Highlights in Romans/Brief Comments


Introductory Prologue
1. The writer of Romans called himself Paul, (1:1) and a servant of Christ. The word translated “servant” (doulos) means bondservant or slave.
2. Since Paul was staying in the home of Gaius, a Christian at Corinth (Rom.16:23, I Cor.1:14), and he was in a city where Erastus was director of public works, near Cenchrea (16:1, 23; 2 Tim.4:20), he must have been in Corinth when he wrote the letter.
3. The central theme of Romans is “a righteousness from God through faith.” Our righteousness must be from God because man has no righteousness of his own (1:16, 17; 3:10, 23).
4. The main evidences of the deity of Christ (i.e., that He is divine) are the power demonstrated by his holiness and his resurrection (1:4).
5. The main objective of Paul’s apostleship was to lead the Gentiles to “obedience that comes from faith” (1:5; cf. 15:18).
6. Paul addresses the “saints” at Rome. A saint (hagios: also translated “holy” and “sanctified”) is a person set apart for the service of God (1:7). All Christians are saints.
7. Paul’s basic attitude toward preaching was that he was debtor or obligated; he was eager or ready, and he was not afraid of being put to shame by the message, its claims, or a failure of the gospel (1:13-16).
8. The gospel is powerful to save because it contains “a righteousness from God.” This righteousness and power of God is in contrast to the unrighteousness of man and the weakness of human merit that brings condemnation (1:17).
9. The gospel is powerful to save, but the law is weak in the flesh of man (1:16; cf. 8:3). The gospel is powerful to save because it is based on righteousness from God, not from who we are or what we do.
10. In the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed to lead man a step beyond his faith in Jesus as the Christ unto faith in his own personal relationship with God (1:17).
11. Those who are made righteous by faith–not by works of law–shall live because they are made alive by faith (1:17). But, those seeking to be saved by law are under the curse (Gal. 3:10).
12. The wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness and ungodliness of men, both Jew and Gentile (1:18).
13. Men are without excuse for their unrighteousness because God has made his nature. (moral character), the highest standard of good and truth, known and made it plain. He has been revealed even through creation showing His divine power and divine nature (1:20).
14. This extreme sinfulness that is described in 1:21-32 began with a failure to worship, i.e., give thanks and glorify Him (1:21). This led to such sinful motives and behavior that God gave them over to the sinful desires of their hearts and sexual impurity (1:24-25), shameful lusts (1:26-27), and to a depraved mind (1:28-32).
15. Those who condemn others and reject them also condemn themselves because they themselves are sinful also (2:1ff).
16. Under a legal system without Christ, God will judge according to truth, i.e., without favoritism–not on the basis of ethnic origin or some ceremonial rite like circumcision, but on the basis of deeds (2:5-11).
17. We have to choose between “law” and Christ. Those who are under the law will be judged by the law and condemned if not perfect (cf. Gal. 3:10). All who are not believers have rejected the Christ and will be judged by the law. However, faithful Christians will be judged by the gospel, which provides salvation for the imperfect on he basis of the blood of Christ (2:12-16).
18. The Jews who relied on the law for salvation and boasted about their relationship to God on the basis of their circumcision proved to be just as sinful as the Gentiles, by breaking the laws that they taught and causing God’s name to be blasphemed among the Gentiles (2:17-25).
19. Circumcision without the true faith is of no value at all unless circumcised persons either keep the law perfectly or become Christians; moreover, even those who are not circumcised would be justified if they kept the law perfectly (2:25-27).
20. The true Jews or true “circumcision” are not those who are physically circumcised, but don’t believe in Jesus. Circumcision was given to Abraham and his descendants as a sign of “salvation by faith”–the way Abraham was justified. True circumcision is the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit, and Christians are the true “circumcision” (2:20 29).
21. The chief advantage of the Jews is that they were given the Scriptures. The Scriptures revealed the promised Messiah to them, kept them from the depravity of the Gentiles, and kept them capable of receiving the Christ when He came, and made clear their sinfulness and need for the Christ (3:1ff).
22. Paul says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar” to let the Jews know that the unfaithfulness of some of them will not prevent God from fulfilling His promise to believers made in the Scriptures (3:3,4).
23. Paul quotes the Scriptures of the Jews to prove that Jews are not better than Gentiles. He states that no one is righteous. He also shows that the Scripture declares that “no one does good,” etc. To make sure that they understand that this means them, he points out that “whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law” (3:9-19).
