Romans Lesson 13

A big thanks to Barbaranne Kelly for filling in as I traveled. And thank you to all of you who have faithfully worked through this study with us.

Let’s wrap up our study with a few points to ponder.

Other religions are about being saved through works to give to God a righteousness. Christianity is about being saved through receiving from God a righteousness, without any works from us.

“The subject then of these chapters may be stated thus — that man’s only
righteousness is through the mercy of God in Christ which being offered by the
gospel is apprehended by faith.”
– John Calvin on Romans

In the last few chapters we discussed judging one another, and Paul emphasized that there are disputable matters that include food and drink and many other areas that are not explicitly prohibited in the bible. Paul also discussed our unity as Christians in chapter 15 and our responsibilities to each other.

We also see that women were prominent in the Roman church. Ten of the twenty-seven Christians whom Paul greets in Romans 16 are women (more than one-third). Six of them (Phoebe [vv. 1–2], Priscilla [v. 3], Junia [v. 7], Tryphena [v. 12],
Tryphosa [v. 12], and Persis [v. 12]) are specifically commended for their labor in the Lord. There is nothing that shows that any women held authority over men in the early community.

Let’s end with a few quotes on the epistle of Romans:

“This epistle [i.e., Romans] is really the chief part of the New Testament, and is truly the purest gospel. It is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but also that he should occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. We can never read it or ponder over it too much; for the more we deal with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.”1Martin Luther, “Preface to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans,” in Word and Sacrament I, ed. E. Theodore Bachmann, vol. 35 of Luther’s Works

“When any one understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.”2John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, ed. and trans. John Owen (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1947), xxiv.

“All roads in the Bible lead to Romans, and all views afforded by the Bible are seen most clearly from Romans, and when the message of Romans gets into a person’s heart there is no telling what may happen.”3J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 20th Anniversary Ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 230.

Romans is “the most important theological, Christian work ever written.”4John Piper, “The Author of the Greatest Letter Ever Written: First in a Series of Messages on Romans,” Desiring God (website), April 26, 1998, https:// www .desiring god .org/.


  • 1
    Martin Luther, “Preface to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans,” in Word and Sacrament I, ed. E. Theodore Bachmann, vol. 35 of Luther’s Works
  • 2
    John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, ed. and trans. John Owen (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1947), xxiv.
  • 3
    J. I. Packer, Knowing God, 20th Anniversary Ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 230.
  • 4
    John Piper, “The Author of the Greatest Letter Ever Written: First in a Series of Messages on Romans,” Desiring God (website), April 26, 1998, https:// www .desiring god .org/.

Romans Lesson 12


The Christian and the Governing Authorities (Romans 13:1-7)

“What [Paul] writes is specially remarkable when we recall that at that time there were no Christian authorities (global, regional, or local). On the contrary they were Roman and Jewish, and were therefore largely unfriendly and even hostile to the church. Yet Paul regarded them as having been established by God, who required Christians to submit to them and cooperate with them.” – John Stott, Romans

Most of us are tempted at times to let the values of the world influence us. We also can be tempted to run from the world, to withdraw or ignore this world. God has not called us to abandon the world, but to live his values while we live in this world. We might even find that we turn our backs on some good things that God intends for us. Government is one of those things! So one of the reasons that Paul brings up the need for Christians to submit to governing authorities is to squelch this anti-world extremism. Christians should recognize government as a means that God has used to right wrongs and to punish evil.

Paul makes it clear that we must submit to the governing authorities. This word, submit, is an unpopular word in in our worlds. Yet, he tells us we are to submit to these authorities. Keep in mind, he was not talking about some very ethical government, but the pagan Roman Empire! So we cannot refuse to obey our governing authorities because they may be corrupt and evil. This theme of submission is all throughout scripture…..submitting to God, children submitting to parents, wives to husbands (Eph. 5:24), members to church leaders, and yes, even slaves to masters (Titus 2:9).

What does submission to government mean? Continue reading “Romans Lesson 12”

Romans Lesson 11

God’s Plan for Israel (Romans 11:25-26)

Paul refers to the future of Israel as a mystery. The entire section is built on the framework of a series of events in salvation history. These events involve God using Jews and gentiles to accomplish his plan of salvation. Paul revisits the point he made in 11:7-10, namely that God has chosen to harden some Israelites to the truth of the Gospel.  But, this hardening is only “partial.” Elect Israelites—what Paul calls a “remnant” will be saved (Rom 11:5).

