Paul's Letter to the Romans: Romans 1

Romans 1  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The starting point of the Apostle Paul's ministry was the Lord's revealing Himself in glory to him on the Damascus road. Paul was an apostle by calling, called of God. Believers are saints by calling.
The letter to the Romans lays the foundation of the revelations of God to man-first, man's responsibility toward God, then God's grace. Christian practice is also set forth in this epistle. The believer is viewed as in the world, not seen risen with Christ as in Colossians.
Christ, spoken of as the seed of David according to the flesh, is the Son of God in power, first, by the Spirit of holiness throughout His life down here in this world, second, by having in Himself the power of resurrection, not only His own, but for all who believe.
The salutation by Paul to those in Rome was "Grace to you and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ." Although the Apostle Paul had never seen the saints in Rome, he had an assurance of their faith, having been spoken of throughout the world.
Paul, while making request that he might have a prosperous journey to visit them, prayed also for them. This request was not granted until his career was nearly over, when he was brought to Rome in chains. He desired to see them that through the revelations he had received he might impart to them spiritual gifts for their growth and for establishing them.
Being called as an apostle to the Gentiles, he felt his responsibility, not only to Rome but to Greeks and barbarians as well. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it was the power of his mission, the gospel of salvation to all who believe.
The righteousness of God has been revealed by the gospel on the basis of faith to faith; the sinner simply believes in his heart and is saved.
Paul's ministry began with the person of Christ, though forgiveness and righteousness were fully developed later. Paul was a servant of Christ but also an apostle. Many were servants, he an apostle. This was the character of his life.
The gospel was the "gospel of God" also. As we shall see, God is a God of mercy but also a holy God. Sin must be punished and that from heaven. God has wrought salvation; man acquired it by faith.
Man had no righteousness, but God has a righteousness which is His own, revealed in the gospel from heaven.
Because of ungodliness of men who have rejected God, though He is clearly seen in creation, men, beginning with Adam, in all of their independence of God, and their idolatry and base sins, are under His wrath to be revealed in due time.
God's eternal power and divinity are fully known which renders sinful man inexcusable. His foolish heart was darkened, turning him to idolatry and giving God up. Then God gave men up to vile affections, such as homosexuality, and brought them recompense for their error, which today has become widespread. They that know the judgment of God still take pleasure in their sins and in those that do these vile things.
The gospel brings salvation, and "the just shall live by faith." But "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness." This shows that they know the truth.
God is the author of salvation in Christ. Divine righteousness brings man back to Him in grace by the work of Christ on the cross. Of human righteousness there is none. It is not what man ought to be, but what God is that brings blessing to us. "God is love."
The subject is Christ, the fulfillment of all of God's promises and Conqueror in His death and resurrection. Now in righteousness man is able to meet God fully revealed. It was not so in the garden of Eden when man had sinned but is true now on the basis of a more excellent standing of faith in the person and work of Christ. Without this standing, the race of man is subject to the judgment of God through unbelief.