24. In summary of the section beginning in 1:18, Paul says that no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law. The role of the law is to make men conscious of sin in their lives (3:20).
25. Paul summarizes the next section of the epistle in 2:21, 22 saying that now a righteousness from God, that is apart from the law and is by faith is available to all who believe. This righteousness has been made known through the law and the prophets. Thus, of all the people who should know about this and accept it, Jews should be the very first (3:21, 22).
26. When Paul declared that “there is no one who understands” (3:11), he means that no one understands the word perfectly enough to obey it perfectly and be saved by meritorious works. He does not mean that man cannot know God and his truth through the Scriptures–his revelation of himself.
27. In 3:23-26, Paul reveals the very heart of the gospel. He tells us that although all have sinned by coming short of the glory of God, God justifies us by grace and redeems us by Jesus Christ. Christ was sent to be propitiation, a payment to satisfy the penalty required for sin (Deut. 27:26; Rom.1:32; 6:23). God gave Jesus to pay our penalty and meet the demands of law so He could be just and justify us. This also made Him just in the leaving of the sins of believers in the Old Testament unpunished.
28. Justice demands that we meet the requirements of the law perfectly or pay for our sins (1:32; 6:23; 3:23-26). The gospel teaches that Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of all who believe (3:23-26). So, those who preach justification by faith rather than the law actually uphold the law, because it was to meet the requirements of the law that Jesus died. But those who claim salvation by law keeping, knowing that no one has kept it perfectly, actually overlook the necessity that the penalty for sin must met and deny the justice of God (3:31).
29. Since the nature of God is the highest standard of good and truth, to come short of the glory of God is sin, a sin of which all men are most certainly guilty (3:23).
30. The Scriptures declare that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” James tells us that his faith was joined with his works and his works made his faith complete. He adds that this perfect (complete) faith fulfilled the Scripture quoted by Paul. So, Abraham was justified by faith, but not by faith that would not obey (Rom. 4:1-3; James 2:22, 23).
31. When Paul says that one is justified by grace through faith, and not of works. He is speaking of works by which we would save ourselves, or make God a debtor to us. Such meritorious works would make salvation no longer a free gift (of grace)–but a debt God owes us. Such would be works in which man could boast of earning his salvation for himself (4:4, 5; Eph.2:8,9). Paul and James are speaking of two different kinds of works. James does not speak of works by which we could save ourselves, but works that are simply part and parcel of complete faith–works that actually make our faith complete (James 2:19-26).
32. Salvation by faith and apart from works is the same thing as forgiveness of sin; having sin covered; or having sin no more remembered against you (4:6-8).
33. Salvation apart from law means that meritorious works of law are not God’s way of saving man.
34. Abraham’s justification occurred before he was circumcised to give assurance that Gentiles who were never circumcised and Jews whose unbelief has made their circumcision as uncircumcision could all be saved if they believe (4:9-12).
35. Abraham and his offsprings were promised that they would be the heirs of the world through the righteousness that comes by faith–not because they were Jews; not because they were circumcised; and not by the law. The true offsprings of Abraham are not those of the law, but those who imitate the faith of Abraham (4:13-25, 9:6-9).
36. The one whose sins will not be counted against him (5:8) is the faithful Christian who is forgiven of his past sins and whose mistakes are presently and continually forgiven by the blood of Christ (cf. 1 John 1:7).
37. The words “it was credited to him” were written for us as well as for Abraham (4:23, 24). So our faith is credited to us for righteousness.
38. The justified have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, have access into grace, stand in grace, rejoice in hope, rejoice even in suffering, shall be saved from God’s wrath, and shall be saved through His life (5:1-11).
39. God spreads his love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He has given us (5:5). This love refers to God’s love for us that is also manifested through us to others.
40. Christian love is called the “love of God” because it is from God (5:5). The Greek Bible states this fact by using a genitive of source. John says that “love is from God,” so we can have it only if we maintain fellowship with God (1 John 4:7-12).
41. Christ died for the ungodly, while we were still powerless and under the control of sin. He died so that we could gain power to be free from the slavery of sin, through fellowship with God and access to his divine power (5:6; 6:17, 18).
42. The reality of and power of sin entered the world through Adam, and death reigned from the time of Adam. Sin reigned over those who did not break a commandment as Adam did, but sinned by coming short of the moral character of God (5:12-14).
