This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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ROMANS 1:1-6.... FROM PAUL, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) called to be an apostle, (a special messenger) set apart to [preach] the Gospel (good news) of and from God, which He promised in advance [long ago] through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures – [the Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David, and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed one). It is through Him that we have received grace (God's unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name's sake among all the nations, and this includes you, called of Jesus Christ and invited [as you are] to belong to Him.
ROMANS 1:16-17.... For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith. [Hab. 2:4.]
There is much to know and understand about the Gospel or good news concerning salvation or what has been made available to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have considered many of these things in other pages on this website, so let’s just mention them briefly. There are many people who are unaware that they need to be saved from anything, so let’s start from the beginning.
Whether we want to believe it or not God has revealed to us that what He created perfect in the beginning, Adam and Eve corrupted when they disobeyed Him (Gen. Chapters 1-3). Paul describes the result of their disobedience – "For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22). This is briefly what salvation is and why it is needed.
Paul mentions above that "in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed"; this is a preeminent feature of the salvation of God, and we will see it mentioned frequently. Because of Adam’s disobedience sin or unrighteousness entered into the history of mankind, and God cannot allow sin or sinners into His kingdom, and thus they cannot spend eternity with Him or enjoy the benefits of His kingdom. But God had a plan that we call the Gospel whereby people who were willing to turn away from a sinful lifestyle and commit themselves to the Lordship of Christ could be born again with a new nature and united to Christ. In our union with Christ we are granted, through no merit of our own, the righteousness of Christ along with many other benefits. The word ascribes means that God was the cause, source, and author of this righteousness and He credits it to our person when we submit to His Lordship. In this condition we are then able to experience and enjoy a reinstated relationship with God.
Now we can begin to understand the importance of righteousness and how it is acquired. Without it we are in union with, not God, but sinful humanity which we will look at next. In the days of Noah the world had become so wicked that God had to destroy all air-breathing creatures, except Noah, his family, and the animals they took with them on the ark. We can see from the following Scriptures how the people became so wicked and why it was necessary for God to destroy them.
ROMANS 1:18-26.... For God's [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative. For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], [Ps. 19:1-4.] because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves]. And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever! Amen (so be it). [Jer. 2:11.]
The answer to why God had to destroy them comes first in Paul’s presentation and explanation of the Gospel. Paul as well as the rest of the Bible brings all mankind, apart from Christ, under one indictment – guilty and without excuse. There was a time when the whole world knew about God, and Noah was around for 930 years as a personal eyewitness (Gen. 5:5). Man undoubtably had superior ability and reasoning power then than we do now, but they gradually corrupted it by refusing to appreciate and honor God. Then, as they are doing today, they set aside God’s truth and began to use their own ability to determine what they wanted to do, and in doing so repressed and hindered the truth and made it ineffective. Once man rejects God his evil selfish intentions progressively worsen – is it any wonder that God had to destroy them?
ROMANS 1:26-32.... For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions. For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, and the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution. And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome, until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers, slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents. [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless. Though they are fully aware of God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.
The answer to how the people became so vile is explained above – when they rejected God, God gave up on them and turned them over to their own devices. As a result, as it is today, they got to the point where they didn’t consider God worth knowing and didn’t want to hear any more about Him; they wanted something else more to their depraved liking. God destroyed the world once before with a flood when it got into this depraved condition, and He said He would come again when the conditions became as they were in Noah’s day to again destroy the wicked – "As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man" (Matt. 24:37).
ROMANS 2:1-5.... THEREFORE YOU have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce]. [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things. And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God's judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict? Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent ( to change your mind and inner man to accept God's will)? But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God's righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed.
Paul seems to make a special effort, in the next three chapters, to address the common beliefs that many of the people of Israel held to, to support their claims of having a special or acceptable relationship with God. Whereas, the central theme of these first four chapters is intended to show that, "As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one. [Ps. 14:3.] No one understands [no one intelligently discerns or comprehends]; no one seeks out God. [Ps. 14:2.] All have turned aside; together they have gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one" (Rom. 3:10-11)!
Before the people will seek their soul’s salvation, they must know that they are separated from God by their sin, so Paul reminds them that to merely agree with God and to condemn sinners while they are themselves living in sin will not gain God’s acceptance or approval. God is allowing them to live in the hope that they will recognize their unrighteousness and turn from it and accept God’s salvation or rescue plan.
ROMANS 2:6-16.... For He will render to every man according to his works [justly, as his deeds deserve]: [Ps. 62:12.] To those who by patient persistence in well-doing [springing from piety] seek [unseen but sure] glory and honor and [the eternal blessedness of] immortality, He will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and self-willed and disobedient to the Truth but responsive to wickedness, there will be indignation and wrath. [And] there will be tribulation and anguish and calamity and constraint for every soul of man who [habitually] does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). But glory and honor and [heart] peace shall be awarded to everyone who [habitually] does good, the Jew first and also the Greek (Gentile). For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]. [Deut. 10:17; 2 Chron. 19:7.] All who have sinned without the Law will also perish without [regard to] the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged and condemned by the Law. For it is not merely hearing the Law [read] that makes one righteous before God, but it is the doers of the Law who will be held guiltless and acquitted and justified.
