What do you say about Romans in a brief format like this? Some of the greatest minds in Christian history have spent years studying and writing on the Epistle. John Murray wrote two immense volumes on it. D. Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote fourteen! And, Sinclair Ferguson once said, after preaching for eighteen months on the book, that eighteen months wasn’t nearly long enough to properly grasp its breadth and depth. Romans is a big book!
The Christian Manifesto
One biblical commentator (John Stott maybe) once called Romans the Christian manifesto. Here’s why: In Romans, Paul, more than anywhere else, explains the theological realities of the Christian gospel and its implications for the living a Christ-honoring life. Verses 1:16-17 set the stage and illustrate this point perfectly.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'”
Here, we see three theological realities and their corresponding implications for living the Christian life. I’ll briefly explain by pointing out the reality and its implication.
The Gospel is the power of salvation to everyone who believes.
We are saved by God according to his grace in his power through faith. Now, I know that is a lot to keep straight. Let me try to help you. First, God saves us by his grace. That means that we didn’t do anything to earn our salvation. God freely decided to give it to us. He was not forced to do so, nor did we merit it in anyway. It is a gift that comes to us through the gospel, which is through Jesus Christ himself. Second, it is God’s power that saves us, not our own. He is the one who gives life to the dead, who reconciles his enemies to himself. We are powerless to save ourselves (stay tuned to tomorrow to see why), but God isn’t powerless to save us. And third, we receive our salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is for everyone who believes because faith serves the vehicle through which God communicates and delivers his grace to us.
The Gospel not only unites God with his enemies, it also unites us with our enemies.
Christian salvation is for both the Jews and the Gentiles. These two groups of people were ethnic enemies. But, they had one thing in common: they were sinners before a holy and just God. It’s the gospel that reconciles them to Him. And, it’s the gospel that reconciles them to one another because it tears down the wall of hostility that was built because of religious reasons. If God has reconciled the Jews to himself through Jesus and the Gentiles as well, there is no need to remain separate in order to maintain cleanliness before God. They are all made clean in Christ through faith. Therefore, they are united as children of God.
Faith in the gospel leads to the living of a righteous life.
The righteous shall live by faith. All the days of their lives, they shall trust their God who has cleansed them and reconciled them unto himself and sealed them with His Spirit in the heavenly places. The faithful Christians’ righteousness before God is that of Christ which is credited to them by God through faith. And, it is expressed in a life lived in faith in the Son of God. Therefore, they shall walk in faithful obedience to him and humbly trust his grace-filled promises, not the least of which is found in Romans 8:28 — “For all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.”
Believe, Love, and Live
Believe the gospel today — God does love you and he sent his Son to reconcile you to himself. Receive it in faith.
Love your fellow Christians — God reconciled you to himself, but he also reconciled you to other Christians. Don’t let worldly divisions, selfish priorities, and deep wounds keep from living in fellowship with other Christians.
Live a faithful life — God saved you in faith. He empowers you to live to his glory in faith. Walk in the ways of truth today as you faithfully follow him.