God’s momentous news
Adult and Student / 2015 Week 1
Four Bible Readings giving an overview of Romans.
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A perfect diagnosis
Paul begins Romans in a good news, bad news way, however he begins with the realistically bad news. He explains how the wrath of God is being revealed and how all classes of all people do not have the righteousness which God requires. From the pagan (1:18-32) to the moralist (2:1-11) to the unreached (2:12-16) to the Jew (2:17-29), “no one is righteous, not even one” (3:9-20).
A unique prescription
The momentously good news follows. Righteousness is not only God’s requirement but is God’s provision and it comes by grace through faith in Jesus who is the redeemer and God’s propitiatory sacrifice (3:21-26). This gospel is not something new with Paul but is the experience of Abraham (4:1-3) and David (4:6-8). This righteousness does not come to Abraham because of his circumcision (4:9-12) or because of his law keeping (4:13-15) it comes by faith and Abraham is the model of such faith (4:16-25).
The way to maturity
There are many suggested ways to achieve Christian maturity, but this magnificent chapter, beginning with, “there is no condemnation” and ending with “nothing can separate us”, shows us that the mature person understands three things. First, what Jesus has done to our past (8:1-4), second, how the Holy Spirit ministers to us now, in the present (8:5-27), third, how God the Father can be trusted with all things for the future (8:28-39). God’s one agenda item for your life, is that you should grow to be mature, to be Christ like.
The renewed mind
Romans 1:28-32 describes the depraved mind of the pagan, unable to make proper moral judgements. Now, Paul describes the renewed mind of the believer. This mind leads us to recognise the logical response to God’s mercies in our life by seeing ourselves as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2 ). Paul then shows how this mind leads us to understand ourselves (12:3-8); how we are to understand and relate to fellow believers (12:9-13); how the renewed mind leads us to relate to those outside the body of Christ, who may be antagonistic towards us (12:14-21).