’s nature is evil. Like a fisherman that throws out bait into the water to attract the fish, God ‘throws’ out his laws to attract the sin. No bait – no fish, no law – no sin.
How could Christ fulfil the demands of the law that produces nothing but sin in man’s flesh?
Here is an explanation: There was a movie not so long ago called “Ghostbusters” where three men had a machine that could attract, trap and destroy all the evil ghosts. Similarly, Christ is ‘the machine’ whereby in the flesh he could fulfil/‘defeat’ the law by not sinning.
So he does this on our behalf. Like a gladiator in a ring fighting for the release of condemned prisoners (should he lose they die). He kills the opposing foe. They shout “We have won! We’ve won!” just as if they had delivered the death blows themselves.
Those who don’t understand the correct use of the law, completely misunderstand what it is designed for. They strut around in their conceit and imagine that they are satisfying the law by their works. But the opposite is true as they are still alive to the demands of the law by attempting to satisfy them. The purpose of the law is hidden from them.
Paul then goes on to outline the struggle we have as Christians and how our flesh daily fights with the Holy Ghost within us. Both make demands that are opposite with each other. This fight lasts as long as a person lives. In fact, the ‘closer’ that we would become to our heavenly father, the more violently our flesh rebels and tries to grow stronger. Paul sums up this dilemma with 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:24-25
Ch. 8 – No condemnation
Comfort if walking after the Spirit
As Luther points out in his Commentary on Romans, in this chapter, Paul comforts those strugglers fighting against their flesh and sin. He adds the proviso that they walk after the Spirit and not the flesh. This Christian walk with God’s indwelling Holy Ghost, makes us spiritual and subdues the flesh. We are assured that no matter how violently sin rages in us, we are still the children of God (v16). Of course if you continue to live after the flesh you shall die – literally (1Cor 11:30) but still go home to heaven. Paul then reminds us that while we suffer on earth (v 18), we look forward to being delivered from our bondage of corruption (v21). Our ‘crosses’, sufferings, infirmities of the flesh, necessities, persecutions and distresses (2Cor 12:10) help to sever all ties down here on earth and help us look toward the glorious liberty of the children of God (v21) by having the power of Christ rest upon us (2Cor 12:10). Paul ends with the glorious promise that all things work together for good to them that love God (v28). Of course this seems as impossible just like Abraham when confronted with his barren condition and the promise of future children and nations. But we are left with the rolled gold guarantee that nothing can separate us from the love of God (v 38-39).
Ch 9,10,11 = Israel
Ch. 9 – Israel
Paul’s heaviness and sorrow for Israel
Paul calls the Israelites his kinsmen in the flesh (v3) as Paul was also born a Jew and called a Hebrew (1Cor 11:22). He states that not all born of Abraham are children of God, but those of the promise are counted for the seed (v8) ie those born of Isaac (v7). But the Arab would say they were born of Abraham also. This is correct. However, because Ishmael was the result of Abraham’s disobedience,
they are not children of the promise. The children of the promise are those in Jacob (v13). You see, although born of Isaac, Esau is not of the seed because God says Esau have I hated (v13) and Jacob have I loved. Why? Esau rejected God’s covenant. Furthermore, a study of the scriptures show that Esau took Ishmael’s daughters, Bashemath and Mahamath as wives (Gen 26:34; 28:9; 36:3). Esau and Ishmael fathered the Arabs and not the Jews.
Paul then continues saying that God will also call a people who were not his people, meaning the Gentiles (v25). The reason given is that Israel has been disobedient to God and sought after righteousness by the works of the law (v32). God therefore will put a stumbling-stone (this is Jesus Christ) in the way of the Jew. God is wanting to make the Jew jealous because the Gentile may now believe and receive the righteousness of God, Jesus Christ, by faith.
Ch. 10 – Israel
Paul’s desire they might be saved
You can hear Paul’s heart breaking as he tells of the zeal of the Jews in attempting to get a righteousness by their own works/means. They are rejecting Jesus Christ and his righteousness, who has fulfilled the law perfectly on their behalf. Paul’s heart’s desire is that they might be saved by doing it God’s way. He goes on to say there is no difference between Jews, Greeks and Gentiles (v12) and that anyone can call on the name of the Lord and be saved by believing (v13).
