Romans: Paul’s Christian Worldview

TrustScriptures_online

Romans is a letter written by Paul to a church in Rome that saw a division between Gentiles who had taken over a once Jewish synagogue and Jews who had returned from their exile to find their synagogues replaced by the church of Christianity[1]. Through his writing, Paul introduced the very foundation of Christian belief and the baseline for a biblical worldview. Through the truths Paul uses, he builds a foundation for a biblical worldview that has been the cornerstone for theology to this day.

Romans 1 is where the issue of Creation is engaged by Paul. In Romans 1:20 Paul states, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”[2] Here, Creation itself is revealed as a way that God reveals Himself to man. This means that God created all things. Though His power and divine nature are often not visible, they were manifested in all He created[3].

Human nature had become engulfed in a sinful state in an act of rebellion and denial of the Creator. Romans 3: 9-20 is a very real definition of what human nature encompasses. Paul uses Scriptures from the Old Testament found in Psalms 14:1-8, 5:5-10, 140:1-4, 10:4-7, 36:1-4 and Isaiah 59:4-10[4] to illustrate that sin has defined human nature since the very beginning of man’s fall through Adam. Whether Jew or Gentile in this case, all are under the veil of human nature. In the larger scope of things, all of man live in their human nature also known as sin.

There are consequences for sin. In Romans 6:23, Paul says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”[5] Romans makes a very strong case that all need to accept Christ to know God and enter into eternal life. Here, Paul is saying that if someone does not accept Christ and turn to God, they will see eternal separation from Him when they die. Romans 8:8 says that when man thinks and operates “in the flesh”, they are operating in a sinful nature and cannot be living according to God’s will because they are content with living in their sinful state. Therefore, they cannot receive comfort from God or the Savior. Sin itself is disgusting in the light of glory God shines as man worships themselves and their own idols instead of the uncreated God[6].

Salvation is the pinnacle of Christ’s work and Romans 6:23 certainly demonstrates that eternal life can only be found through and in Christ. The very resurrection of Christ is the catalyst that enables a sinner to be saved and have a relationship with the Father as well as the Son[7]. In Romans 12:4-5, Paul states, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”[8] Here, Christ’s mission was also to draw all together as one unit and one family under Him. This means that believers are very much part of the body of Christ and all must move accordingly unto His will and His purpose.

Romans 3:22-26 finds Paul making the case that it is faith alone that justifies the believer. Through this idea, there is nothing man can do to earn justification[9], because it is a gift that has been given by God through the sacrifice of Christ[10]. It becomes evident that Paul is showing that Christ brought a New Covenant founded on faith and not by works. Man cannot buy or manufacture salvation.

Life that is empowered by the Spirit will reveal the Spirit to others. In Romans 6:18, Paul makes a case that even though man was once a slave to sin, a believer becomes a slave to righteousness. This takes the form of embodying the principles and teachings of Jesus in an effort to advance His ministry on earth. Romans 8:5-8 indicates that believers should refocus their minds on the Spirit and live according to His will.

God’s ultimate goals are presented in Romans wonderfully. In Romans 11, Paul tells that God will save some in Israel because many of them are “elect” through the Patriarchs[11]. Not all Jews will be saved, but the remnant that accepted Christ will see eternal life and those who have not (the larger whole, “hardened”) will not[12]. Romans 8:29-30 shows that God’s ultimate goal is the salvation of sinners (though all will not respond to His call) and He had predestined them to glorification through the sacrifice of Christ[13].

Ethically, Romans 12 finds Paul calling Christians to live as a living sacrifice to Christ while doing all things in love and showing love to others through service. A believer is to be humble and serve others with joy as believers also work with one another to advance Christ’s redemptive work. It is in this chapter that Paul employs the greatest use of the teachings of Jesus (see Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:27-28 for two examples) in an effort to show that what he is saying is no different from what Christ taught[14].

Romans displays several attributes of God. He is righteous, sovereign, merciful, just, and omnipresent. In Romans as well as the other books of the Bible, God has existed eternally[15] and the plan for salvation had long been established to be completed through Christ[16]. All of these attributes are on full display throughout Paul’s letter to the Roman church and his theology is very beneficial to scholars as these attributes of God run deep throughout the Bible.

Pauls’ letter to the Roman church is a great place to start for understanding Christian theology. He presents the case for man’s sins against God, salvation from it, who God is, and how a believer should live. It is no wonder Romans is the source for many a sermon and theological debate. To Paul, the salvation offered by Christ was for all in a dark world that needed light.


[1] Douglas Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000): p. 18.

[2] NIV.

[3] Gary M. Burge and Andrew E. Hill, The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2012): p. 1229.

[4] Douglas Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans: pp. 115-118.

[5] NIV.

[6] Romans 1:23, 3:23

[7] Romans 4:25, 8:2.

[8] NIV.

[9] Romans 3:28.

[10] Romans 3:25-26.

[11] Romans 11:28.

[12] Douglas Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans: p. 356.

[13] Gary M. Burge and Andrew E. Hill, The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary: p. 1252.

[14] Douglas Moo, The NIV Application Commentary: Romans: p. 411.

[15] Romans 1:20.

[16] Romans 8:29-30.

Advertisements

Published by

charlestinsley

My name is Charlie Tinsley and I blog about The Bible. In particular, I post my thoughts, commentaries, and Bible Study teachings I have done. I hold a Bachelors Degree in Science in Religion Summa Cum Laude with a Biblical Studies Minor. I am currently studying for a Masters In Divinity at Eastern Mennonite Seminary with PhD ambitions in the study of Theology. I am married and have been for several years and I currently reside in Virginia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s