Romans – the Meat and Potatoes of Christianity. Romans – the Consititution of Christianity. Romans has 16 chapters, the longest of Paul’s letters. Romans is considered by many to be Paul’s Magnum Opus or the greatest work of his life. The early church saw Romans as the most significant letter that Paul wrote and today it is thought to be the most ordered, complete, and comprehensive statement from his pen. It is believed he wrote it on or about 57 A.D. after he wrote Galatians, 1st and 2nd Thessalonians, and 1st and 2nd Corinthians.
Who started the church in Rome? No one knows. Two main theories: Acts 2:9:10c-11a tells us visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism) were there on the day of Pentecost and may have taken the Gospel back to Rome. The other is Christians – Jews and Gentiles migrated to Rome from other eastern churches. Or a third – a combination of the two theories. Rome was (and is) a big city with a population of over 4 million in AD 14. The church was made up of Jews and Gentiles until the Emperor Claudius expelled Jews (Acts 18:2) from Rome, who 3-5 years later returned … and a division within the church ensued. This is one of the main reasons Paul wrote to the church in Rome, but more importantly “Paul knew the Roman church had come into existence without the authoritative leadership of an Apostle of the Lord … and he wanted to add validity to their existence by instructing them in the faith through his epistle. He also desired to deposit a compendium of theological truth and the capital city of the empire was the natural place to do so” (Woodrow Kroll). Romans has three major sections – all about righteousness 1 – defied, 2 – supplied, 3 – applied.
1:1 Bond-Slave & Called
servant/slave of Christ Jesus According to Strongs, from G1210; a slave (literal or figurative, involuntary or voluntary; frequently, therefore in a qualified sense of subjection or subservience). Since a Roman slave was answerable only to his master, Paul was not just a servant to the Lord, but slave as well and answerable only to Him.
Paul was called to be an Apostle not just from his meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus but he said, Galatians 1:15 God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace
1:2-4 Who is the Gospel
When looking at/reading verse 3, the gospel is not about Jesus Christ, the gospel is Jesus Christ! Additionally, he was declared with power to be the Son of God, the word declared has the meaning of “marked out by unmistakable signs” of which there were many, the two most remarkable were
- 1) raising Lazarus from the dead and
- 2) His own resurrection. Of course you do not have to make somebody something they already are, you simply have to declare him to be who he is.
1:5-7 Grace and Apostleship
Probably better translated “Grace of Apostleship” as Paul considers his apostolic calling to be a heavenly gift. He did not seek this calling, he did not pray for it, but once he received it he used it / lived it to the fullest.
He wanted to instruct all those who are beloved of God in Rome called to be saints (v7) in those things that make for good doctrine and godly living. A saint is one called of God and holy, that is set apart to God for specific service. The saints of Rome, like us, were undeserving yet grateful recipients of God’s love and set apart, like us, to serve Him.
Those who enjoy God’s Love must always take seriously the responsibilities of that love. Love and service, being loved and being set apart as saints, always go hand in hand.
1:8-10 & 11-12 Paul, a Prayer Warrior
How important is prayer? Acts 6:1-4 we find prayer is number one and preaching number two as in verse four we read we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word. So what can we learn about prayer from these three verses and Paul’s approach to prayer? Maybe we call learn how we might also become prayer warriors.
- Prayer should be thankful v8
- Prayer should be personal v9 unceasingly I make mention of you … that’s personal
- Prayer should be continual v9 unceasingly and always v10
- Prayer should be sincere v9 genuine, absolutely sincere, For God … is my witness
- Prayer should be flexible v10 does not matter how, but simply that by God’s will the way will be opened
- Prayer should be submissive v10 if uncertain of God’s will we must be submissive to His will as Paul was, I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you
- Prayer should be specific -12 Paul prayed for specific reasons he wanted to come to Rome: his longing v11 and mutual encouragement also personal again