January 9, 2011

Romans 1:1-6

I am going to try to do something with Romans that I find very difficult to do—do a survey of the book. That is, giving the basic high and important points, as we move through it quickly.

Romans is arguably one of the most difficult books in Scripture. When I took Bible Doctrines in School, it was a study in the book of Romans.

This is a letter written about 57 or 58 A.D. by Paul from Corinth and sent to Rome by a woman named Phebe. This Roman Church is not to be confused with the present day Church of Rome, which was founded in the third century (312 or so), and is overrun with the heresies Paul confronts here.

This epistle by Paul is the most difficult of all the New Testament. There has been controversy over this letter every since it was written. The controversy comes from a unwillingness to admit the clear truths as presented by Paul. The natural heart is opposed to many of the things presented by Paul, particularly in chapters 9 & 11. Many even professed Christians will reject what Paul presents. Or they add men's traditions to Paul's words, confusing the issues even more.

Many things in this book can only understood according to Heb. 11:3, By faith we understand--.

All the New Testament churches were predominantly Jewish. This church probably has its roots in the day of Pentecost, as recorded in,

Acts 2:5, and there were at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven.

These Jews took the message Peter preached back home with them to every nation under heaven. That included Rome.

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

Christ's words were fulfilled in Acts 2:5

Furthermore, there is no evidence that either Paul or Peter, visited Rome until Paul appealed to Ceasar. And then he was a prisoner there until his death. From there, he wrote what are known as the Prison Epistles.

The Jews were scattered widely throughout the Roman Empire, building synagogues wherever they settled. The Roman religion of Paul's day was a worship of many gods, and especially among the higher class of heathens. Gentiles, saw the vast superiority of the Jews religion of one God. These synagogues then, where the Jewish religion met, had MANY Gentile converts, or proselytes, in them.

The devout Jews who had been in Jerusalem for one of the most holy of their holy days, Pentecost, 50 days after the passover, heard the gospel, believed and went back to their places of worship. In these synagogues there were many ready hearers.

Knowing only Peter's message as recorded in Acts 2, the Roman church was open to all kinds of false doctrine from the Jewish religion. This letter was written to counter the Jewish influence, as well as the Gentile misunderstanding of sound doctrine.

We see in chapter 2, that the Jewish believers considered themselves better because the law came to and trough them. Evidently, they were then treating the Gentiles as third class citizens.

Paul had a thoroughly Jewish background, so he knew exactly where the problems were. His books, especially Romans and Galatians, were written to counter the creeping influence of Judaism into the new churches.

Example: I was saved out of a "ask Jesus into your heart," "Turn your life over to him," "trust him to come into your life," background so when dealing with people I know where to put my finger.

The book of Romans here gives the very basic Christian Doctrine in contrast to the old Judaism (the Roman church today is a mixture of Judaism, Christianity and paganism).

This book of Romans is not the first Epistle of Paul but it is the foundational book of doctrine, the most basic of the New Testament.

In Romans, Paul covers every major doctrine of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the rest of his epistles, he applies these doctrines to every day life.

He covers the doctrine of faith, grace, baptism, justification, election, divine sovereignty of God, doctrine of sin, total depravity of man, prayer and even the gifts of the spirit in chp. 12.

Ro 1:1-7 Paul, commending to the Romans his calling, greets them,
Ro 1:8-15 and professes his concern for, and desire of coming to see them.
Ro 1:16,17 He shows that the gospel is for the justification of all mankind through faith.
Ro 1:18-32 And having premised that sinners in general are obnoxious to God's wrath, he describes at large the corruption of the Gentile world.

Ro 1:1-7 Paul introduces himself to the saints at Rome, and greets them.

1:1 Paul.

His name had been Saul and when he was converted his name was changed to Paul, Acts 6:58.

The changing of a name was a common practice. Abram was changed to Abraham. Jacob to Israel. In the changing of the name we see the charge of character.

The Christians would remember Saul who had persecuted them. His new name would show a new man to the very ones he persecuted.

Our name was changed at salvation. We are now named after Christ. Does our charactor reflect our new charactor? Can Christ be seen in our character? Is the outside clean and white but the inside full of dead mens bone? (Hypocrite)

A servant of Jesus Christ.

This means a slave or one who is not free.

