Paul writes Romans - Part two
Paul opens by declaring he is a "slave" of Jesus Christ, and
then an apostle called to the Gospel of Christ. Jesus was born
physical from the seed of David, but made a Son of God with POWER
and the holiness of the Spirit, by a resurrection from the dead.
He says the Roman Christians are called by Jesus, and gives them
peace and grace form God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We notice, as we do in nearly all of Paul's epistles that
the Holy Spirit is not mentioned as with the Father and Christ.
The simple reason is that the Holy Spirit is NOT "person" or a
bodied being of the Godhead, as are the Father and Christ. If the
Spirit was, then Paul was surely giving and insult in not
recognizing the fact in the "greeting" of grace and peace from
the Godhead (verses 1-7).
In verses 8-15 Paul tells them he is and was mindful to come
to them there in Rome. He wants to impart some spiritual gift to
edify them. He has a commission to preach the Gospel to the
Gentiles, and so he was ready to preach it at Rome also.
He is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, it is the POWER
of God unto salvation to all believers, and the righteousness of
God is revealed in it, as it is "from faith to faith" for it was
written (Hab.2:4) that "The just shall live by faith." From faith
to faith is first the faith we must have in the sacrifice of
Jesus to atone for our sins, and then we receive the Spirit of
God, which is Jesus living IN us, and so the life we now live we
live by the faith OF Christ (Gal.2:20). And as we shall see in
chapter 3:31, faith does NOT abolish God's law, but establishes
The Gospel is salvation, but there will be a time of the
wrath of God upon all unrighteousness and ungodliness. Some know
the truth but hold it back in unrighteousness, for God is
manifested and many of His invisible truths are seen in His
creation. Some knew God but did not glorify Him or were not
thankful to Him, and became vain in their own ideas and so their
hearts were darkened. They professed to be "wise" but actually
they became fools, and ended up making idols and physical things
into gods. They changed the glory of God into worshipping
corruptible men and birds, and beasts. So it was that God just
let them go ahead with all this and they moved into all
kinds of uncleanness through the lusts of their mind. They
changed the truth of God into lies and served the creation more
than the one who cerated it (verses 18-25).
The vile things that mankind got into, for leaving the
truths of God, were sexual evils such as homosexuality and
lesbianism. As they did not like to retain God in their
knowledge, their schools, their Universities, they were given
over to a mind void of true judgment.
Paul now lists many different kinds of reprobate practices,
thoughts, and ways of living. Greed, hate, envy, murder,
fighting, deception, malicious behavior, gossip, backstabbers,
haters of God, proudness, boastful. He says they are forever
inventing new ways of sin and evil, which include ways to be
disobedient to parents, ways to not understand truth, ways to
break promises, and ways to be heartless and unforgiving.
Paul says they know that death is the penalty for those who
live like this, yet they go ahead and live that way, and they
have pleasure in those that also live like they do (verses
Paul now talks about those who "judge" or "condemn" others,
but they themselves do the same kind of wrong things they are
condemning others about. Those who do commit such things as he
just mentioned have a sure judgment of God coming upon them. If
you do the same things that you condemn others for, then be sure
that God will one day bring judgment upon you. You may think God
is not looking, so not going to do anything about your sins, but
this patience and longsuffering and goodness of God in not
dealing with you swiftly is to allow you to come to repentance.
If you do not, then you store up for yourself even more wrath for
that coming day of wrath and judgment of God (verses 1-5).
God is one day going to render to every person what they
deserve to have, according to their deeds or the way they have
lived. To those who patiently continue in well doing, and seek
for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life will be given.
But for those who do not OBEY the TRUTH, but obey
UN-righteousness, there will be indignation and wrath (verses
These two verses are packed with great truths. Salvation is
more than JUST "believing on" Jesus Christ. It is moving on from
that point to full repentance from sin, and to serving and
seeking, to do "well" or in other words to do God's will, as
Jesus once said, "Not my will be done, but your will be done."
