Introduction to Romans

(Greek words can be viewed using the Symbol font)

Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

January 6, 2002



 

Introduction to Romans

 

Romans 1:1-7

This morning we begin our journey into the Epistle (or letter) of Paul to the Romans. This is one of
the most significant books in the Bible for it contains the most comprehensive and clear explanations of
the gospel of Jesus Christ in all of the Bible. God has used the study of this book as the means of
launching most of the reformations and revivals in the church since the close of the apostolic era. Martin
Luther said that Romans is "the chief part of the New Testament." John Calvin said of Romans, "When
any one gains a knowledge of this Epistle, he has an entrance opened to him to all the most hidden
treasures of Scripture."
It contains a message so simple that a child can understand it, and yet so
compelling and deep that great minds have studied it for years seeking to understand all of its treasures.
Donald Grey Barnhouse preached weekly from Romans for 11 years. William Tyndale said of Romans,
"No man verily can read it too oft, or study it too well; for the more it is studied, the easier it is; the
more it is chewed, the pleasanter it is; and the more groundly it is searched, the preciouser things are
found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein."

Let us begin our own mining of the treasures of this book by turning to Romans 1 and examining
Paul’s introduction in the first 7 verses in which he explains who he is and his purpose in writing.

Romans 1:1 (NASB) Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called [as] an apostle, set apart for the
gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3
concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared
the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus
Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about [the]
obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are the called of
Jesus Christ; 7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called [as] saints: Grace to you and peace from
God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Author (vs. 1)

Brief history of Paul: The author identifies himself as "Paul," who is distinguished from all other
"Pauls" as being the one who is a bond-servant of Christ Jesus and a called apostle who is set apart for
the gospel of God. Paul first appears in the pages of Scripture under his Hebrew name, Saul, in Acts
7:58 at the stoning of Stephen. Saul was a young Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin (Phil. 3:5) who had
been trained under the great Rabbi, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He was very zealous for the Law of God
according to the tradition of the Pharisees(Phil. 3:5,6), and so heartily approved of the murder of Stephen
(Acts 8:1) and became a great persecutor of the church. In Acts 9 Saul is on his way to persecute the
followers of Jesus in Damascus and bring the bound back to Jerusalem. Saul’s conversion is recorded in
Acts 9:3-19.

Most of you are familiar with the story. As Saul approached Damascus, suddenly a light from
heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul,
why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who art Thou, Lord?" And He [said,] "I am Jesus whom
you are persecuting, 6 but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do. " 7 And the
men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice, but seeing no one.
When Saul got up
from the ground, he was blind and had to be led by the hand to Damascus. The Lord had revealed to a
certain disciple named Ananias, that Saul was a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the
Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s
sake.
Ananias met him and restored his sight and Paul was then baptized.

Saul’s conversion was nothing short of miraculous, but such is the nature of the grace of God. In
Acts 26:14-18 Paul is giving his defense before King Agrippa and reveals some more of what Jesus had
said to him on the road to Damascus. 15 "And I said, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am
Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 ‘But arise, and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared
to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to
the things in which I will appear to you; 17 delivering you from the [Jewish] people and from the
Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light
and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an
inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me. ‘
Saul’s conversion from a persecutor
of the followers of Jesus into being one himself was also his commission to preach the gospel. Saul
immediately began to do so. After escaping a plot to murder him, Saul went to Arabia for three years
where he learned and received revelation from Jesus (Gal. 1:11,12, 17-18). He then returned to
Damascus briefly, then went to Jerusalem where he met with some of the Apostles. Saul escaped from
another plot on his life there and returned to his home town, Tarsus, where he was ministering when
Barnabas brought him to Antioch to start a church there (Acts. 11:22-26). Later, he and Barnabas were
commissioned to make a missionary journey starting churches throughout Asia minor (Acts 13). Paul
would make two more missionary journeys, venturing to Macedonia and Greece on the these next two
trips. It is probably while Paul was in Corinth on his third missionary trip that he wrote this letter to the
Romans. This would be about 57 A.D.