The Jews, especially a Jewish rabbi and a free born Roman citizen would have prided themselves in being free—that is, not anyone's servant or slave.

Jn. 8:33, they answered him, we be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage: how sayest thou ye shall be made free.

Elsewhere, Paul uses his being a free Roman citizen in his defense, but in his letters, Paul prides himself in being a servant to the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew the only true freedom was in serving Him.

We will either serve your own desires and be a salve to them, or you will serve Christ and be free in him. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

called to be an apostle...

Paul was an apostle called out of due season. He did not walk with Christ while Christ was here, but Christ did personally instruct him.

He did not volunteer, nor did he seek the office. Rather, Paul was drafted against his will into the Lord's apostleship. At the start of each of his letters, he establishes his authority to write the doctrines that go so much against the human thought of his day.

Separated unto the gospel of God.

Peter preached the first gospel message in Jerusalem. God had a purpose in setting aside Paul from his anti-Christian fervor, and that was to take the gospel to the Gentile world. He did go to the Jews, who mostly rejected his message. After offering it to the Jews, he went to the Gentiles.

The new gospel of grace built upon its Old Testament Jewish foundation. Paul, in his letters, made sure that what was being spread was the trugh according to the established Old Testament law and prophets. If the new message was not firmly grounded in the Old Testament, the new churches would not have accepted it.

Christ himself said search the Old Testament scriptures to make sure the new message was true. John 5:39.

V. 2, though the gospel of Christ appeared new, Paul tells the Romans it was spelled out in the Old Testament. If its roots were not Old Testament, the gospel would have been soundly rejected by all. Paul makes it clear in all his letters that the Gospel is not new, but is according to what was prophesied.

Paul presented nothing new, nor did any of the New Testament preachers, or they would have been stoned. All that was presented in the Gospel was built on the law and the prophets. I will not take the time to tie the New Testament Gospel in with the Old Testament, other than refer to Isaiah 53.

"The gospel is, that Jesus Christ suffered in the place of all sinners who trust him as their Saviour, that he endured what they ought to have endured, and made atonement to God for all the sins that they would ever commit; and if you thus trust him you are saved. The simple act of relying upon the Lord Jesus as your substitute and Saviour puts away your guilt and sin forever." (C. H. Spurgeon, Aug. 17, 1873)

V. 3. Concerning his (God's) Son Jesus Christ our Lord which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;

The problem while Christ was here was not his claim to be of the seed of David. The genealogy records were in the national archives, and any one could go check them.

V. 4. And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

The problem was that Christ claimed to be the Son of God, making himself equal with God.

Israel had been severely judged for their following after many other gods, and carried of into Assyria and Babylon. After their return from Babylon under Ezra and Nehemiah, Israel avoided more than one God. At they time of Christ, they were serving who they thought was the One True God, but that service had been greatly corrupted by traditions.

Christ claimed to be the Son of God, and proved it with great power. But he destroyed their traditions in which the religious leaders found their wealth and power, so they created an extremely hostile environment. So hostile, in fact, that they put him to death for his claim.

The final proof of his deity was his resurrection from the dead. Those who tried to retain their power even rejected that, though the fact was evident for all to see.

But the Gospel must be based in the death, bural and resurrection.

Christ was ALL GOD and ALL MAN.

This doctrine of the divinity of Christ was undermined from the very start of the Gospel Church. One of the first doctrines to be attacked was the deity of Christ. If Christ was God then DEITY demanded obedience to Him, which caused persecution from the state and conflict with the inner fallen nature.

In 451 AD, the church held a council to deal with the attacks on the Deity of Christ. It was called the Council of Chalcedon. Let me give you a excepts of what they said. There is really no way to put it better.

--We all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man--- Of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the virgin, the God-bearer, one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without charge, without division, without separation.
The distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two person, but one and the same Son and only begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ.

That is, Very man of very man and very God of very God, two natures in union without confusion.

Write that in the margin of your Bible there. Son of God, seed of David, the God-man. The Thrice-Holy God became man. The King of kings became a man that he might suffer and die for the sins of his people, in our place.

He is not a helpless babe a woman's arms nor in a manger. He is not a helpless man hanging on a cross.