True Christianity is "seeking" for glory and immortality. It is
not gaining salvation by "works" but it is having the right
mind-set to walk the straight and narrow pathway that leads to
life, and Jesus Himself said, there are few who find that path
and will walk it, but He said, that it was the wide pathway that
led to destruction and death. This is all in the very words of
Jesus if we will but read all His words as recorded in the
Gospels. For those who have the true mind that the Lord wants to
see, there will be eternal life at the end of the trail.
But to those who will not obey the truth (and God's word is
truth - John 17:17) but obey UN-righteousness (and righteousness
is the keeping of God's commandments - see Ps.119:172), there
will be indignation and wrath from God, at the end of their
Paul thinks this very important for he repeats it again in
verses 9-11. Those that do or live a life of evil, no matter who
you are, and you never repent of it, there will be anguish for
them. You may remember Jesus saying that some would be on the
outside of the Kingdom of God looking in, never having made it,
and they would be weeping and crying. You may remember Jesus also
saying that some would say, "Lord, Lord, have we not done
miracles in your name, but I will answer them, that I never knew
you, depart from me you that work iniquity" (Greek is
"lawlessness" - see Mat.5:21-27). A willingness to serve and obey
God is a PART of salvation. Those who will not do good and obey
God, will not be in His Kingdom. Those who will work good, will
obey the truth, will be willing to follow righteousness, will
have glory, honor, peace. There is no respecter of persons with
God, all, whoever you are, will be treated under those two
overall headings of a willingness to follow "righteousness" or
who follow "un-righteousness."
Paul then puts emphasis on those who "know better" - who do
NOT know the law and ways of God (for they have not in this life
time had their blindness to God removed, they have never been
called to salvation) will die this physical dead (they will in
the future be raised in a resurrection to have a chance of
salvation. I covered this in great detail as we went through the
Gospels). But for those who DO KNOW the law, have been called
to salvation, shall be judged by the word of God and the law of
God, were they WILLING to have the mind-set of WANTING to follow
the truth of God and obey His law, or were they NOT willing to do
Paul now gives a verse/s (which are to be understood in a
"parenthesis" to verse 15) that many do not want to read, or they
ignore it, because of false teachers that have taught them false
doctrines of the FULL way of salvation. Paul say, "For not the
hearers (only) of the law, are justified before God, but the
DOERS of the law shall be justified" (verses 12-13).
It is not that we "earn" justification" by "law keeping" -
but we are justified or forgiven our sins and made at-one with
God, through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus and His shed blood
on the cross for our sins. But ONLY those who will then move on
and will have the attitude of mind as to want to obey truth and
righteousness, will God apply the blood sacrifice of Jesus' death
to their sins. God sees the heart, He wants REPENTANCE from sin
and the wrong way of living, to an attitude of mind that will
want to serve and live His way of life. Only those with that
change of heart and mind will God justify through Jesus Christ.
Paul here demonstrates that even the Gentiles which did not
have a direct revelation from God, like Israel did, concerning
His law, often enacted some of God's laws, as through human logic
- many without the knowledge of God can see that "stealing
from each other" is not a good thing to do, nor is going around
"killing" people good for their society. So, Paul is arguing, if
this is the case with those who did not "know" God, then it is
more important for those who have had God's "law" revealed to
them. You must be willing to be a law abiding person if you want
to be granted forgiveness of justification.
It is like this, if the judge forgives you for a traffic
violation (say, going through a red light), he is not declaring
you can go through all the red light you like from then on out.
To have his pardon you must be willing to live within the law.
Verse 16 is connected to verse 12. Those who have the way
of the Lord revealed to them, the revealed law of God, will be
judged by that law, "in the day" when God shall judge all people
by Jesus Christ. You may recall Jesus saying in the Gospels that
"all judgment" had been given to Him by the Father.