14When Gentiles who have not the [divine] Law do instinctively what the Law requires, they are a law to themselves, since they do not have the Law. They show that the essential requirements of the Law are written in their hearts and are operating there, with which their consciences (sense of right and wrong) also bear witness; and their [moral] decisions (their arguments of reason, their condemning or approving thoughts) will accuse or perhaps defend and excuse [them] on that day when, as my Gospel proclaims, God by Jesus Christ will judge men in regard to the things which they conceal (their hidden thoughts). [Eccl. 12:14.]
Before we comment on these verses we need to be aware that Paul is not here stating that we are saved by the works that we do, he makes that very clear later on – "For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character]" (Rom. 3:20). Instead he is making very clear that in order to be accepted by God we need the righteousness that only Jesus can give us, and we receive it by trusting Him as Lord and Savior.
ROMANS 2:17-29.... But if you bear the name of Jew and rely upon the Law and pride yourselves in God and your relationship to Him, and know and understand His will and discerningly approve the better things and have a sense of what is vital, because you are instructed by the Law; and if you are confident that you [yourself] are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, and [that you are] a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the childish, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what does not really belong to you)? You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you unchaste in action or in thought]? You who abhor and loathe idols, do you rob temples [do you appropriate to your own use what is consecrated to God, thus robbing the sanctuary and doing sacrilege]? You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking it]? For, as it is written, The name of God is maligned and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you! [The words to this effect are from your own Scriptures.] [Isa. 52:5; Ezek. 36:20.]
25Circumcision does indeed profit if you keep the Law; but if you habitually transgress the Law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision. So if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be credited to him as [equivalent to] circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the Law will condemn you who, although you have the code in writing and have circumcision, break the Law. For he is not a [real] Jew who is only one outwardly and publicly, nor is [true] circumcision something external and physical. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God.
Neither will being a religious teacher nor circumcision, two highly regarded conditions of the Israelites, be capable of bringing them into a right relationship with God. Nothing that man can do, apart from faith in Jesus as Savior, can bring the required righteousness that Paul mentions several times, and has already been pointed out as a central theme of salvation.
The transition from the Old Covenant to the New, or from Law to Grace is largely a change from outer regulations and ordinances to a new spiritual nature and heart condition. This was perhaps the most difficult adjustment for the Nation of Israel to accept, the very Law that God had given them seemed, to them, to forbid it. But Paul attempts to calm their fears and to assure them that this is all according to God’s plan.
ROMANS 3:1-8.... THEN WHAT advantage remains to the Jew? [How is he favored?] Or what is the value or benefit of circumcision? Much in every way. To begin with, to the Jews were entrusted the oracles (the brief communications, the intentions, the utterances) of God. [Ps. 147:19.] What if some did not believe and were without faith? Does their lack of faith and their faithlessness nullify and make ineffective and void the faithfulness of God and His fidelity [to His Word]? By no means! Let God be found true though every human being is false and a liar, as it is written, That You may be justified and shown to be upright in what You say, and prevail when You are judged [by sinful men]. [Ps. 51:4.] But if our unrighteousness thus establishes and exhibits the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unjust and wrong to inflict His wrath upon us [Jews]? I speak in a [purely] human way. By no means! Otherwise, how could God judge the world? But [you say] if through my falsehood God's integrity is magnified and advertised and abounds to His glory, why am I still being judged as a sinner? And why should we not do evil that good may come?--as some slanderously charge us with teaching. Such [false teaching] is justly condemned by them.
Paul anticipated the reaction of the Jews to his preceding statements and reassured them that they would not suffer any loss of heritage, but would still benefit from being the nation that God had chosen and revealed Himself to.
ROMANS 3:9-26.... Well then, are we [Jews] superior and better off than they? No, not at all. We have already charged that all men, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), are under sin [held down by and subject to its power and control]. As it is written, None is righteous, just and truthful and upright and conscientious, no, not one. [Ps. 14:3.] No one understands [no one intelligently discerns or comprehends]; no one seeks out God. [Ps. 14:2.] All have turned aside; together they have gone wrong and have become unprofitable and worthless; no one does right, not even one! Their throat is a yawning grave; they use their tongues to deceive (to mislead and to deal treacherously). The venom of asps is beneath their lips. [Ps. 5:9; 140:3.] Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. [Ps. 10:7.] Their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction [as it dashes them to pieces] and misery mark their ways. And they have no experience of the way of peace [they know nothing about peace, for a peaceful way they do not even recognize]. [Isa. 59:7,8.] There is no [reverential] fear of God before their eyes. [Ps 36:1.]
19Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that [the murmurs and excuses of] every mouth may be hushed and all the world may be held accountable to God. For no person will be justified (made righteous, acquitted, and judged acceptable) in His sight by observing the works prescribed by the Law. For [the real function of] the Law is to make men recognize and be conscious of sin [not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character]. But now the righteousness of God has been revealed independently and altogether apart from the Law, although actually it is attested by the Law and the Prophets, namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. [All] are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time ( in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.
The Law was used by God to make all men, Jew and gentile, realize that they are held accountable to God as judged guilty and deserving of death. Our one and only recourse or hope of escaping this death sentence is to accept God’s pardon, forgiveness and righteousness that He offers to us through Christ Jesus His Son.
ROMANS 3:27-31.... Then what becomes of [our] pride and [our] boasting? It is excluded (banished, ruled out entirely). On what principle? [On the principle] of doing good deeds? No, but on the principle of faith. For we hold that a man is justified and made upright by faith independent of and distinctly apart from good deeds (works of the Law). [The observance of the Law has nothing to do with justification.] Or is God merely [the God] of Jews? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since it is one and the same God Who will justify the circumcised by faith [which germinated from Abraham] and the uncircumcised through their [newly acquired] faith. [For it is the same trusting faith in both cases, a firmly relying faith in Jesus Christ]. Do we then by [this] faith make the Law of no effect, overthrow it or make it a dead letter? Certainly not! On the contrary, we confirm and establish and uphold the Law.
So our only approach to God is through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ which confirms, establishes, enlightens and reveals as precious and marvelous the Law of God.
Paul has got one more issue that he must fully explain if he hopes to win the Jewish people to Christ – how does Abraham, the father and most respected leader of the nation of Israel, figure or fit in with all of this? If he doesn’t, then the people will be repelled and refuse to listen any further; if he does, then they will be more likely to further consider the Gospel that Paul is presenting.
ROMANS 4:1-17.... [BUT] IF so, what shall we say about Abraham, our forefather humanly speaking--[what did he] find out? [How does this affect his position, and what was gained by him?] For if Abraham was justified ( established as just by acquittal from guilt) by good works [that he did, then] he has grounds for boasting. But not before God! For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed in (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness (right living and right standing with God). [Gen. 15:6.] Now to a laborer, his wages are not counted as a favor or a gift, but as an obligation (something owed to him). But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God). Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does: Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried. Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him. [Ps. 32:1,2.]
9Is this blessing (happiness) then meant only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was credited to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it credited [to him]? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the mark of circumcision as a token or an evidence [and] seal of the righteousness which he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised--[faith] so that he was to be made the father of all who [truly] believe, though without circumcision, and who thus have righteousness (right standing with God) imputed to them and credited to their account, as well as [that he be made] the father of those circumcised persons who are not merely circumcised, but also walk in the way of that faith which our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13For the promise to Abraham or his posterity, that he should inherit the world, did not come through [observing the commands of] the Law but through the righteousness of faith. [Gen. 17:4-6; 22:16-18.] If it is the adherents of the Law who are to be the heirs, then faith is made futile and empty of all meaning and the promise [of God] is made void (is annulled and has no power). For the Law results in [divine] wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression [of it either]. Therefore, [inheriting] the promise is the outcome of faith and depends [entirely] on faith, in order that it might be given as an act of grace (unmerited favor), to make it stable and valid and guaranteed to all his descendants--not only to the devotees and adherents of the Law, but also to those who share the faith of Abraham, who is [thus] the father of us all. As it is written, I have made you the father of many nations. [He was appointed our father] in the sight of God in Whom he believed, Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed. [Gen. 17:5.]
The above explanation of Paul’s would be a very satisfying bit of information to the Jews; Abraham had the same kind of faith that God now requires of us, he received the same righteousness that we receive, he received all of this, not because of the Law, but by faith, and has thus become the father of us all.
ROMANS 4:18-25.... [For Abraham, human reason for] hope being gone, hoped in faith that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been promised, So [numberless] shall your descendants be. [Gen. 15:5.] He did not weaken in faith when he considered the [utter] impotence of his own body, which was as good as dead because he was about a hundred years old, or [when he considered] the barrenness of Sarah's [deadened] womb. [Gen. 17:17; 18:11.] No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God).
23But [the words], It was credited to him, were written not for his sake alone, but [they were written] for our sakes too. [Righteousness, standing acceptable to God] will be granted and credited to us also who believe in (trust in, adhere to, and rely on) God, Who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was betrayed and put to death because of our misdeeds and was raised to secure our justification (our acquittal), [making our account balance and absolving us from all guilt before God].
There was a word used back in 3:24 that further explains the above paragraph – redemption, "the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood [the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation, to be received] through faith." Jesus paid the price for our redemption by dying in our place and thus securing our pardon and freeing us from the just penalty for our sins – eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:14).
Abraham’s steadfast belief of God’s promise of a son through Sarah is one of the Old Testament’s greatest examples of the kind of faith that pleases and is acceptable to God. When we have come to the point of realizing, just as Abraham did, that in reality we are helpless and that all of life depends upon God, we have learned the most important lesson of life which is to trust and rely wholly upon His promises, and give praise, honor and glory unto Him.