The early pictures of Christ in the Masonic floors within the first several centuries show him crowned as king. Have we crowned him king in our lives? We do that by keeping his commandments.

Again, the Gospel is based in the Old Testament, and Isaiah 9:6, 7 best describes what Paul is talking of here:

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Son of God.

This is not a title or office held by Christ but it is his very nature. He has the same nature as the Father.

It was not his resurrection from dead that made him the Son of God. Rather, the resurrection that proved who he was from the beginning. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Though the resurrection did not make him the Son of God, notice what it did do:

First, it proved there is a resurrection from the dead:

1 Corinthians 15:12, Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead.

Moreover, it proves that every person who ever lived will be raised from the dead and will stand in judgment before the resurrected Christ. He will answer for every deed done in the flesh:

2 Corinthians 5:10, for we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. That everyone may receive the things done in his body according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Second, it proved that just the same as all men die in Adam, all men can be made alive in Christ:

1 Corinthians 15:22, for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Third, it proved Christ to be the Son of God:

Romans 1:4, and declared to be the Son of God with power...

Obviously, no one except God himself has the power over life; that is, create life when there is no life present.

Christ raised many from the dead while he walked among us, and then he raised himself from the dead. Who but God with us could do such things?

His resurrection proved that he alone was the Christ sent from God.

John 14:11, Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works sake.

I heard one of these faith healers tell his followers to bring the dead bodies of their loved ones and place them in front of the TV set. Then he said that there will be many brought back to life. And people still send him money.

Christ proved his claim to be God with us by the resurrection from the deat.

The resurrection confirmed that the claims of Christ were true, proof especially to the Jews as Peter reminded them in Acts chp. 2.

Fourth, it proved that Christ was holy, and did not die for his own sins.

He raised himself from the dead by the might of his own power, thereby proving that he was sinless, holy and did not die for his own sins but the sins of the world.

Fifth, it proved that the sin debt of his people was paid, the sacrifice was accepted by the Father, and that Christ is now seated in the heavens

Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Sixth, it proved that Christ's destroyed the power of death and of the grave, and with that, the power of the devil.

Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Paul explains how and why he is now an apostle.

V. 5. By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

How... He was called by God's grace to his apostleship. He did nothing to deserve his call. In fact, he was persecuting the new church. It was strictly by God's grace that he was called to apostleship.

Why... He was called and given supernatural grace for the obedience of the faith among all nations.

It is not surprising that God called a man steeped in Jewish religious tradition. He could recognize the Jewish influence in the new church, and could therefore deal with it in properly from the Old Testament Scripture.

Notice that he did not say, "To further the faith among all nations" or "to obedience to the gospel." He said, for obedience to the faith---

Paul's call is to call believers to obedience to the faith. Salvation is not based upon obedicence to anything but the gospel of Christ. It is not based in obedience to the law.

Paul sums up the book of James in only 5 words: "Faith without works is dead."

His message was not, You have salvation now, so you are safe from hell fire. Rather, his message is that those who claim faith but do not prove their faith by their works, have no faith. James sums up Paul's message in 5 words, Faith without works is dead. That is, it is a dead faith.

V. 6.

Paul had said that responsibility as an apostle called by the Lord Jesus Christ was to call all nations for the obedience to the faith. He goes on to say that these Christians are also among those for whom he is responsible.

His responsibility?? To call all to obedience to the faith. They are part of the "all nations" of v. 5.

V. 7, he concludes his introduction by identifying to whom he is writing. He tells them that they are called by God to holiness and faithfulness just as much as he is called.

Grace and peace can only come from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This book should be read and even studied by every believer, and taught periodically by the leaders.

1. Paul as an apostle called by the gloried Lord Jesus had the authority to write this.

2. He anchors his doctrine in the OT.

3. He affirms both the deity and humanity of Christ.

4. He points to the resurrection as proof of the deity of Jesus Christ.

Others rose from the dead but non had made the claim that Christ did.

5. God appointed Paul to call all nations to be obedient to the faith which included these here in Rome and all down through history to today. Never separating FAITH for OBEDIENCE.

Obedience to the faith, not obedience to the understanding.

"If I understand it I'll do it." Then you expect us as preachers to help you understand so you can obey.

The preachers job is to point out the word of God and then the hearers' job is to obey it by faith.

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