Paul now gets specific towards "Jews" who often boasted that
they had an "inner circle" position with God, so they could
instruct others of His ways. It was not much good teaching
others not to steal if they were themselves stealing, or teaching
others not to practice adultery if they were guilty of doing it.
If they were boasting by having God's law, then that very law
convicted them of breaking that law. They were being hypocrites
and so the Gentiles would then blaspheme God, laugh at the God
the Jews held up as being the one and only true God (verses
For the Jews to put their confidence and trust in physical
circumcision, as somehow showing they were the children of God,
was to Paul, utter falsehood and meaningless. For, some physical
act on some skin of the body could not possibly make one who is
living in conflict to God's law, a child of God, or put them in
"spiritual" at-one-ment with the Almighty. A true spiritual Jew,
Paul said, was not of the physical flesh but of the mind and
heart and spirit of a person. God indeed looks at the heart not
the flesh (verses 25-29).
Let me put it all another way:
(adding this in April 2011)
Verse 12. Paul is simply saying if you sin not knowing the law (not being called to salvation)
you will just die not being called. But if you know the law (being called to salvation)
and you sin in the law (just refuse God's calling, or believe you can live practicing sin)
you are then judge by the law (sin remains - you are unforgiven - you face the second death).
As Paul goes on to say if you just hear the law (hear the Gospel but it goes in one ear and
out the other - not being called - blindness still not taken away) but do not act - you ain't
going to be forgiven - come under grace. Only those who act upon the law or gospel -
who live or practice the way of life of God - who go on to be chosen - will be forgiven
and justified - come under grace.
Paul continues - so some Gentiles just from natural nature know it is not wise to kill others
(say from another tribe) as the other tribe will kill in revenge.
Oh, now verses 13-15 should be in ( ) it is a parenthetical thought. Paul showing that just
hearing or having some points of the law in your natural society does not justify you, in
salvation, although you at least follow those laws you know, at least your not a hypocrite).
He is telling his readers who are supposed to be Christians that the only way you can be
saved, justified - forgive - under grace - is to PRACTICE the law. If you have been called
and you KNOW the law (law and grace truth) and you do not practice it - you will be
judged by that law. He is correcting the idea that some were already having that grace
did away with law - you did not have to practice it and could sin willfully. See the previous
Verse 12 should be connected to verse 16. "....and as many as have sinned in the law
(being called - blindness removed) shall be judged by the law. In the day when God shall
judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel."
He is talking to the Jews of Rome (who have said they are Christians) and have vanity in
being Jews, because they had some knowledge of God's truth, were given the law,
saying they knew His will, boasting in God; BUT they (these Christian Jews at Rome)
were turning God's grace into a license to live in sin. Knowing one thing, but doing another,
saying one thing but doing another (which even the Gentiles at least observed some of the
laws of God, from natural common sense knowledge and were not hypocrites). But here
were Christian Jews, having a past history of God's word, truths and knowledge, but they
were saying one thing and doing another, they were proud in God but were really hypocrites.
The context of the whole chapter is to correct Christian Jewish hypocrites. Just because they
were Jews, given knowledge of God and His law, and had some vanity in all that, really meant
NOTHING if they were not LIVING, PRACTICING, the law and truths of God. Notice ---
verse 18 "...knowing his will, ...being instructed out of the law" and "Confident that you are
a guide to the blind, a light of them which are in darkness. And an instructor of the foolish,
teacher of babes, which have a FORM of knowledge and of the truth in the law."
So Paul goes on to say, okay if you want to teacher others do you not teach yourself at
the same time. The rest of the verses show they were claiming to teach others of this law
or that law but all the time they were living, PRACTICING, breaking the law (note it in verses
23,24). These Christian Jews at Rome were already turning the grace of God into a license to sin.
It's the same old Catholic and Protestant teaching we have today - grace does away with law,
or the law has been abolished. Paul spent chapter upon chapter in Romans to prove such a
teaching was as false a doctrine as you could possibly get.
