If one has been justified, their life should be characterized by humility and love (Romans 12:3–21). One should fulfill his role in the body of Christ and not think too highly of himself (12:3–8). The main characteristic of a believer should be the love he has for others (12:9–21). A believer should submit to the authority that God places in charge, even if the authorities are unbelieving (13:1–14). Also, in the area of Christian liberty, one must be humble and not judge other believers. Out of love for the weaker brother, one should relinquish his own “rights”, bring glory to God, and not cause his brother to stumble (14:1–15:13)
Though Israel was God’s chosen people, when Israel rejected God, it did not frustrate his sovereign plan (Romans 9:1–29). Paul expresses a lot of grief in this section (9:1–5). He argues that the promise is not for all of Abraham’s descendants. The proof of this is that the child of the promise, Isaac, was the one that was chosen and not Ishmael. Even with Jacob and Esau, who had the same mother and were born at the same time, God chose to show mercy to Jacob (9:6–13). What it comes down to is that God can choose to whom he will grant or withhold his mercy (9:14–18). Israel has been rejected at this time. God is now pursuing others and is providing salvation for them (9:30–10:21). However, God has not cast out Israel, and there is a future for Her (11:11–32). Though this does not make sense to man now, he will in the future see the depths of God’s wisdom and knowledge (11:33–36).
Sanctification is the process of living a holy life (6:1–14). Once one is justified, he is now dead to sin (6:1–2). He needs to realize that he is a new creation (6:3–10). His desire to live in his old ways should be gone, and he should consider himself dead to sin (6:11). Absolutely, one must present his body to God as an instrument of righteousness (6:12–14). There should be a contrast between one’s new life and his old life, since he has a new Master to serve (6:17–23).
There is a future glorification that a believer is guaranteed, and the present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to it (8:18). All of creation, including believers, groans because it is awaiting the future glorification of God’s children (8:19–25). Even the Holy Spirit groans and intercedes for the believer (8:26–27). Since God is in complete control, the believer has the assurance that God’s plan can not ever be interfered with. Even if the believer has to go through suffering, it is part of God’s plan to bring glory to himself (8:28–30). The one who is justified can not ever be separated from God, because no one can bring a charge against God’s elect. (8:31–39).
Since man was in rebellion against God, God reached out to man and provided salvation for him. Only God can provide the righteousness needed to obtain a right standing with a holy God. This righteousness is obtained through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross, and man receives this righteousness through faith. This faith does not cancel out the Law, rather it satisfies the legal requirements of it (Romans 3:31).
Faith justification is the only kind possible because it removes any natural advantages (3:27–31). This is not a new teaching, because the Old Testament even teaches faith justification. Abraham was not justified by his works (4:1–8), or by circumcision (4:9–12), or even by the Law (4:13–17). One can only be justified by faith, just as Abraham was (4:1–17).
Justification has many benefits (5:1–11). The one who is justified now has peace with God and a hope in God. Also, he now has a right standing before God (5:1–2). The one who is justified can boast in many things (5:2-11). He can boast in the hope of God’s glory. He can also boast in troubles, because those troubles will bring about perseverance, proven character, and hope (5:3–5). Since God demonstrated his love to a world that was in rebellion against him by sending his unique Son to die for the ungodly (5:6–10), the justified can boast in God, because he is now in a right relationship with God (5:11). Thankfully, since God sent his Son, man’s sin problem is now solved (5:12–21).
Paul begins his argument by saying that all of mankind is condemned and that God’s righteousness is needed (1:18–3:20). God’s wrath is being shown to man because they continually reject him (1:18), and the wrath that is coming is definitely deserved (1:19–32). Man even knows within his heart that there is a God, but he still rejects him. The creation is even crying out to mankind, “Look, there is a God” (1:20–21). Unfortunately, man still rejects God. All of mankind is in opposition against God, and man is without an excuse. Since God has revealed himself in the creation, man cannot defend himself (1:20).
Paul continues to argue that all Gentiles are condemned (1:18–32), to which the Jewish audience was probably saying, “Amen.” Then Paul continues to show how the Jews are in just as bad of shape as the Gentiles (2:1–3:8). The Jews even had many advantages compared to the Gentiles, but this just helps show the wickedness of man’s heart. It is interesting how Paul shows that the Gentiles do not have the Law, but they do things of the Law, because the Law is written on their hearts (2:14). The Jews, who had the Law, and the Gentiles, who only knew the Law in their hearts, are both condemned because righteousness does not come from the Law, but from God.
Now that Jews and Gentiles have been shown that they are in rebellion against God, Paul shows that man is helpless unless God intervenes. Paul continues his argument by saying that there is absolutely no one who is righteous or even seeks after God (3:9–18). Man’s only hope without God is to keep the Law (3:19a). Unfortunately, no one can keep the Law fully. The only thing that the Law does is condemn mankind (19b). Without a doubt, the Law can not justify anyone (1:20). This leaves man totally helpless to save himself. He is in desperate need of God’s righteousness. If God does not do any thing to reach out to man, then man will be lost forever.
Tomorrow: Part 2: Salvation