Does he mean every Jew? There are several viewpoints about the meaning of these verses. All Israel being saved could refer to a mass conversion of ethnic Jews at the end of history. Another view is that “all Israel” is referring to a remnant of ethnic Jews who are saved both in Paul’s day and throughout history. He implies also that Jews in his own day will be grafted in if they believe (Romans 11:23). He might even be implying that both would happen. Whatever God’s plan, He is not done with Israel, and makes it clear that there is an elect within their numbers. Continue reading “Romans Lesson 11”

Romans Lesson 10

Remember that Paul is addressing the Christian church in Rome, which  now has a larger Gentile membership than Jewish.  He deals with some aspects of conflict between the two groups, and addresses some very thorny issues prior to his visit to Rome. He especially wants to show how it embraces Gentiles without breaking continuity with the Old Testament.

Has Israel been abandoned by God?

In our earlier lessons, we see Paul answering the very profound question, “Why are some saved and not others?”. We see that salvation by grace naturally leads to the doctrine of election. Nothing we do can save us.

Let’s move to Romans 11:1-11. Paul’s first explanation picks up the idea of the remnant, which he introduced in Romans 9:27–29. Isaiah has predicted that “the remnant will be saved” (9:27, quoting Isa. 10:22). Continue reading “Romans Lesson 10”

Romans Study Resumes January 18th

Ladies, we will pick up our study next Wednesday the 18th at 10 a m. You can review by reading/skimming through our posts from the fall. Feel free to bring visitors, always. You can easily scroll through all the summaries here at our blog. We plan to finish by the end of February.

Romans Lesson 9

This was our last class for the fall. We will resume in mid January.



Romans 10:1-13 : There are Only Two Kinds of Religious Systems in the World

Paul uses these contrasts to explain why salvation history has taken such a surprising turn. Jews, who have so many blessings and to whom so many promises have been made, make up a small percentage of the people of God in the gospel era. Gentiles, on the other hand, have responded to the gospel in significant numbers. Continue reading “Romans Lesson 9”

Romans Lesson 8

Note, our last fall class will be next Wednesday November 9th.


By the time Paul wrote Romans, the general makeup of the early church was composed of many gentiles and relatively few Jews. Paul and the other early Christians proclaimed that the messianic salvation had come through Jesus of Nazareth. Why, then, was Israel not being redeemed, as the Old Testament has promised? Why was the church a mainly gentile body? Had the church replaced Israel?

Romans 9:1-5

Why Are Some Saved and Not Others?

We see Paul struggled with this issue emotionally: “I have great sorrow…”. As a whole, Israel had rejected the Messiah. Paul felt anguish over the fact that his fellow Jews (Israel) had rejected Christ. Paul’s offer to “cut himself off” resembles the response of Moses when he found the people of Israel fashioning a golden calf and worshiping it. (Exo  32:30-32). Continue reading “Romans Lesson 8”

Romans Lesson 7

Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones (1899-1981) describes chapter 8 this way: “one of the brightest gems of all… that in the whole of Scripture the brightest and most lustrous and flashing stone, or collection of stones, is the Epistle to the Romans, and that of these this is the brightest gem in the cluster.” It took him 77 sermons to preach through this chapter!

In this chapter, the word “Spirit” appears 21 times. The Spirit, however, is not Paul’s focus. He doesn’t tell us a lot about the Spirit, but tells us what it is that the Spirit does. He connects Christians to the life and hope that we have seen since Romans 5. The Spirit makes us aware that we are God’s own children and that as his children we can expect a wonderful inheritance someday.

In Romans 5:12–21, Paul has taught that believers belong to Jesus Christ and therefore are rescued from the condemnation that all people suffer in Adam.

Rom 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

Condemnation is a legal term, meaning one is guilty of a crime. It is the verdict. yet, in 8:1, Paul tells us that “those who are in Christ Jesus” need not fear condemnation. If you will remember last week in chapter 7 the phrase “law of sin” refers to a power or authority exercised by sin. We are set free from that law by “the law of the Spirit who gives life.” Continue reading “Romans Lesson 7”

Romans Lesson 6

“If you are burdened by weariness, even a weariness to the point of despair in trying to work for God’s acceptance of you, in trying to get God to forgive you, and trying earn His favor, in trying to condition His grace, then Paul has some remarkably good news for you in this great passage. On the other hand, if you are not burdened by your sin, and a sense of your inadequacy, and if you think that you commend yourself to God, apart from Jesus Christ, then Paul has some ominous news for you in this passage. ” Ligon Duncan

This passage is easily outlined. Verse 1 is Paul’s statement of a principle. Verses 2 and 3 are Paul’s illustration of that principle. And verses 4 through 6 are his application of that principle .


In Romans 7:1-6 Paul explains how it that we are not under law but grace. The principle is that death sets you free from the legal obligations of the law. He says the law is binding on a person as long as he lives. The law cannot be a solution to our sin problem as we have already violated it and it is permanently binding. How then can we restore our relationship with our heavenly Father? Continue reading “Romans Lesson 6”