43. God’s grace and the gift that came by this grace is “much more” than enough to overcome the power that sin gained through Adam. Through Christ we gain fellowship with God and access to His power; so that, in Christ, we have more than enough power to overcome the problem brought on by Adam’s sin (5:15-19).
44. Now where sin once reigned, grace, with its greater power, now reigns. It gives power to overcome our guilt and our slavery to sin. It gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ (5:21).
45. We cannot be perfect enough to be saved by our own merit. It is not who we are or what we do that saves us, but in whom we believe or trust for our salvation.
46. Christians should not engage in lifestyles characterized by sin because we have died to sin and should not live in it any longer. We were baptized into the death of Christ so that we could live a new life. Having been united with Christ in His death, we are united with Him in His resurrection. Christ died to sin so that He could live unto God; He died to sin in that sin no longer tempts nor troubles his resurrected body. We will someday be conformed to the likeness of the resurrected Son, when we are resurrected, but until then we are to partake in His death to sin and live unto God by the power provided to those in Him (6:1-8).
47. The baptism that puts us into Christ is called a burial, indicating that it is by immersion (6:3; cf. Col. 2:12; Acts 8:36-40).
48. Baptism is required because it puts us into Christ, the source of our salvation, and into His death, our victory over the slavery of sin (6:3).
49. The new life that we desire follows our baptism (6:4). Baptism is a form of the death, burial, and resurrection that declares to the world that we believe that t he death, burial, and resurrection are a fact, and that it is only by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (6:3-7).
50. Baptism most certainly does not merit (earn) our salvation; but it puts us into fellowship with Christ, who by his death merited (earned) our salvation (Rom. 4:1-8; Eph. 2:8-9).
51. In Christ, the human self is not made able to overcome sin, but rather the old man (i.e., the self) is crucified, so that sin might be made powerless, because sin works through the human self, the fleshly man (6:6).
52. Sin reigns in our mortal bodies if we obey the lust of our flesh (6:12).
53. The Christian is “not under the law, but under grace as a means of salvation. Though we are not under law as a means of salvation, nor under the curse of law, we are under God’s law as a guide in Christian conduct (6:15). We cannot sin, i.e., break the law of God, because we are not under law, but under grace. This shows that in this context “not under the law” does not mean free to do as we please or ignore the commandments of God. We are not under the law as a means of salvation. Yet, we are under law as a guide to Christian conduct.
54. When we obey from the heart the command that is a form of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (i.e., baptism, vv. 3-7), we are set free from sin (6:3-5,17,18).
55. Christians are free from the guilt of sin and from the slavery of sin both.
56. The passive voice verbs (being set free from sin) used in 6:17,18 indicates that we don’t set ourselves free from sin, but we are set free by the power of God working on our behalf.
57. Just as a marriage contract is broken by death, Paul says we are dead to the law (legal system) so we could accept the new covenant, the contract between Christ and us, a covenant of grace (7:1-4).
58. Our sinful passions are aroused in our bodies by the law (7:5, 8, 11). But by the Spirit we are freed to serve in the new way of life. Therefore, we must be set free from the law to be free from slavery to sin and free to serve righteousness (7:4-6).
59. Apart from the law, sin is dead, but, under the law, sin springs to life and arouses in man all kind of evil desires. Seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, sin puts man to death. The law was given so that man could see the utter sinfulness of sin and see his own sinfulness. This recognition of our sin motivates us to turn to Christ and to life through the Spirit (7:13).
60. The law is spiritual, but we are fleshly; therefore, we are sold as slaves to sin. The fact is that without Christ and the indwelling Spirit, we do things to which we do not consent. Since the law is a perfect product of God, and man is a creature marred by sin, we do wrong without knowing it. While we are without Christ and are fleshly people, under the law, we cannot keep the law if we want to. All men are either under the law or in Christ; therefore, all who are not Christians are under the law–a legal system–and will be judged by the law. Consequently, the lust of the flesh has a greater appeal through the law. Those without Christ and under law cannot keep the law, even if they want to. What they will to do, they don’t do, and what they hate to do, they do. Our only rescue from the power sin has over the body is through Christ, not through the law (7:14-25).
61. When man, after the inward man, desires to keep the law, there is another law in his members, the law of sin and death, which brings him into captivity to the power of sin. The law of sin and death is the evil desire, the lust of the flesh, in us. The law of the Spirit of Life (i.e., the power of the spirit that causes us to want to do good) which is a greater power, sets us free from the law of sin and death, i.e., the lust of the flesh (7:21-8:4).