He then establishes and promotes the office of the preacher saying that by preaching, faith can come by hearing the word of God (v17). Indeed, God’s mission is to make Israel jealous and this is even stated by Moses (v19). But Paul ends up by saying that this seems to be a fruitless task (21).
Ch. 11 – Israel
God has not cast them away
In this chapter, Paul states that Israel has been broken off so that the Gentile can be graffed in (a graff is a grave. Christians are put into the death of Christ). This is not a loss of salvation for Israel but simply a temporary halt to accessing God’s goodness. This is misunderstood by some. Israel’s roots are not destroyed, but they are just broken off as branches. They are to have a temporary pause (about 2000 years) of access to God, They will be graffed in again during the last half of the seven year tribulation. Why? Paul goes on to say that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (v29). God has not let them go. He has originally called them as his people and he will honour them again as his own (v26). Paul concludes by extolling the virtues of God as his ways are past finding out (v33).
Ch 12,13,14,15 = Service & worship
Ch. 12 - Living sacrifices
This 12th chapter teaches us the nature of the true worship of God. We are called to offer up sacrifices to the Lord, but not about money or houses as prescribed under the law. No, these sacrifices are to be our own bodies in everyday living, as we are to be living sacrifices and slay our own lusts in our service toward others. This is true worship and is a daily thing. Many Christians miss this point believing that worship only belongs in church on a Sunday.
Paul describes the outward conduct required of Christians in how we are to teach, preach, rule, serve, give, suffer, love, live and act towards our friends, enemies and everybody else. These are the works that God requires and are faith in action. This is true worship to God.
Ch. 13 – Higher powers
Our duty towards government
Paul states that the civil government is there for our good. They are God’s ministers (v6). We are to obey them as far as is possible in the Lord. We do not steal from them at tax time for example. They are there for our protection as the wicked are not free to do evil as they wish. This is why the civil government must be honoured for what it can provide in maintaining law and order. Paul restates the last five of the Ten Commandments of adultery, steal, kill, witness and covet under loving thy neighbour as thyself (v9).
Ch. 14 – Weak in faith
Our duty towards weaker brethren
Paul teaches us to bear those weak in the faith very tenderly and not to injure them. Accordingly it may be sometimes better to yield somewhat to those who are weaker in the faith such that the effects of the gospel is maintained and not perish. As babies in the faith, they have tender consciences and can be confused until they know the truth about things regarding food (v2) days (v5) and drink (17).
Ch. 15 – Christian love
We are not to please ourselves
In this chapter Paul outlines that we are not
to please ourselves when it comes to other Christians. He refers to the frailty
of their manifest sins, their unpleasant manners, habits and imperfections.
Indeed, we are reminded that Christ has longsuffering to us every day. This is
summed up in verses four and five.
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: Rom 15:4-5
Paul puts forward his qualifications as the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (v16) but not on another man’s territory/foundation (v20). He reveals his wish to come to Rome via Spain (24) and of his current endeavour to take some money to the poor saints in Jerusalem. He finishes by praying that he will be delivered from unbelievers (v31).
Ch 16 = Salutations and warning
Ch. 16 – Salutations
Warning – all those whose idol is their belly including the future Roman
In the first sixteen verses of this chapter he mentions and salutes the saints in Rome. He finishes with the warning of those that would have doctrine contrary to Paul. He says their god is their belly and are smooth talkers that can deceive the simple minded saint (v18). For it is out of Rome, for two thousand years, and through the Roman Catholic system, that they have overwhelmed the world. They are truly called the whore of Babylon (Rev 17:1, 15, 16; 19:2). Paul denounces them, warns us of them and that God would save us from them. Indeed, the flesh wars against the Spirit (Gal 5:17) and as the days get darker and the word of God disappears, the world is indeed becoming more fleshy.
Why their belly? Paul also knew that in the future, Rome’s priests would say their wafer is the actual body of Jesus. You must eat their ‘magic cookie’ and have ‘jesus’ in your belly to be accepted by God. Absolute blasphemy!
By Harley Hitchcock.
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