LESSON EIGHT: ROMANS
For I am not ashamed of the good news of Messiah, for it is the power of G-d unto redemption for everyone who trusts, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For in the good news, the righteousness of G-d is revealed by trusting Him, and in trusting Him; as it is written, “The righteous ones will live by their trust [future tense] in G-d.”
Romans 1:16-17 (my paraphrase)
- We have seen that the battleground issues of the Apostolic Scriptures are:
- Kingdom of Light vs Kingdom of Darkness
- Gentles included by faith in Messiah vs Gentiles must go through ritual conversion
- The Epistle to the Congregation in Rome (Romans) deals with both of these issues.
Romans – Focus on Redemption
- Romans magnificently lays out the entire plan of redemption. It painstakingly follows the progressive style of the Torah in making the case for redemption. Out outlines redemption like this:
- Sin has separated us from HaShem.
- That our disobedience to HaShem’s instructions is the definition for sin.
- That a renewed relationship with G-d is what matters – not adherence to a religious system. The goal is to be “back in the Garden with Him” – thus it is through that faith that we are led back to the Presence of G-d.
- The “Law’s” purpose was never to lead us back itself – but to define the problem – and to reveal HaShem’s righteousness to us. Only Messiah can take us back.
- G-d’s faithful promises to Israel are proof of His faithfulness to all called by Him.
- To respond to our redemption with loving service [avodah] to HaShem.
The Problem and Solution
- 1:16-22ff: The “Good News” reveals G-d’s righteousness. G-d’s righteous standard is lived out in faith. Trusting HaShem is the way to be restored to Him.
- Our disobedience to G-d’s righteous standard is what drove us from His Presence. Our disobedience in the Garden revealed our lack of trusting of Him.
- All men know that G-d has a righteous standard. All know that they have been removed from His Presence because rebellion revealed a lack of trusting of Him.
- 2:1-9: Man’s rebellion continues. In it, man reveals his lack of trusting of HaShem. Rebellion/Sin keeps man from G-d.
- 2:10-16: Disobedience to the written instructions, and the instructions that all know reveal that both Jew and Gentile still rebel against G-d.
- 2:25-29: Gentile inclusion point: Being Jewish does not automatically restore one to HaShem’s Presence. One must be more than “ritually Jewish” – one must be in relationship with HaShem, which comes by His work on our behalf.
- 3:1-4: G-d’s faithfulness to Israel reveals His faithfulness to all He has called.
- 3:20-31: G-d’s work on our behalf is what restores our trusting of Him. He calls us into relationship and our trusting Him deals with our sin.
- Our trusting of G-d is evidenced by outward righteousness – we cease rebellion and obey His instructions.
- 4:1-4: Remember, it is not outward righteousness that restores us to HaShem’s Presence, we must trust Him to restore the relationship – Abraham is an example of this.
- 6:1-7: Being redeemed and restored to G-d is not evidenced by rebellion. Continued rebellion is only evidence of a lack of trusting of G-d.
- Don’t blame G-d’s instructions. Our disobedience to them is the problem.
- 7:1-5: Our disobedience to G-d’s instructions reveals our lack of trusting of Him. Without a relationship with Him, we are dead. As rebellious people, when we knew what G-d instructed us to do, we rebelled against Him. Our trusting Messiah “resurrects us.”
- 7:6-11: G-d’s instructions, which were meant for my good; because of my rebellion only brought me death. The commandment was not the problem. The problem was me.
- 7:12-16: G-d’s instructions continue to help see where I am not trusting Him. G-d uses them in spiritual work on my behalf.
G-d’s Faithfulness to Israel Reveals He is Trustworthy
- 9:30-10:13: The Torah does not by itself produce righteousness. It points to Messiah. Messiah leads us back. He is the point.
- 10:17: Do you want to trust G-d? Submit to Him. His Word brings trusting. He reveals His faithfulness to Israel.
- 11:1-2: If HaShem has cast off Israel, then He will certainly cast off everyone… because we all sin.
- 11:11-13: To Paul, the revelation of Gentile inclusion is the avenue for redemption not only for Gentiles… but for all Israel.
- 11:25-29: The gifts and calling of G-d are irrevocable. Beware, those who damn the descendants of Jacob.
Result of Redemption? Loving Avodah
- 12:1-2: Temple language. The language of redemption. We are redeemed in order to serve Him. Avodah is the service of love and relationship. One cannot say he loves G-d and still live in rebellion to His instructions.
- Romans encapsulates the redemption message. It does so in terms of the two main conflicts of the Apostolic Scriptures: Leaving the Kingdom of Darkness, entering the Kingdom of Light; and both Jew and Gentile have been called to the Kingdom of Light.