62. Those who live according to the fleshly nature do so because they have their mind set on the desires of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Thus, whether we live like Christians or not depends on our “mind set,” or the state of our minds. We make the decisions about whether to be spiritual or carnal. Neither the Spirit nor the demonic powers arbitrarily make us live one way or the other. However, as long as we have our minds set on the flesh, we reject Christ and cannot submit to the law of God, because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God and cannot please God (8:5-8).
63. If we set our minds on the things of the Spirit, we accept Christ, and we are controlled by the indwelling Spirit rather than by the flesh (8:9).
64. If Christ is in us, our bodies, which were dead because of sin’s control, are made alive by the same power that raised Christ. So we should no longer be controlled by sin (8:11).
65. The law is powerless to save us. It is not powerless because it does not promise life on any condition. Furthermore, it is not powerless because law isn’t good. It is powerless because of the weakness of the flesh. The flesh makes man unable to perfectly act upon the conditions required by God’s perfect law (8:3; Galatians 3:10-13; Deut. 27:26).
66. Because of justification by the atoning death of Christ, the faithful Christian has forgiveness of past sins and continual cleansing from daily sins (cf. 1 John 1:6-9). Also, the Christian is empowered to overcome sin’s control and live a godly life by the power of the indwelling Spirit and fellowship with God. Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. By the law of the Spirit of life (i.e. the compelling power of the Spirit of life) Christians are set free from the law of sin and death (8:1-4).
67. Being led by the Spirit is evidence that we are sons of God. The Spirit bears witness that we are children of God (8:16). The Spirit bears witness by the Scriptures (Heb. 10:15), by the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-26), and through the change that He makes in our essential nature (8:1ff).
68. God’s children are his heirs, joint heirs with Christ. Our blessings as heirs begin when we are born into his family. We now enjoy the blessings of being his heirs and shall enjoy our inheritance after we die (8:15-17).
69. Although we are justified and sanctified, we still suffer temptation and trouble at the hands of Satan. The whole creation has been affected by the power gained by Satan through the sin of Adam. Satan also uses the earth and the elements in his effort to destroy men (cf. Gen. 3:17-19; Job 1:1-3,10). Thus, we look forward to a fuller redemption. Even the whole creation looks forward to redemption. We, through the powerful help of God, are promised that because of God’s help, all things work together for the good of the called people of God who love him. We still have hope that in the resurrection we shall be conformed to the image of the resurrected Christ; we will be immune to the temptation and trouble of Satan. He will no longer be able to use the natural elements to hurt man (8:18-30).
70. Even though sin can give us trouble, we are more than conquerors because God is working at our side. Since we are Christians, nothing can separate us from the love of God that we have through Christ (8:31-39).
71. On the basis of what he knows we will do about the conditions of salvation by grace, God predestined us. He predestines those who will be faithful Christians to go to heaven. This predestination is not unconditional, but is conditional (8:29,30).
72. Romans tells that the saved will experience the following in this order: the foreknowledge of God, conditional predestination, calling through the gospel, and glorification in a body like the resurrected body of Christ (8:28-30).
73. Although the Christian does not have to sin by doing what he knows not to do and does not want to do, he can sin if he chooses to.
74. The words that express the complete message of Romans 6,7 and 8 are “sanctification” and “glorification”. However, the word that expresses the dominant message of this section is “sanctification”.
75. This section teaches that a Christian can sin, but doesn’t have to and should not.
76. Since God had promised salvation in the Jewish Scriptures to the Israel of God and to Abraham’s children; some Jews thought God was untrue to His word and unjust because He saved some believing Gentiles and rejected the unbelieving Jews (9:9,12).
77. Paul had great sorrow and unceasing anguish over his lost brethren, rather than delight (1,2).
78. Paul had such an evangelistic zeal toward the Jews that he would have been willing to be accursed from God if it would help them to be saved (9:1-5).
79. Israel had many quantities to commend them: Theirs was the adoption as sons, the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. There are the patriarchs and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ (9:4-5).
80. Not all of the descendants of Israel (Jacob) are the true (spiritual) Israel to whom God’s promise applied, but the following are Israel: (1) those circumcised in heart by the Holy Spirit (2:28,29), (2) those who are new creatures in Christ (Gal. 6:15,16), (3) those who worship by the Spirit of God, glory in Christ, and put no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3), (4) those who put off their sinful nature and are circumcised in heart by Christ (Col. 2:11).