A bond-servant: Paul’s identification of himself as a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called an
apostle and set apart for the gospel of God
traces back to his conversion. Paul understood clearly the
grace given to him by God. Because of Paul’s former persecution of the church he considered himself to
be the "chief of sinners" (1 Cor. 15:9; 1 Tim. 1:15). He understood clearly that his life was no longer his
own, but was now bound up in Jesus Christ (Gal. 2:20), and so he identified himself as a bond-servant
(douloV / doulos) in the sense of Exodus 21:5,6, a slave that loved his master and did not want to
depart, so he willingly made himself as permanent slave.

An apostle: Paul was called out by Christ and sent as his apostle. "Apostle" means, "one sent with
authority," and Paul went forward under Jesus’ specific commission to preach the gospel of God. There
is a broader context in which "apostle" could refer to all believers since all Christians are to be witnesses
of Jesus, but here, "apostle" is used in the narrow sense of those whom Jesus chose and commissioned to
proclaim the gospel and lead the early church. Paul understood himself to be unworthy and the least of
the apostles because of his earlier persecution of the church, and yet an apostle who was equal with any
of the Twelve (Matthias replacing Judas) (1 Cor. 15:9). There were those that sought to detract from
Paul, but he demonstrated his apostleship by his teaching, his godly life, his personal encounter with
Jesus, and by signs, wonders and miracles (1 Cor. 9:1; 2 Cor. 11-12).



The Gospel of God (vs. 2-4)

Paul was specifically "set apart for the gospel of God." Other apostles may have had other specific
commissions, but this was Paul’s, and the proclamation of that gospel is the underlying theme of the rest
of the book. As most of you are aware, "gospel" (eujaggevlion) means "good news." But what good
news? Paul is very specific here that it is the good news of God. Paul then goes on in verses 2-4 to
explain the nature and origin of this good news that it is according to God’s promises in the Old
Testament concerning His Son, and then in verses 5,6 Paul further explain its benefits in bringing to
them God’s grace.

Origin of the gospel (vs. 2). Paul is writing to a mixture of Jews and gentiles. It is very important
that he present from the very beginning that this good news is what God promised beforehand through
His prophets in the holy Scriptures.
Paul would later show the importance of this to the gentiles, but if
he did not communicate this clearly to the Jews, they would not have payed any attention to Him. The
good news concerning Jesus Christ was not a new cult doctrine, but was in keeping with what God has
revealed to and through His prophets in what we refer to as the Old Testament. This sets it apart from the
speculation and musings of the Rabbis recorded in their traditions such as the Talmud.

One of the marks of false religions and cults is that their god or gods are inconsistent, contradictory
and do not keep promises. The true God is consistent and keeps His promises. God is not a man that He
should lie or repent (Num. 23:19). He is unchanging, so He does not contradict Himself (1 Sam. 15:29).
He knows the end from the beginning and so His promises will always come true (Isa. 46:10). If
Muhammed had understood this would have also understood why the Jews and Christians rejected
Islam, for Allah is a changing God who contradicts Himself. He is not the God of the Bible.

The God of the Bible is consistent, unchanging and keeps His promises. This truth is so important to
the validity of the gospel that Paul spends much of the book taking the reader back to the Old Testament
to prove his argument. There are more Old Testament references and citations in Romans than in any
other New Testament book. Paul quotes from Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, 1
Kings, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Hosea, Joel, Habakkuk & Malachi. That is 14 different books of
the Old Testament. Only Matthew quotes from as many different sources. The gospel of God which Paul
presents in Romans has its origin in and is consistent with the Old Testament. It is for the Jew and the
gentile.



The Promised Messiah (vs. 3,4). The promises God made in the Old Testament are good news
concern the coming of His Son, the Messiah. Paul points out one of the prophecies concerning Messiah
here in verse 3 that God’s Son was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh. The promised
one, the Messiah had to be both deity and humanity. Jesus Christ is human of the correct lineage for He
is a physical descendant of David through His mother, Mary (Luke 3), and He inherited the right to
David’s throne through Joseph by adoption (Matthew 1). We discussed a few weeks ago the many
prophecies concerning Messiah that were fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. However, Jesus’ birth alone did
not prove He was Messiah. It is one thing to claim to be the Son of God and another to prove it.