And in this chapter he brings in that even some pagan people had more sense about law,
than some of the Christian Jews at Rome. Those Gentiles would simply die without being called -
they were not going to be judged by the law, because they really did not know the full truths of God,
were not being called, were still in blindness per se.
But the Christian Jews at Rome.....wow they were in some deep trouble, because first they had
a past history of knowing God in a much greater way than pagan Gentiles, and now that they were
called and claimed to be Christians, and had some proudness being Jews, Paul was aware that
many of such, were not LIVING, PRACTICING, what they preached. They were turning the
grace of God into a license to live in sin. And other chapters in Romans, Paul cames back to the
same topic, over and over - being under grace does not mean we can practice living in sin.
And using your Jewishness or being Jewish made such a teaching even more disgraceful.
Paul was combating Jewish vanity of Christian Jews, at Rome, who were thinking they could
teach others the right way of God while they themselves were living, practicing as a way of life, sin.
As Jude later said, turning the grace of God into a license to sin.
(This was added in April 2011)
So the argument would possibly come back to Paul, "What
advantage then had the Jews, why did God call a specific people
to Himself and reveal to them His ways and laws, if it was of the
heart that God looked and not in any way to the physical people
He had chosen so long ago?"
Ah, there was an advantage said the apostle, not really
anything spiritual per se, but to them, the Jews, the oracles or
ways of God had been committed. They had them and they were
intended by God to preserve them, which they certainly had done
by writing them down or passing them on from generation to
generation. Even if some did not believe in God and His
righteousness and laws, did that mean they could not
preserve the oracles of God? Paul answers by saying, "God
forbid!" It was to be a divine miracle shall we say, that the
oracles of God would be preserved through the Jews, the
Lord would make sure they preserved it all correctly, as to the
nuts and bolts in a figure of speech, but not the "added
traditions" that the Jewish leaders invented at times. But
God would make sure that the nuts and bolts of His truth would be
preserved through human people, in this instance the Jews, who
have preserved the Old Testament.
Then some argued that Paul taught a kind of "grace of God
which was amplified by sin" - given more glory because of sin, so
they argued Paul was teaching that you should sin MORE so God's
grace and goodness to forgive through Christ, could be even
more glorious. To them Paul was saying, "Let us to evil that good
may come of it." Paul taught NO such idea or doctrine (verses
Now Paul precedes to go into a LONG explanation of sin, the
law, justification, Christ's sacrifice, and the spiritual
symbolism of water baptism. He precedes to show that the teaching
of "works to justification by law observance" is an incorrect
theology, but at the same time, the theology of teaching that
justification through Christ's sacrifice does AWAY with having to
obey the law, is just as incorrect.
In verses 9-19 he uses the familiar Scriptures to them
then, the Old Testament, to prove that no matter who you are,
EVERYONE on earth, now and before, were and are sinners. The
Scriptures used are: Ps. 14:1-3; 5:9; Jer. 5:16; Ps.140:3; Ps.
10:7; Prov. 1:16; Isaiah 59:7,8; Ps. 36:1; Job.5:16; Ps.107:42.
All the world is guilty of breaking God's law, and those who
then have God's law and word, to read and study, should know
clearly that this is the truth of the matter. It is from looking
into the law, letting it be a looking glass for us, that we can
ascertain what sin IS. And so as Paul says in verse 20, by doing
the deeds of the law, after we look into it, no one can be
justified or forgiven sins, or made at-one with God. The law does
not "acquit" you - "forgive" you - it only reveals to you where
you have missed the mark, where you have broken the law, and so
shows that you are guilty.
If you break a number of traffic laws, and you see the laws
written on the books so to speak, you realize you are a law
breaker, and are under the penalty of breaking those laws. Just
because you now start to obey them, does not automatically cancel
and make void, the penalty you have incurred for breaking those
laws. So it is with God's law. It shows you that you are a
sinner, and have the penalty of sin hanging over you for
breaking those laws. Turning around and observing them, doing the
deeds of the law, does not justify or forgive the penalty of
Paul then explains what the "law and the prophets" (Old
Testament) always said and foretold, that justification or
forgiveness of sins, and being righteous in God's sight,
would be accomplished not by "law works" or "law obedience" but
by "faith of Jesus Christ" to those who believe that sins are
forgiven by His sacrifice for sins on the cross.
