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Romans 1:1-17

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

A short commentary on Chapter 1:1-17

Romans 1:1-17 short commentary

Paul as a called apostle brings God’s message to the called people in Rome. A message which still applies to you and I today as we are part of God’s called people here in Edinburgh (or wherever you are).

1:1 Paul, a servant [1] of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle [2] and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures (links to the OT)3regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life [a] was a descendant of David, 4 and who through (or by virtue of) the Spirit of holiness (Holy Spirit) was appointed (or decreed, determined or even declared) the Son of God (invested) in power [3] [b] by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to faith and obedience for his name’s sake. 6 And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong (they have already been set apart) to (our Lord)Jesus Christ.

7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy (consecrated) people:

Grace (unmerited favour) and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul uses the Greek word chaire for grace and the Hebrew shalom for peace. A nice touch written to a mixed congregation!

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world (famous faith in the Capital city , could it be in Edinburgh too?). 9 God, whom I serve in my spirit (with sincere devotion of the heart-Calvin) in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly (without ceasing) I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

Paul loves these Roman Christians tenderly and just as much as though he had founded the church in Rome which he had not.

11 I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift (as far as we know none of the apostles had visited Rome so Paul longed to lay hands on them and release the gifts of the Holy Spirit[4] in their ministries) to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith (works both ways). 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest (fruit probably including new converts and building up the body of Christ in character (FOTS), gifting and maturity)among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.(Paul modestly understates his huge success in ministering to the Gentiles).

14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.(Paul was called to preach the Gospel both to the learned and the unlearned, he was obligated to them because of the call on his life and also perhaps in view of how he once persecuted the church of Jesus Christ even to death).

16 I am not ashamed of the gospel,(Paul was proud of the Gospel message even when he came up against the learned philosophers or anyone because in it he saw the power to change a human life) because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.(usual order) 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[c] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith [5][d]

Paul is quoting the prophet Habakkuk here who also had to learn to trust God by exercising trust and faith in His person, His character and His actions.

The righteousness of (more accurately from) God means the absolute moral purity of God. What must I do to be accepted by God? The Jews had the law and could not keep it and the Catholic church did not know the way of salvation. So how could the reformers like Luther and Calvin become acceptable to God? They had the revelation which launched the reformation that the way to become righteous before God requires that those in relationship with Him are ‘righteous’ that is that they have an ‘imputed’ righteousness which ‘avails’ them before God. This means that we are put in right standing with God or perhaps we can stand in His presence without being consumed. There is nothing we can do to earn this either by our actions such as keeping the law, doing good deeds or obtain in other way other than simply believing the Gospel message. The righteousness that is imputed to us is actually the righteousness of Jesus Christ and we receive this by faith by simply believing the Gospel truth about Jesus Christ. The new birth begins by faith, develops by faith, receives all the blessings of Christ by faith and is sustained on a life-long basis by faith. The just or righteous person truly will live from beginning to end by faith. There is simply no other way to live before God. This is the only answer to the question, what must I do be acceptable to God.

For a print copy and much more click below

[a} Romans 1:3 Or who according to the flesh

{b} Romans 1:4 Or was declared with power to be the Son of God

{c} Romans 1:17 Or is from faith to faith

[d] Romans 1:17 Hab. 2:4 but the righteous will live by their faithfulness (or faith)

[1] Gr. Doulos ; A bond servant or slave. A paid and usually highly skilled employee but with no right to resign. [2] Gr. Apostolos; A sent one or messenger. [3] Gr. Dunamis; English derivatives, dynamic and dynamite. [4] 1 Cor 12:8-10 [5] God spoke to Martin Luther through this verse when he was seeking an indulgence from the Pope ascending the stairs on his knees.

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