I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
The theme of Romans is this: the righteousness of God is available to everyone who comes to Christ through faith. How did Paul develop that theme in the book of Romans?
After the prologue in 1:1-17, Paul discussed the problem of righteousness in 1:18 to 3:20. Have people ever asked you, “How could a loving God send good people to Hell?” There is a simple answer to that question. There are no good people–not in God’s eyes. Paul said, “Both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one’” (3:9-10).
But God in His mercy made a provision for righteousness. Romans 3:21 through chapter 5 explains that God provided a way for us to receive His righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. God is not only the Judge who condemns us; He is also the Savior who redeems us (3:26). And this has been God’s plan from the beginning. It was never God’s plan that we would be saved by works; God’s plan was always salvation by grace through faith.
That leads to the next section of Romans, the power of righteousness. Paul demonstrated in Romans 6-8 that the righteousness of God has benefits in this life as well as in eternity. If you have received a right standing with God by faith, then you are free from the power of sin. “Our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (6:6-7). If you are in a right standing with God, then it will affect how you live here and now, not just in the hereafter.
Then Paul discussed the program of righteousness in Romans 9-11. Paul said the gospel is for the Jew first and for the Greek also. In Romans 11:25, he said, “I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” Paul also said in this section that God’s plan for us to be in a right standing with Him was developed before the foundation of the world. And it was based on God’s sovereign choice.
In Romans 12-16, Paul talked about the practice of righteousness. In Romans 12:2, he said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” In this section, Paul demonstrated how the righteousness of God ought to affect our relationship with other Christians, with non-Christians, and with the government.
That is an overview of the book of Romans, which one writer called the cathedral of our faith.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Romans: Grace-Powered Living” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.