Paul points out in verse 4 that Jesus was declared to be the Son of God and the proof of it was His
resurrection from the dead. Paul uses a passive participle of "declare" here for it was not just Jesus’
claim, but it was what was pronounced about Him.

Jesus disciples declared Him to be the Son of God. In Matthew 16:16 Peter professed, "Thou art the
Christ, the Son of the living God."
In John 20:28, Thomas proclaimed Jesus, "My Lord and My God!"
Even Jesus enemies understood His claim and in John 10:33 said to Jesus, "For a good work we do not
stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out [to be] God"
(cf. John
5:18). However, Paul does not rely on declarations of men, for men can be fooled and they can lie. Paul
states here in Romans 1:4, as the NKJV better translates, the He is declared [to] [be] the Son of God
with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

At His baptism, Matthew 3:16,17 states that "the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God
descending as a dove, [and] coming upon Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This
is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’"
At the transfiguration, Peter, James and John all heard
the voice from a cloud declare concerning Jesus who currently standing before them with His face
shining like the sun and His garments as white as light, "this is My beloved Son, with whom I am well
pleased; listen to Him!"
(Matt. 17:5). God declared Jesus to be His Son and the final proof of it is His
resurrection from the dead. Only God, the giver of life, can raise the dead back to life.

Paul then gives the full title of the Son of God so there would be no confusion. The gospel of God
concerns God’s Son who is Jesus Christ our Lord. "Jesus" is a form of "Joshua" and means "Yahweh is
salvation." "Christ" is the Greek equivalent of "Messiah." Both meant "anointed one." Lord is used
because He is God and therefore sovereign ruler of the universe.



The Benefits of the Gospel (vs. 5,6)

In verses 5 and 6 Paul gives the benefits of the good news of God. It is through Jesus Christ our Lord
that "we receive grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for
His name’s sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ."

Paul uses a plural, "we," to refer to himself and those with him. At end of book, Romans 16:21-23,
we find there are several others that are with him. All of them have received grace from the Lord Jesus
Christ, and Paul, as mentioned earlier, was also specifically made an apostle by that same grace for the
purpose bringing to the gentiles the gospel of God which would bring them to the obedience of faith.
This is Paul’s first mention of grace in association with the gospel, but it will not be the last for they
cannot be separated. The good news of Jesus Christ is bound up in the grace of God. "Grace" is
unmerited and unearned favor. It is getting something good you do not deserve. The good news of Jesus
Christ is that though you are a sinner, God extends His grace to you through Jesus Christ so that you can
gain salvation from your sin. Salvation from your sin is something which you in no way deserve and in
which in no way could you possibly earn. Paul will spend a large part of Romans proving that point.

The last phrase (vs. 6) specifically applies this benefit to those Paul was writing to in Rome. They
too were among those who are the "called of Jesus Christ" and therefore have been brought about to the
obedience of faith
because of God’s grace. They did not call themselves, but Jesus Christ has called
them.



The Purpose of the Gospel (vs. 5)

The purpose of the gospel is the salvation of man, but the ultimate purpose of that is "for His name’s
sake,"
i.e., for the glory of God. That is important to keep in mind for it will keep the gospel from
becoming man centered. The good news of Jesus Christ is not about man, but about the character of
God. It is about His love, mercy and grace of which we are simply the undeserving recipients.

Paul understood that the grace God had given to him was for the purpose of declaring the gospel to
others. That was the purpose of his apostleship, and that the proclamation of that gospel was to bring
about the "obedience of faith" in others. What is this "obedience of faith?" Paul uses this phrase or a
similar one in several places (Romans 15:18; 16:26; 2 Cor. 10:4,5; Heb. 5:9).

