Part 1 – What’s the Big Deal About Romans?
Philosophers have determine that there are some ‘questions’ about existence and our universe that are unanswerable. I believe that even those difficult questions ARE answerable in Christ and through His Word. But there are two other questions that every human subconsciously asks themselves continuously, and those two questions – since man cannot adequately or perfectly answer these questions – motivate all human behavior and are the source of the all conflict, anxiety, frustration, and discontentment that humans face. Those two questions are:
1. How can I find true and lasting peace and contentment in this life?
2. How can I be made right with God?
Even though the vast majority of the world does not believe or subscribe to a saving trust in God Almighty, it is still the driving force of all activity. They want to be made right with God – even though they don’t believe in Him – so they invent other ways and gods to help alleviate their cosmic loneliness and pain – to no avail. Only a relationship with the Lord God Almighty through Christ can bring peace, contentment, and a loving and intimate relationship with the Lord God, and that is what Romans is all about: God is righteous; we are not; God makes sinners righteous by His grace through the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ.
The Book of Romans has been used by the Holy Spirit to transform millions of lives including: Augustine, Luther, and Wesley. The Book of Romans was written by the apostle Paul from Corinth around AD 56-58. No apostle had started the church, but it was probably begun after Jewish visitors to Jerusalem from Rome where converted to Christ on the day of Pentecost. Peter didn’t start the church, because Paul said he wouldn’t build on another’s foundation. In other words, if Peter started the church at Rome, Paul wouldn’t need to write this doctrinal Letter to them.
The Church comprised Jew and Gentile converts. The Jews were kicked out of Rome in AD 47 by Claudius, so it was left as a congregation of Gentile believers. But by the time Paul wrote to the Church at Rome the Jews were allowed back, which explains the different chapters in Romans that speak to the Jews and then others to the Gentiles and others to both of them.
Romans is about what God has done for us through Christ, and not about what we can do for God. It’s all about God’s saving, electing, and transforming grace that has come to us freely from the Father, and not about how good I am, how good I can be, how hard I work, or whether I can keep up to some perfect standard. Christ met God’s perfect standard of holiness and that perfection/righteousness has been applied to our lives by the Lord’s grace and His grace alone.