August 23, 2023

Recapping Romans: An overview of our latest series


Recapping Romans: An overview of our latest series

August 23, 2023 | Written by Rohann Van Rensburg

On Sunday, August 12, Andy wrapped up our weekly series on Romans entitled “God’s Roadmap for Human Redemption”, providing a recap of the letter with Paul’s closing instructions for the church. The 16 weeks taken to exposit the book chapter by chapter provided a wonderful opportunity for deeper understanding of Paul’s message and the vital relevance it has for us as a church today.

Romans is arguably the most important document of the Christian faith, described by some scholars as “The Gospel and Righteousness of God”, or “The Gospel of God’s Righteousness”, containing the full picture of humanity’s fallen nature, our inability to meet the requirements of God’s perfect law, the hope of salvation through Christ, and the process of salvation through which we are molded into the image of Christ. It details God’s plan for the Jews despite their missing the Messiah, and provides practical teaching for conduct between members of the church body that is as relevant today as it was for converted Jews and Gentiles. This article will hopefully provide a useful summary for anyone who’d like to revisit the series, or to reference for study purposes.

Chapter One: Wrath – The Good News Saves Us From It

The first chapter lays out Paul’s reason for writing Romans, and begins by summarizing the nature of the Good News of the Gospel, as well as the nature of the wrath of God. This is a challenging portion of scripture for western culture in our current time, confronting unapologetically the nature of sin and the consequences thereof, as well as the folly of mere human wisdom, illuminating humanity’s position of being under God’s wrath. As this may be a difficult portion of scripture for some who are wrestling with various issues, please remember that the Oceanside eldership team is always available to discuss this more in depth with anyone who has questions.

Chapter Two: Hypocrisy – Unveiling Our Hidden Sin

Chapter two is a heavy chapter, continuing to highlight three different groups of people: the Jews, the Gentiles, and the self-righteous. It demonstrates why each group is reliant on the Cross for salvation, the folly of worldly conceptions of justification, and illustrates the kindness and mercy of God despite human folly. It is a sobering reminder that all have sinned, regardless of identity.

Chapter Three: Righteousness By Faith Alone

Paul  shows us the impossibility of being justified by works through the law, the perfect faithfulness of God despite our own unfaithfulness, and shows us that all people are equally in need of salvation through Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile. Righteousness is obtained by faith in Jesus alone.

Chapter Four: The Great Exchange – Justification by Faith Alone

Paul lays out the requirements for justification, namely that it requires faith alone and is not earned by works. Paul overturns the commonly held Jewish idea that Abraham was justified by his works, using him as an example of profound faith. The chapter instills hope after numerous heavy chapters by teaching that the gift of salvation is freely given.

Chapter Five: Peace – Our New Position Before God

Chapter five brings a message of hope of grace and peace through our justification by faith. It ties into the earlier chapters by explaining we are free from the doom of God’s wrath through our salvation in Christ, and reminds us what we used to be before salvation through Jesus. Paul exhorts us to rejoice in the sufferings we face in earthly life, and ties the fall of humanity through Adam into the salvation of humanity through the second Adam, Jesus.

Chapter Six: Dead to Sin – Now Choose the Better Master

The sixth chapter teaches us about our new relationship to sin, contrasting the condemning hold sin used to have on us with our newfound freedom in Christ, and encourages us to enthrone Jesus in our hearts. Paul gives us the illustration of having “crucified our old selves with Christ”, having chosen Jesus instead of sin as our new master.

Chapter Seven: Law – The New Covenant Application of God’s Commands

This chapter dives into the Law as understood by the Jews, and teaches that while we are not justified by the Law in our works, the Law still holy and good. Paul explains the distressing reality of being made aware of sin through the law, and of facing the internal battle of the law of sin waging war with God’s Law within us, concluding that we are thankfully delivered by God’s grace and are released from the condemnation of the Law.

Chapter Eight: The Holy Spirit – At Work In Us

Chapter eight has been called “the summit of hope” by some, being the completion of the ideas laid out in the preceding seven chapters, opening with the oft-cited verse “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” It delivers the hopeful and joyful message of the Holy Spirit’s work in us: how we are set free from sin, transformed, and led to victory.

Chapter Nine: God’s Choices – Unlocking the Mystery of His Plan

This chapter brings a shift of focus, from our need for salvation and God’s provision of grace and redemption to addressing the condition of Israel. Paul expresses his sorrow at the rejection of Christ, but Paul reassures that Israel did not miss the Messiah because God failed them, but because it was part of God’s ultimate sovereign plan.

Chapter Ten: Embodying Salvation Wholeheartedly

Chapter ten further shares Paul’s heart for Israel and his earnest prayer for their salvation, and while he commends their earnestness for God, teaches that righteousness is not earned by attempting to keep the law, which is never accomplished. Paul references the Old Testament frequently to further cement his point about how salvation is gained: by faith alone, and available for all.

Chapter Eleven: God’s Ways – Beyond Human Comprehension

Chapter eleven continues Paul’s discussion of Israel and the state of their salvation, explaining that while they rejected Christ and are still waiting on the truth that was before them, God has not rejected Israel. Paul discusses the integration of non-Jews into the promises of Israel, admonishes the Gentiles not to be arrogant towards unbelieving Jews, and concludes his discussion of Israel with reminders of God’s promises to Israel and His faithfulness.

Chapter Twelve: Fully Surrendered – A Living Sacrifice

This chapter shifts away from doctrine and provides teaching on how we should live, following a common pattern of instruction in Paul’s epistles. Paul details what a life of true worship entails, encourages the use of spiritual gifts in harmony with the diverse members of the body of Christ, and gives many practical instructions for daily living.

Chapter Thirteen: Authorities – How We Submit To God’s Servants

Chapter thirteen is a challenging chapter in almost any historical context. Paul continues his teaching on how Christians are to live, laying out what Christian attitudes and behaviours toward governing authorities should be. He sums up the main thrust of the Old Testament commandments, and encourages followers of Christ to walk in purity.

Chapter Fourteen: Disagreeing Agreeably

The fourteenth chapter addresses how those within the church should view and act towards one another. Contrasting with the moral and behavioural absolutes Paul lays out in previous chapters, Paul teaches that Christians should have grace with one another in differences of non-theologically fundamental behaviours and beliefs. He encourages those strong in their faith to not flaunt their freedom in Christ and to have patience with those newer to faith, and also instructs those with tighter convictions not to put arbitrary restrictions on others.

Chapter Fifteen: Endurance, Faith, and Confident Hope – Paul’s Conclusion to the Roman Church

Paul continues his instructions and thoughts for those who are strong and weak in their faith, laying out how they should live in relation to one another, providing a message of unity in Christ to Jews and Gentiles alike. He encourages the church despite speaking boldly in previous chapters, and informs them of his work in ministry, giving all glory to Christ.

Chapter Sixteen: Staying True to God’s Word

The final chapter of Romans has Paul greeting specific members of the church in Rome who were working in ministry with him, as well as urgently warning the church to be discerning about false, deceptive teachers appealing to flattery and naivety. This chapter seals off the book’s teaching on theology and Christian conduct, and through Paul God provides instructions on the spiritual protection of the church.

No items found.