Salvation is all of God’s grace, but that does not mean that obedience is not part of salvation. In fact,
obedience is an integral part of salvation and without it you cannot be saved. It is sad that the message of
God’s grace has been so perverted and centered on man that such a central truth is seldom understood in
American Christian society. I realize that some would brand me a horrible heretic for saying that, but the
truth is the truth. Obedience is not the means of salvation, for that is all of God’s grace, and no one can
earn God’s favor or work their way to heaven (Eph. 2:8,9). However, obedience is the first step of
salvation and its result, for that is salvation’s purpose. When the gospel is proclaimed, the only ones that
are saved are those that are obedient to believe the message. That is one aspect of what Paul says here.
The purpose of his apostleship is to proclaim the gospel message so that others will obey it in faith. The
stress is on obedience to believe the message.

The other aspect of obedience flows out of the message itself. Jesus Christ is God in human flesh
who has paid the penalty of our sin and break its power over us so that we might receive the
righteousness of God by faith in Him. Since Jesus Christ is God, how is it that anyone can claim that
obedience to Him is somehow optional? Since we are saved from sin to righteousness (Rom. 6), how can
anyone claim that striving against sin and toward righteousness living is somehow optional? Escape
from hell is not the purpose of salvation, but only a wonderful consequence of it. The unrighteous go to
hell after being judged according to their own works (Rev. 20). A profession of faith in Jesus Christ is
not enough. The claim must also be true. That is why Jesus warned in Matthew 7 about the false teachers
who would be known by their fruit of unrighteousness. They claimed to do all sorts of things in Jesus’
name, but in the end Jesus will tell them, "Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." That is why
Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 13:5 to "Test yourselves [to see] if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!
Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the
test?"
1 John3:7,8 is just as straightforward – "Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who
practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8 the one who practices sin is of the devil;
for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might
destroy the works of the devil.
" The proof of the claim is in the change in how you live.

Recipients of the Letter (vs. 7)

It is important to note who Paul is writing to. Even though Romans is a systematic presentation of
the Gospel, the letter itself is written to those who already profess to be followers of Jesus Christ. Paul is
writing to 7 to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called [as] saints." Paul uses three terms or phrases
to identify these people. They are the "beloved of God," "called," and "saints." What wonderful truths.
God set His love upon us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8), called us in Christ to Himself (Rom.
1:6) and set us apart unto Himself, which is the meaning of "saint."

Many people have been saved simply by reading and studying the book of Romans, and there is no
doubt that Paul rejoices greatly in God using it in that way. Yet, the purpose of his writing was to clearly
explain the gospel and its ramifications to those who were already believers so they would be able to
accurately tell others this wonderful message of God’s grace.



Salutation (vs. 7)

Paul’s salutation to them in verse 7 is, Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ.
Those who are beloved of God and called of Jesus Christ to be saints can have God’s
grace and peace. Only they can call God their Father because they have been adopted into God’s family
through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.



Over the next year and a half or so we are going to be carefully studying this book so that we too
might have a clear understanding of the good news of God that is presented by His grace in Jesus Christ,
so that we can proclaim it to others also.

The theme of Romans is the Righteousness of God demonstrated in the gospel.

 

 

General Outline

1. Introduction 1:1 – 1:17

2. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Condemnation 1:18 – 3:20

A. Ungodly Unbelievers (1:18 – 1:32)

B. Religious Unbelievers (2:1 – 2:16)

C. Jews living by the Law (2:17 – 2:29)

D. Every person without exception (3:1 – 3:20)

3. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Justification 3:20 – 5:21

A. Justification by Faith (3:20 – 3:31)

B. Justification by Faith in the O.T. (4:1 – 4:25)

C. The results of Justification (5:1 – 5:21)

4. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Sanctification 6:1 – 8:39

A. Dead to Sin, Alive to God (6:1 – 6:23)

B. Freedom from the Law (7:1 – 7:25)

C. Life in Christ (8:1 – 8:39)

5. The Righteousness of God Revealed in His Choice of Israel 9:1 – 11:36

A. Solicitude for Israel (9:1 – 9:29)

B. Israel is Responsible for its rejection (9:30 – 10:21)

C. Israel is Not Cast Away (11:1 – 11:36)

6. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Transformed Living 12:1-15:13

A. Living a Life of Dedicated Service (12:1 – 12:8)

B. Living the Life Among others (12:9 – 12:21)

C. Living a Life Subject to Authority (13:1 – 13:14

D. Living a Life in Consideration of Others (14:1 – 15:12)

7. Epilogue (15:13 – 16:27)

Final Plans, Warnings, Greetings and Benediction


 

Sermon
Study Sheets

Sermon Notes – 1/6/2002 A.M.