81. Not all the descendants of Israel are Abraham’s children, but those who believe and walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised (9:7; cf.4: 11,12,16,17‚.
82. God chose Jacob over Esau before their birth to show that he has a right to choose as he wills–on the basis of faith rather than on the basis of birth and legal right (9:7-10).
83. God made a choice between Jacob and Esau before they did anything good or evil to show that he has a right to to choose on the basis of His choice rather than on the basis of works. Otherwise he would have contradicted His system of grace (9:11-13).
84. The above proves that God’s word did not fail, for God promised salvation to true Israel, to the true children of Abraham, and on the basis of his choice to save by grace and through faith, rather than on the basis of works, race, or legal rights (9:6-13).
85. God is not unjust in saving believing Gentiles and rejecting unbelieving Jews because He said He would have mercy on whom He wishes. He wishes to have mercy on believers (cf. 2:21,22), and He died to pay for the sins of believers and insure his justice in saving those believers who have sinned (cf. 3:23-26). Justice demands that the law must be met. The law demands death for sin (1:32; 6:23). God met this demand with the death of Christ for our sins. Thus, He can be just and also save sinful man who believes.
86. Since man’s desire and effort are not adequate to insure his salvation (3:9-20, 23; 7:14-25; 8:3; Gal.3:10-13), his salvation does not, therefore, depend on his desire or effort, but on God’s mercy (9:16).
87. God raised up Pharaoh so that he could demonstrate his right and power to save his people by mercy; He could save them in spite of Pharaoh’s stubborn resistance and power. He did not arbitrarily make Pharaoh evil against the will of Pharaoh ((9:17; cf. Exodus 9:16). God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom he will (9:18). God did not harden Pharaoh’s heart arbitrarily, but hardened it through requiring that which was contrary to Pharaoh’s will. He hardened the hearts of the Jews by offering salvation through Christ a plan that caused them to harden their hearts because they didn’t accept Christ, but hardened their hearts against Him.
88. God is not unjust because He has the right to reject whom He wills to reject and to accept whom He wills to accept. He chooses to accept believers, even Gentiles who believe (2:5-14; 3:21-24). As the potter makes vessels for noble purposes and pottery for common purposes from the same lump of clay, according to the quality of the clay, God saves those who believe and rejects those who don’t believe. God has a right to make a choice according to His plan, just as the potter has a right to use clay according as he sees its acceptability or unacceptability (9:19-21).
89. The Jewish Scriptures show that God is not untrue to His word because He promised to save the Gentiles who believe and to save only the remnant of Jews who believe (22-29; cf. Hosea 2:23; 1:10; Isaiah 10:22,23; 1-9).
90. God promised through Isaiah (8:14; 28:16) that some of Israel would stumble over a stumbling stone and be condemned for their unbelief, pursuing salvation by works and not by faith (9:30-33).
91. Although some Jews have a zeal for God, they reject God’s righteousness by seeking to establish their own righteousness–refusing to trust in Christ’s death on the cross for their salvation, but trusting in their own racial connection, circumcision, and efforts to keep the law (10:1-4).
92. The end or ultimate goal of the law was Christ and salvation through Him rather than through works of law (10:4).
93. Righteousness that is by law offers life to those who do the things in the law (10:5). This system would require perfect obedience (cf. Gal. 3:10-13).
94. The righteousness that is by faith does not allow salvation for those who say, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is to bring Christ down), nor “who will descend into the deep?” (that is to bring Christ up from the dead), but it requires belief in the fact that Christ is already come down and that He has also raised from the dead (10:6,7).
95. One who would be made righteous must confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord–or acknowledge that Jesus is deity (10:9).
96. Justification requires one to believe with the heart, and being saved requires one to confess with the mouth (10:10).
97. The word was near to the Jews, but as a people they had not believed in Christ and confessed him (10:8).
98. The Scripture declares that anyone who believes will not be put to shame; therefore, it promises salvation to believing Gentiles also, but only to those who believe, whether Jew or Gentile (10:11,12).
99. When the Scripture says, “Everyone who call on the name of the Lord will be saved”, it is not claiming that saying “Lord, Lord” is all one must do to be saved (10:13; cf. Matt. 7:21).
100. Since faith comes by hearing the word of God, and not by an arbitrary, direct operation of the Holy Spirit, one cannot believe or call upon Christ without hearing the gospel (10:14-17).
101. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” is simply a way of saying that it is good for someone to come and preach the good news of salvation to us (cf. 10:15). It is saying that it is a wonderful thing to have someone come preaching the good news about salvation through Christ, even for the Gentile.
