Let’s read in Acts, 19:23 thru 20:3a, for placing Paul’s letter to the church at Rome in context, then commence with Romans chapters 1 and 2. It is believed that Paul may have written Romans from Greece, where we find him in Acts 20:3, and it is now likely AD 56. Romans is truly his ‘Tour du Force,’ on the most important theological subject of salvation, even as Galatians was, when written 6 years before, but here, now, more fully developed.
With chapter 1, we have one of the best passages to support our thesis in verses 16 and 17, but first, we find mention of #5, the Gospel in verses 1 thru 4, with mention of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Further mention of the #5, Gospel is in verses 9, and 15 thru 17. We clearly see the issue is #1, righteousness with verses 4 and 32, but especially in verse 17. This #1, righteousness becomes ours solely by #7, faith says verse 17, and is supported by verses 5 and 8. Righteousness that comes to a person by faith is their #8, New Birth and salvation says verse 16! This results in #9, New Life matters as can be found in verses 9 and 10, and verse 12. Take careful heed of verses 18 thru 32, as they go back and forth between #2, sin and #3, judgment upon those who will not #7, believe as stated in verse 31. The key between all these matters of #8, salvation, v.16, and #3, judgment, v.32, is what all the rest of letter is about. Grasp the depth of 1:16+17, then 18 thru 32, and you will understand the entire New Testament! These 2 passages explain the very difference between heaven and hell!
In chapter 2, we see 3 people; the self-righteous, the evildoer and the Jew. See the self-righteous in verses 1 thru 3, 13, and especially verses 17 thru 20, and 23. See the evildoer and Law-breaker in verses 3, 8 and 9, 12, and 21 thru 25. See also the Jew of both stripes in verses 17 thru 27. These are all matters of #2, sin. And, these will all result in righteous #3, judgment by God against them seen in verses 1 thru 3, 5 and 6, 8 and 9, and 12 and 16. At issue between God and man is his lack of #1, righteousness, which we read of in verses 10 and 13. What saves is #5, the Gospel mentioned in verse 16. It results in the #8, New Birth of salvation by the Spirit, called a ‘circumcision of the heart,’ in verse 29, resulting in eternal life in the #10, Kingdom says verse 7, when one truly #6, repents says verse 4. Other than declaring Jesus is #4, the Savior, we have found 9 of the 10 Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message already in just these first 2 chapters of Romans. But seeing Jesus as #4, the Savior has already been clearly implied in 1:3 thru 6. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell