Foundations of the Christian faith
Paul clearly sets forth the foundations of the Christian faith. All people are sinful; Christ died to forgive sin. We are made right with God through faith; this begins a new life with with a new relationship with God. Like a sports team that constantly reviews the basics, we will be greatly helped in our faith by keeping close to these foundations. If we study Romans carefully, we will never be at a loss to know what to believe.
After a brief introduction, Paul presents the facts of the gospel(1-3) and declares his allegiance to it (1:26,17). He continues by building an airtight case for the lostness of mankind and the necessity for God’s interventions (1:28-3:20). Then Paul presents the Good News—salvation is available to all, regardless of a person’s identity, sin or heritage. We are saved by grace(unearned, undeserved favor from God) through faith(complete trust) in Christ and his finished work. Through him we can stand before God justified, “not guilty”(3:21-5:21).
1:1. Paul humbly calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ and an apostle(“one who is sent”). For a Roman citizen— which Paul was servant —to choose to be a servant wAs unthinkable. But Paul chose to be completely dependent on and obedient to his beloved Master. What is your attitude toward Christ, your Master? Our willingness to serve and obey Jesus Christ enables us to be useful and usable servants to do work for him—work that really matters.
1:3-5. Here Paul summarises the Good News Of Jesus Christ who
(1) came as a human by natural descent.
(2) was part of the Jewish royal line through David.
(3) died and was raised from the dead and
(4) opened the door for God’s grace and kindness to be poured out on us. The book of Romans is an expansion of these themes.
1:6-7 – Paul says that those who become Christians are invited by Jesus Christ to
(1) become part of God’s family and
(2) be holy people (“to be saints”, set apart, dedicated for his service). What a wonderful expression of what it meAns to be a Christian! In being reborn into God’s family we have the greatest experience of love and the greatest inheritance. Because of all that God has done for us, we strive to be his holy people.
1:9-10 – when you pray continually about a concern, don’t be surprised at how God answers. Paul prayed to visit Rome so he could teach the Christians there. When he finally arrived in Rome, it was as a prisoner. Paul prayed for a safe trip, and he did arrive safely —after getting arrested, slapped in the face, ship-wrecked, and bitten by a poisonous snake. God’s ways of answering our prayers are often far from what we expect. When you sincerely pray. God will answer—although sometimes with timing and in ways you do not expect.
2:21-27. These verses are a scathing criticism of hypocrisy. It is much easier to tell others how to behave than to behave properly ourselves. It is easier to say the right words than to allow them to take root in our lives. Do you ever advise others to do something you are unwilling to do yourself? Make sure that your actions match your words.
3:1. What a depressing picture Paul is painting! All of us – pagan Gentiles, humanitarians, and religious people—are condemned by our own actions. The law, which God have to show the way to live, holds up our evil deeds to public view. Is there any hope for us? Yes says Paul. The law condemns it, it is true , but, the law is not the basis of our hope. God himself is. He, in his righteousness and wonderful love, offers us eternal life. We receive our salvation not through law but through faith in Jesus Christ. We do
Not — cannot —earn it.
We accept it as a gift from our loving Heavenly Father.
3:5-8. Some may think they don’t’ have to worry about sin because
(1) it’s God’s job to forgive.
(2) God is so loving that he won’t judge us; (3) sin isn’t so bad- it teaches us valuable lessons or
(4) We need to stay in touch with the culture around us. It is far too easy to take God’s grace for granted. But God cannot overlook sin. Sinners no matter how many excuses they make, will have to answer to God for you their sin.
3:28. Why does God save us by faith alone? (1) Faith eliminates the pride of human effort, because faith is not a deed that we do;
(2) Faith exalts what God has done, not what people do.
(3) Faith admits that we can’t keep the law or measure up to God’s standards — we need help.
(4) Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God!