102. Lost Jews are lost because of a refusal to believe and confess Christ. They heard the good news but did not heed what they heard. Therefore, their lost state is their fault–not God’s. God is both true to His word and just when He saves believing Gentiles or rejects unbelieving Jews (10:16-21; cf. Isaiah 53: Psalm 19:4).
103. The Jews were lost because they were disobedient and obstinate, not because they did not hear and could not understand. They understood well enough to envy Gentiles who were saved in accordance with the gospel. Since the unlearned and corrupt Gentiles could understand, surely the enlightened and God fearing Jews could understand (10:19-21).
104. Paul, being a Jew, uses his own salvation as proof that God’s rejection of unbelieving Jews is not an indication that He will not save Jews who do become believers or Christians (11:1). Note: The faith that saves is an obedient faith, a faith that works (Rom. 1:5; cf. Gal. 5:6).
105. Paul uses the example of Elijah being told that God had a remnant of 7000 people who had not bowed their knee to Baal as an illustration of the fact that God has a remnant of the Jews who believe (11:2-5).
106. Salvation by grace and salvation by works (meritorious works; perfect works that earn salvation are logically contradictory and mutually exclude each other). If one is saved by works, it is not of grace but of debt (cf.4:4). If he is saved by grace (as a free gift), grace excludes works (the idea that one earns his salvation (11:6).
107. Israel sought salvation by their own merit and did not find it, but the chosen, those who sought salvation by grace through faith, found salvation in Christ (11:7).
108. Those who had a heart of faith were brought to repentance by the message about salvation through Christ, but those who refused to believe were hardened by the message (11:7-10; cf. Deut.29:10). They were not arbitrarily hardened by God, without their own will being involved, or God could be blamed for their being lost. Arbitrary and unconditional condemnation contradicts the nature of God and contradicts the teaching of the Scripture that all who believe shall be saved, and that God is no respector of persons (10:9-17; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 10:34,35).
109. Although we cannot completely understand how the plan works, God planned that the transgressions of the Jews would cause salvation to come to the Gentiles. His plan further extended to making Israel envious and claim salvation through Christ (11:11,12). This plan was for the salvation of both Jews and Gentiles.
110. Paul says that in the light of this expected envy and turning to Christ, he made much of his ministry to the Gentiles so that he might contribute to the jealousy of Israel and cause them to turn to Christ and be saved (11:13,14). They did not want the Gentiles to get ahead of them.
111. When Paul says, “If part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches” he is simply saying that the fact some Jews have been saved proves that other Jews who believe can also be saved (11:16).
112. Paul warns the Gentiles not to become arrogant or self-righteous and be rejected. If God broke off the natural branches (i.e., Israelites) because of unbelief, surely he will break off the unnatural branches (i.e., Gentiles) if they become arrogant and trust in themselves as the Jews did (11:17-21).
113. Those who are saved should remember both the kindness and the severity of God–severity in rejecting unbelievers and kindness in accepting believing Gentiles. We should keep in mind that it is only by the kindness of God that we are saved, not because of our worthiness. Otherwise, we will also be broken off. Thus, we should never become arrogant or self-righteous. Also, we should remember that those now rejected can, through the kindness of God, be saved if they repent and become believers–Christians (11:22-24).
114. Israel experienced a hardness of heart until the fullness of the Gentiles (i.e., salvation of believing Gentiles) came. So, in this same manner, shall all Israel be saved. That is, now all Jews have an opportunity to be saved in the same manner that the Gentiles are–through Christ and forgiveness available through Him (11:25-27; cf. Isaiah 59:20, 21; 27:9). In other words, Jews will be saved by faith just as Gentiles are.
115. Israelites are still loved by God on account of the patriarchs, and, as the Gentiles received mercy, so Israel may receive mercy (11:28-31).
116. God allowed all, both Israelites and Gentiles, to become disobedient, so that all may be saved by mercy rather than by merit (11:32).
117. When we contemplate the wisdom of God’s plan and the mercy that it manifests, we are compelled to praise God and glorify him (11:33-36; cf. Isaiah 40:14; Jeremiah 23:18; Job 41:11).
118. The indwelling Spirit is in the Christian to perform a vital ministry, but he does not give today’s Christian miraculous power.
119. Because of the mercy shown to Christians by giving them justification, sanctification, and the hope of glorification, he is admonished to give himself as a sacrifice to God. He doesn’t want us to give only money or praise; he wants us to give self. He doesn’t want us to give ourselves as a dead sacrifice nor through a secluded monastic life. He wants us to give ourselves through living and active service. This worship (latreia ) is not only prayers and praise, but it is a worship of service. This service and sacrifice is to be rational (i.e., with understanding), and it is reasonable (i.e., a just demand) in view of the mercy of God (12:1).
120. The Christian must not be conformed to the world. The original means that we must not be pressed into the mold of worldly people; we must be transformed (i.e., completely changed) by the renewing of our minds (12:2; cf. Prov. 23:7; Matt.12:34,35; Col. 3:1-14).
121. Those who have their minds renewed and are transformed are able to test and approve what is the will of God (12:2). Christians can tell what is right and wrong.
122. Christians should not think too highly of ourselves because we are what we are by the grace of God. God has given us different gifts, and we excel in different works. Each one of us should use the gift given us and leave other works for those who are equipped to do them. No one can do everything. Those who try usually don’t do anything very well (12:3-8).
123. God gives gifts to His people today. These gifts are not the apostolic miraculous gifts, but they come from God.
124. Christian love is without hypocrisy. A hypocrite was an actor. Christian love must not be play acting or pretending. It must be genuine or real (12:9).
125. Christians must be kindly affectionate to one another, with brotherly love. The word describing our affection and devotion to one another is philostorgos. This word is a combination of philos, which means warm, personal affection and storges, which refers to the devotion of family members for one another. So Paul means that we should be warmly affectionate to each other and be devoted with family devotion. The words “brotherly love” are from philadelphos. This word combines philos with adelphos, brotherly. Thus, Christian love should include brotherly feelings and warm affection. Consider the strength of the love required. It must include brotherliness; it must include warm affection; it must include strong family devotion (12:10).
126. God’s people should think of others above themselves and be concerned with the needs of others above their own needs (12:10; cf. Phil 2:1-11).
127. The Christian is to be filled with the zeal and spiritual fervor as seen in our service to the Lord, and not only in what we say or how loudly we sing (12:11).
128. We should share the joy and grief of others. They need us to mourn with them. We are not required to try to give them wise advice nor to try to make them light hearted. They need us to acknowledge their feelings by sharing in their grief (12:15).
129. We should seek to do what is right in the sight of God and in the sight of everybody. Whenever it is possible to please God and man both, do both. Consider the feelings of all others, but seek to please God above all (12:17).
130. We should not seek vengeance for wrongs done to us. God will avenge us and pay every sinner for his sins, if the sinner doesn’t repent and seek salvation through Christ (12:17-21). We should do good to even our enemies.
131. By feeding the hungry and giving water to the thirsty among our enemies, we heap coals of fire upon their heads (12:20,21). There are two possible images that are compatible with this text. First, a coal of fire was a precious gift that filled a great need. If one’s fire went out, someone might give him a coal of fire. He carried the coal in an earthen pot on his head. Thus, Paul admonishes us to serve the needs or our enemies, or overcome their evil with good. We must not be drawn down to the level of evil man by trying to get even.
Second, the image of the “coal of fire” is used in Proverbs 25:22 and Isaiah 44:12 to indicate that which makes its subject submit to being reshaped and reformed, like red-hot coals in a bellows or forge makes metal subject to being reshaped. Here it is used to indicate that good deeds cause the rebellious to become subject to being changed–overcome with good.
132. God has ordained governments to be His ministers. Those who refuse to obey these authorities are in rebellion against God. We should obey them and pay taxes to support them. They exist to protect the good people and punish the evil people. When government contradicts God seeking to force us to do something against the will of God, we must obey God rather than man (13:1-7; cf. Acts 5:29). God-ordained governments should operate according to the description in this text: hold no terror for those who do right (v. 3); hold terror for those who do wrong (v. 3); not be cause fear those in authority (v. 3); commend those who do right (v. 3); do good as God’s servant (v. 4); cause fear for those that do wrong (v. 4); bear the sword (v. 4); serve God (v. 4); be an agent of justice (v. 4); bring punishment on wrongdoers (v. 4).
133. All of God’s commandments are founded on the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love never does harm to a neighbor. Any interpretation of a commandment that would require doing evil to a neighbor or application of a commandment that does harm to a neighbor are a misinterpretation and misapplication (13:8-10).
134. Paul looked upon evil as spiritual sleep. He admonishes Christians to wake up by putting off orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, etc. (13:11-14).
