Introduction: Paul’s greatest work, is placed first among his thirteen epistles in the New Testament.
The good new’s of Jesus Christ is more than facts to be believed; it is also a life to be lived – a life of righteousness befitting the person “justified” freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (3:24). According to this epistle, Gentiles were predominant in the church at Rome.
Paul wrote Romans in A.D. 57, near the end of his third missionary journey. It was evidently written during his three-month stay in Greece, more specifically in Corinth.
Now contrary to what the Roman Catholic Church has maintained that this church was founded by Peter, in this entire epistle, there is no mention of Peter at all! Isn’t it incredible that if Peter had been there at Rome, and had founded the church there, and was invested as authority over it, that Paul would have mentioned Peter’s name? Peter was still in Jerusalem in the 9th or 10th year of the reign of Claudius (Acts 15:6). Nor is there any mention of him ever being in Rome, or with Paul. However, he could have come to Rome after Paul, but the church was already established.
The Book of Romans is not an easy book to understand: One reason being because we are unwilling to admit the plain doctrine which it teaches. The heart is by nature opposed to it, and only comes to belief with great reluctance. Our feelings and opinions do not change what is written. Society and how the world lives and what they accept, does not change God’s word.
The best way to understand this book is to read it with a humble, repentant heart, knowing that it was inspired by God’s Holy Spirit, and it is TRUTH!
Verse 1 – Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God
Verse 2 – which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
Verse 3 – concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,
Verse 4 – and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead,
Paul is writing to Jews and Gentiles. Keep in mind, they did not have the four Gospel’s in print, but did have the first five books of Moses. Paul states that Jesus Christ is the direct descendant of King David and therefore fulfills the prediction that the Messiah would come from David’s line.
Verse 5 – through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,
Verse 6 – among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;
Christians belong to Jesus by calling. This calling is not an empty invitation. It is a sovereign summons that results in salvation as people respond in faith to God’s calling. Paul reminds the Roman believer that God took the initiative in saving them.
Verse 7 – To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Verse 8 – First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ, for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Verse 9 – For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers,
Verse 10 – making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
God did make a way, as we saw in the last chapter in Acts, even though Paul was a prisoner. To do God’s will doesn’t mean it will always be a comfort. We simply have to be obedient, as Paul was.
Verse 11 – For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established –
Verse 12 – that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Our mutual faith gives us a common language and a common purpose for encouraging other Christians.
Verse 13 – Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles.
Verse 14 – I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.
Verse 15 – So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
Verse 16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
Even after Paul had been despised, persecuted, and driven from place to place, he wasn’t ashamed or afraid to preach the good News of Jesus Christ. Don’t ever be ashamed to be associated with Christ, even though it might mean persecution.
Verse 17 – For in it the righteousness of God is revealed form faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
The phrase “righteousness of God” is equivalent to God’s plan of justifying people through His Son Jesus, acquitting them from punishment of sin. Man cannot be justified by his own works, it is by faith man is justified.
Reason for Gentile Guilt
Verse 18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
All those who are unrighteous, lost, unsaved, suppresses the truth by telling themselves, God’s truth about sin is not any concern of theirs. They ignore their sin. There is one standard God expects from everyone, and that standard comes from Him. A person’s sin is only covered by Christ’s blood.
Verse 19 – because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.
God as Creator has disclosed Himself in creation. The heavens declare His glory and proclaims the works of hands. This verse shows that so much might be known of God as to prove that man has no excuse for not believing in His existence and His justice, or His determination to punish sin.
Verse 20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
Mankind’s problem is not that he doesn’t know the truth. It is simply to oppose God’s will. The very universe contains an exhibition of God’s power and wisdom – omnipotence.
There are Bibles, preachers, and teachers of the gospel all over the world, but even if one person alive today didn’t have access to any of these, they can look at creation and know there is an all-powerful Creator.
Verse 21 – because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
People have the means to know God and to acknowledge Him for His goodness and be thankful. They also have the ability to know what is right. But do they glorify Him, honor Him, reverence Him? Sinners are not willing to give honor to God as God. They feel that they don’t need a perfect God, so they become absorbed with “self.” They give indulgence to their own sinful desires. Unwillingness to thank God for His mercies is one of the causes of a hard heart.
Verse 22 – Professing to be wise, they became fools,
Sinners are often referred to as fools in Scriptures. Applied to them as void of understanding, or as idolaters, and as wicked – corrupt conduct.
Verse 23 – and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.
Paul warns that loss of knowledge of the true God resulted in the worship of images resembling mortal man. Even today we see dictators worshiped as a god, and the Bible says this sin will be repeated climatically in the end times.
Verse 24 – Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
Verse 25 – who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever Amen.
These people chose to reject God, and God allowed them to do it. We all have a free will to choose whether or not to follow God or the lusts of our own hearts. Scripture says, “God gave them up;” He abandoned them to do as they pleased. That’s a sad state to be in.
Verse 26 – For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. for even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
Verse 27 – Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the women burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
Homosexuality is to change or abandon natural relations of sex, and was as widespread in Paul’s day as it is in ours today. Homosexuality is strictly forbidden in Scripture (Leviticus 18:22). Society does not set the standard for God or His people! People have convinced themselves that they were born with these desires, not so. Desires are developed and one who gives in to these desires will reap corruption.
I make no apology for what God’s word says or what is written. People have deceived themselves into believing God accepts any life-style and that is simply not true.
Verse 28 – And even as they did not like to retain God in knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do things which are not fitting;
As you read these verses, do you see how many times Paul writes that “God gave them up?” The result of rejecting God is for God to give them up to a reprobate mind. A reprobate mind is a mind destitute of judgment, the consequences of their headstrong passions, their determination to forget God. So He leaves them to a state of mind which is evil, and which He could not approve.
Verse 29 – being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil mindedness, they are whisperers,
Verse 30 – backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Verse 31 – undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
If you ever wonder what we need to repent of, here’s the list. God doesn’t take sin lightly. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian “does not have these characteristics.” No, we are not perfect but if you have been truly born-again, you know to do any of these things it is sin. Call it what it is. It is not a little mistake!
Verse 32 – who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
If there is any confusion, re-read these verses. They are all offences worthy of death. And not only that, but those who approve of them that do these things.
I’m only going to mention a few, which are the most prominent in our society today, where people will set up marches in the streets to promote. The first one that comes to mind is “Abortion!” This falls under “Murder!” Women take to the streets and shout that it is a woman’s right to kill her unborn child. Whether they have actually done it or not, if they stand in agreement with those who have and have not repented, Scripture says you are guilty.
The next one that comes to mind is the parades of homosexuals. Those who pass legislative for a man to marry a man or a woman to marry a woman will not be held guiltless! We either believe the Bible entirely or we don’t. We do not pick and choose which parts we agree with!