Because all have sinned and so incurred the penalty for sin,
no amount of law keeping can cancel those sins, just as I
explained above. So, justification or being righteous in the
sight of the Lord, can only be by His grace through the
redemption work of Christ Jesus (verses 21-24).
It is like this. You have broken the traffic laws, you have
a penalty hanging over you for those transgressions. The laws
have condemned you to face the penalty for breaking them. The
judge of the land has a son who is willing to take the penalties
upon himself, hence you can have those transgressions forgiven,
by having faith in the judge's son that he has indeed taken your
broken laws upon himself and paid the penalty. So, it is through
the judge's grace you can be forgiven and be declared righteous,
be looked upon as if you had never broken those laws.
Paul says in verse 25 and 26, that God set forth Christ to
be that atoning work, by having faith in His shed blood for your
sins, and so the goodness of God is thus manifested for the
cancelling of the past sins you did. Now you are looked upon by
the judge (the heavenly Father) as being sinless and righteous,
just as if you had never broken any laws in the first place.
Under that system, that was always the plan of God, for your
justification, there can never be any boasting, for it was truly
only by the judge's grace you are forgiven, and not in any way by
working at law-keeping to EARN your forgiveness of sins. So the
simple conclusion to it all is that forgiveness of sins, being
justified, is done without the deeds of the law (verses 27,28).
Going back to our example of traffic violations on your
part, you cannot come to the judge and say that you have now
obeyed the law of not going through red lights, say a thousand
times, and have so earned the right to be forgiven of the one
time you disobeyed that law before you kept it a thousand times.
The laws of the land, breaking them, incurring a penalty, and
then obeying them, do NOT work in any automatic way to cancel the
transgressions, just because you obeyed them. A "murderer" is not
automatically forgiven of the one murder he did, just because he
kept the law of not murdering, ten thousand times after he
deliberately killed someone. Hence it is not possible that law
keeping can forgive you of the penalty you deserve for the times
you broke the law.
God is one God of ALL people, Paul argues, and so His way of
forgiving you of sins is the same for all people. So if you were
of the circumcision people - Jews, or if of the un-circumcised
people - Gentiles, both are justified, forgiven sins, and so
righteous in His sight, by FAITH in and through Jesus as the
judge's son who took all sins of all people, upon himself. The
Judge and the Son make it possible for your sins to be cancelled,
and so it is indeed by grace you can be righteous in God's sight,
and not by working at the deeds of the law to amass more "good
points" than bad ones, and so somehow automatically earn
forgiveness of sins (verses 29-30).
Naturally, this truth that Paul is explaining, would be
jumped upon by some to say that this theology of Paul's would
mean you do not need to OBEY the law. Paul answers this
anticipated argument right away by stating, "Do we then make VOID
the law through faith? GOD FORBID! No, we ESTABLISH the law"
The faith we exhibit towards God, must be a faith that LEADS
to a mind-set that is willing to OBEY or establish the law.
After you are forgiven by the judge through his son, all your
traffic violations, both of them expect you will go forth with
that faith and OBEY the traffic laws. That is how the law,
transgression of the law, and forgiveness of those
transgressions, would work in any normal country in our world
today, if in the context of what we are leaning here from Paul.
Grace, and faith in that grace or mercy, does NOT mean you
can henceforth live as a law breaker, not at all, in fact it
means the very opposite - you go forth with that faith
and OBEY the law.
This was the END result of what Paul said was the true
understanding of justification by faith.
He then wanted to hammer home more about the truth of
justification by faith, and went to the example of one of the
Jew's fathers - the great servant of God - Abraham.
TO BE CONTINUED