135. Christians were taught that eating meat offered to the heathen gods was all right if not eaten in honor of a false god. Some brethren felt that such eating of meat was a sin. Paul classified these brethren as weak because they didn’t understand some teaching clearly. They also feared that a sincere mistake would cause them to be lost–did not trust the blood of Jesus. These brethren were sincere though weak. Paul commanded the church to receive these weak brethren and to avoid disputing and condemnation of one another. We can receive the weak, who have imperfect understandings and other imperfections (14:1-4; 15:7). God accepts them; who has a right to reject one whom God accepts? Also, God accepts us with our imperfections. Should we not, therefore, accept our imperfect brethren? Neither should those who did not eat condemn those who ate. In addition, loving Christians would not insist on the right to do anything they knew grieved brethren or caused them to stumble (14:15-21). We must not do anything we think is wrong, i.e., act without faith, even if it is not wrong in itself (14:23).
136. Paul was not disturbed by the Christians at Rome regarding special religious days. He left this in the realm of judgment, and he requires that every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. It would be wrong to try to require others to keep days special to us or to condemn them for their private convictions and practices in such matters (14:5-10).
137. No man lives unto himself or dies unto himself, but all must give an account of himself to God. We should consider one another’s feelings, but only God can judge us (14:7-12).
138. Instead of condemning one another, we should be giving our attention to keeping from causing one another to stumble (14:13).
139. A Christian should not do what he believes is wrong, nor what grieves a brother or causes him to stumble. If a person believes that a thing is unclean, it is unclean to him (14:14). If he does something believing that it is wrong, he commits sin (14:5, 23). If he does something that grieves his brother or causes him to stumble, he is wrong and is no longer acting in love (14:15,20).
140. Paul says that the kingdom is more than eating and drinking. He also admonishes us not to do anything that will cause a brother to fall. These souls and the peace of the kingdom, along with Christian love, are too precious to squander on exercising our rights to do such things (14:17).
141. When Paul says, “anything that is not of faith is sin”, he is not in this text referring to what is not authorized. In this context, he is referring to things done without being fully convinced that it is right (14:23).
142. The strong should bear with or yield to the feelings of the weak rather than seek to please ourselves. Christ is our great example of one who sacrificed His own feelings for the good of others. Each of us should seek to please his neighbor (15:1-4).
143. In 15:4, Paul writes of the hope and encouragement of the Scriptures in an effort to prove that Gentiles and all who would be lost without Christ, have the hope of salvation.
144. Paul prayed that the Christians would be given encouragement, endurance, and unity, so that they might glorify God. (15:4,5).
145. Christians are urged to accept one another on the same basis as Christ accepts us all, on the basis of grace and forgiveness, rather than legal perfection (15:7).
146. Paul was convinced that the Christians in Rome were competent to give one another the instruction and encouragement needed (15:14). They were competent to counsel one another.
147. For whatever he accomplished, Paul gloried only in Christ because he recognized that Christ has accomplished it through him (15:17,18).
148. Paul considered his service in evangelism a grace as well as a duty (1:13-15; 15:14).
149. Paul’s basic desire was to preach where Christ was not known (15:20).
150. Paul had wanted to come to Rome, but had not come because he was hindered (15:22).
151. Paul was on his way to Jerusalem to deliver a gift for the poor (15:25-27). He wanted the Roman Christians to help him by praying for him to be rescued from unbelievers in Judea and by helping him on his journey to Spain (15:24, 30,31).
152. Tertius was Paul’s stenographer as he wrote this letter (16:23).
153. Paul was in the home of Gaius who lived at Corinth when he wrote this letter to the Roman Christians (16:23; cf. I Cor. 1:14).
154. He was associated with Erastus, the director of publicworks in “the city,” Corinth, when he wrote this letter (16:24).
155. Paul sent greetings to many whom he knew in Rome (16:3-16).
156. He urged the brethren to note those who caused divisions and violated Christian teachings and to stay away from them (16:17,18).
157. He tells them that their obedience is well known and that it gives him joy; however, he wanted them to be wise about what is good and innocent and about what is evil (16:19).
158. Paul passed on greetings from Timothy, Lucius, Jason, Sopater, Tertius, Gaius, Erastus, and Quartus (16:21-24).

© 2004, Dr. Wm. T. (Bill) Lambert
Professor Emeritus – NT Literature and Interpretation
College of Bible and Religion
Harding University

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