 

Introduction to Romans – Romans 1:1-7

KIDS CORNER

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to
your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young
Children
– draw a picture about something you hear
during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your
parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of
the following: 1) Count how many times the names
"Saul" and "Paul" are is used. 2) Discuss with your
parents what you know about his life.



THINK ABOUT IT!

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with
others.

What are some of the historical results of the book of
Romans? Who wrote Romans? Why does he identify
himself as a "bond-servant" and an "apostle"? How did
he become a bond-servant? How did he become an
Apostle? What does it mean he is "set apart for the
gospel of God"? When did that happen? When and
where did he write this book? What is the origin of this
gospel? Who is the focus of this gospel? What is the
importance in noting the origin of this gospel? To what
do are the "holy scriptures" refer? What is the
importance of Paul so carefully noting Jesus as the Son
of God? What is the importance of him noting Jesus as
the descendant of David? What is the importance of
the resurrection of Jesus? What is the spirit of
holiness? What is the importance of using the full title,
"Jesus Christ our Lord"? What is the "obedience of
faith"? Who is he writing to? Has he ever met them
before? What is a "saint"? How does a person become a
saint? What is the purpose(s) of the book of Romans?
What is the theme of Romans? What are the major
points of the book?

The Book of Romans



The Author (vs. 1)

Brief history of Paul (Acts 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:1-30; 26:10-20)




A bond-servant (douloV / doulos) (1 Cor. 15:9; 1 Tim. 1:15; Gal. 2:20; Exodus 21:5,6)


An apostle



The Gospel of God (vs. 2-4)



Origin of the gospel (vs. 2)



The Promised Messiah (vs. 3,4)

Luke 3, Matthew 1

Matthew 16:16; John 20:28; John 10:33

Matthew 3:16,17; Matt. 17:5



The Benefits of the Gospel (vs. 5)


The Purpose of the Gospel (vs. 5)



Obedience of faith: (Romans 1:6; 15:18; 16:26; 2 Cor. 10:4,5; Heb. 5:9).

Rom. 6; Rev. 20:11-15; Matt. 7:15-23; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 John 3:7,8



Recipients of the Letter (vs. 6,7)



Salutation (vs. 7)






General Outline

1. Introduction 1:1 – 1:17

2. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Condemnation 1:18 – 3:20

A. Ungodly Unbelievers (1:18 – 1:32)

B. Religious Unbelievers (2:1 – 2:16)

C. Jews living by the Law (2:17 – 2:29)

D. Every person without exception (3:1 – 3:20)

3. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Justification 3:20 – 5:21

A. Justification by Faith (3:20 – 3:31)

B. Justification by Faith in the O.T. (4:1 – 4:25)

C. The results of Justification (5:1 – 5:21)

4. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Sanctification 6:1 – 8:39

A. Dead to Sin, Alive to God (6:1 – 6:23)

B. Freedom from the Law (7:1 – 7:25)

C. Life in Christ (8:1 – 8:39)

5. The Righteousness of God Revealed in His Choice of Israel 9:1 – 11:36

A. Solicitude for Israel (9:1 – 9:29)

B. Israel is Responsible for its rejection (9:30 – 10:21)

C. Israel is Not Cast Away (11:1 – 11:36)

6. The Righteousness of God Revealed in Transformed Living 12:1-15:13

A. Living a Life of Dedicated Service (12:1 – 12:8)

B. Living the Life Among others (12:9 – 12:21)

C. Living a Life Subject to Authority (13:1 – 13:14

D. Living a Life in Consideration of Others (14:1 – 15:12)

7. Epilogue (15:13 – 16:27)

Final Plans, Warnings, Greetings and Benediction