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Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 1-3 videos-
For the next 3-4 weeks I plan on covering the letter to the Romans- written by the Apostle Paul- Below are excerpts from a commentary I wrote years ago- try and read the book of Romans the next week or so.
Actually reading thru the bible- in context- is one of the best habits you can develop.
Rome was the city of influence at the time of Paul- located just east of the bend of the Tiber river- about 18 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.
The letter to the Romans- would be read orally to both Christians and Jews in the city- in the days of the writing of these letters [which now make up our bible] they were living in an ‘oral’ culture- and the letters were intended to be read aloud to those in the early Christian communities [remember- you didn’t have books back then- like we have today- and the mass production of writing/publishing did not yet exist].
So- Paul was a strategic thinker- and he penned this letter hoping it would be a ‘shot in the dark’- that is the darkness of sinful man-
The letter to the Romans is the closest thing to a systematic theology found in the New Testament.
Its impact in church history is great- John Chrysostom- the great 5ht century preacher- had it read aloud to him- once a week.
Saint Augustine attributes it to his radical conversion- the story goes he heard some kids singing ‘take up and read’.
He picked up a copy of the letter to the Romans- and history was changed.
Luther- the great 16th century reformer- was teaching this letter- as a Catholic priest/scholar- out of Germany- when he read ‘The just shall live by faith- therein is the righteousness of God revealed’-
It lead to what we call today ‘The Protestant Reformation’.
A few hundred years later- the Great Methodist founder- John Wesley- would say his heart was ‘strangely warmed’ while hearing a message at Aldersgate- and it lead to his conversion- sure enough- the message was from the letter to the church at Rome.
So- when the great Apostle sat down and penned this ‘arrow’- hoping it to go forth and have great impact for the Kingdom of God- his hopes were indeed realized.
·ROMANS 1: 1-16 many believe this letter to be Paul’s best, I wouldn’t disagree. The letters of the New Testament do not appear in chronological order, some feel this to be a huge obstacle in understanding scripture. I think it helps to know the times when Paul wrote the letters, but this in itself doesn’t prevent us from learning scripture. Romans is addressed to the church at Rome and is significant in that Paul did not ‘plant this church’. Unlike the other letters of Paul, he is writing to the believers with whom he had no strong prior relationship. He roots his gospel in the historical facts of history and scripture. ‘The gospel of God that the prophets foretold- Jesus of the seed of David who was proved to be the Son of God by the resurrection’. Make no bones about it, Paul is coming down strong on the gospel of Jesus Christ and he positions himself well right at the start. There were ‘other gospels’ [Galatians] that were circulating and at times might have even outnumbered Paul’s message! The Jewish sect from Jerusalem who embraced both Jesus and the law were very influential in Paul’s day. When Paul combats a legalistic gospel, at times he is running ‘neck and neck’ with the Judaizers. Paul will make a foundational statement that will run true thru out the rest of the New Testament. ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it is the power of God unto Salvation to everyone who believes. For in it is the righteousness of God revealed’. Now, I have hit on this theme before, but it is so fundamental to the rest of this study that we need to spend some time with it. I always wondered why so many Evangelicals, and scholars, could not ‘rightly divide’ this biblical doctrine. I am speaking of ‘Righteousness by faith’ as being the root of all other ‘Salvation’. What I mean is many have confused the doctrine of ‘the salvation of the righteous’ with the salvation of the sinner. The reason why the gospel is one of salvation, is because this is the tool that God has ordained to administer ‘righteousness- justification’ to the believer. When God ‘saves- delivers’ a sinner from an ‘unjust state of being’ this act can be called ‘being saved’ [Ephesians 2]. Also thru out the scriptures you have people who are ‘just- righteous’ who experience ‘continual salvation’ because of the fact that they are righteous. This doctrine can be called ‘the salvation of the righteous’. David in Psalms says ‘the righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles’ ‘The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord’. Peter speaks of God delivering the ‘just- righteous’ from wrath. Both Lot and Noah are said to have been ‘saved’ because they were righteous. The whole point here is as we progress thru Romans Paul will use the term ‘salvation’ and ‘righteousness’. Whenever [chapter 10] you have a combining of the righteous [believers] calling, crying out to God for ‘salvation’ it needs to be understood that this does not mean ‘salvation’ in the sense of the initial act of justification. While the two are closely related, the testimony from scripture does make a distinction. So Paul shows us that the reason the gospel is Gods power ‘unto salvation’ is because this is the way God chose to ‘make people just’. Paul will spend a few chapters [3 and 4] laying the foundation of righteousness by faith. But first he will argue his case for why all men need to have this righteousness. [ see entry # 704 for more comments on ‘the salvation of the righteous’]
·ROMANS 1:17-21 ‘for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness’. Now, we have already established the ‘mode’ by which the gospel ‘saves’ us. Once we believe in the gospel, it immediately, and progressively ‘saves’ us. The immediate act of justification can be described as ‘getting saved’. But there is also a large amount of scripture that speaks of ‘continual and future salvation’. Now Paul begins showing us how this salvation works. He says ‘the wrath of God is revealed against unrighteousness’ the previous verses showed how the believer is made righteous. So we are ‘delivered from the wrath to come’ [Thessalonians] ‘saved by wrath thru his life’ [Romans 5:9] ‘he will appear from heaven the second time to bring salvation to those who look for him’ [Hebrews] and many other verses testify of this theme. Paul is showing us one aspect of this ‘ongoing, future’ salvation by saying ‘see, since Gods wrath is promised to come upon the unrighteous, once you believe with the heart unto righteousness, you then become someone who is off the radar screen from wrath’ [John 3- the wrath of God abides on the unbeliever, but the believer is in a state of ‘no condemnation’]. This understanding will be important as we get to the later chapters in Romans. Now I also want to share a somewhat ‘unique’ interpretation of the following verses ‘that which may be known of God is manifest IN THEM [some say ‘to them]; for God hath showed it unto them [not necessarily meaning ‘showed it to them from created things’!] For the invisible things of him [his attributes! Invisible stuff] from the creation of the world [since the beginning of time, that is since God created all things he has imbedded a witness of himself into all creation; ‘all creation groans and travails’ Paul will attribute ‘human like’ characteristics to all creation. In essence all creation has this testimony and yearning for God in it] are clearly seen [not with the natural eye, but thru this ‘imbedded testimony of Gods attributes that he has placed in all creation’] being understood by the things that are made [not understood by ‘looking at the things that are made’; creation. But actually being understood ‘by them’] so that they are without excuse’. The normal way of seeing these verses says ‘God has left a witness of himself thru his creation. All people are without excuse because they can see his creation and know he is’. Now, is this concept true? Of course! David says ‘the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament SHOWETH his handiwork’. The only problem is ‘all men can’t see!’ I don’t mean to be trivial here; I want to show you that if you read this passage like I just taught it, that it basically is saying ‘since the beginning of Gods creation he has left man without excuse. He has always revealed his inner attributes to man. The witness of moral law and conscience is imbedded in the creation. All men ‘hold’ [possess] the ‘truth’ [this inner moral witness] in unrighteousness, therefore they are without excuse’. I don’t want to be a contrarian simply for the sake of being one. But if you see what I just told you, this fits in with Paul’s understanding of salvation. God’s wrath is revealed against all unrighteousness, yet those who say ‘that’s not fair, God made us this way!’ have no excuse, because God gave all men [and creation] an inner witness that they could have acted on- ‘when they knew God, they glorified him not as God but became vain in their imaginations’. All men have at one time ‘known God’ even those who have never seen Gods testimony from creation! Therefore they are without excuse. [Some sites see here https://corpuschristioutreachministries.blogspot.com/2022/11/romans-1-3-text.html?m=0 ]