Romans Chapter Summary Romans Chapter Summary Romans Chapter Summary Romans Chapter Summary

The following is taken from the Book of New Testament Summaries.

  1. (A.D.57?) [The "Gospel of God" and "His Son" (1:1,9) as seen and written by Paul to Roman Christians (1:7): to let them know he knew of their work and faith (1:8), that he was coming there shortly (1:10; 15:24), and to have on file in Rome, the capital of the world, a record of the Gospel of God through Jesus Christ. 1:15] Paul introduces himself by listing his credentials credible for his writing. First he identifies his position in ministry: a servant; second, his calling: an Apostle; and thirdly, his purpose: to declare the message of the Gospel of God. (NOTICE: Nowhere does he list his earthly achievements as qualifications for writing or speaking: Phd's in law; his denomination affiliations: a Pharisee, etc. He is first and lastly a servant of Christ in the proclamation of the message of God that there be no room for worldly human boasting! See II Cor.10:7-18; Ph.3:3-8. Therefore, he is ready (1:15), willing ( II Th.2:8), and able ( II Co.3:4-6) to preach God's Gospel to whomever called, at present in writing to Rome!) He salutes them, commends their much publicized faith, expresses his longing to see them that he might impart to them some spiritual gift, together be edified, and finally, clearly teach that the fruit of the gospel is God's righteousness established and lived out in man. All men are seen at one point standing under the shadow of God's impending wrath because of his own ungodliness. It is each's individual decision whether one remains so. Just as there are specific steps to be taken toward God, coming under His umbrella of saving grace, there are successive steps away from Him, putting one in final jeopardy of His irrevocable judgment (1:21,23,25,32): (1) They became indifferent to God (failed to glorify Him), (2) therefore, they became ungrateful to Him (failed to be thankful), (3) thus they became conceited (vain in their own imaginations), (4) now having no need of Him, they omitted Him from their lives (worshipped the product of their own hands), and finally, (5) changed His truth into a lie! This one will be given over to do those things naturally produced from within a wicked heart: all manner of despicable sin arising from eventual unnatural affections, having gone so far from God (His knowledge, truth, and wisdom), filled (in total) with unrighteousness. The end of this man is both logical and inevitable. (All of the above is not only applicable to the individual, but to a nation as well, as seen with Israel of old and within any nation in decline.)
  2. Since all men stand accused, guilty, and condemned before His Bench, God alone is holy enough to be judge. Therefore, no man has the right to sit in judgment of another, no matter his level of righteousness attained nor degree of works done! Both Jew and Gentile stand alike on equal footing in His Court. His Law is blind: it can see only the sin and not the sinner, thus pointing to the guilty, irrespective of his earthly origin or achievements. Because God is just, His judgment is just. He will separate the wheat from the chaff at the appropriate time, after each has his own period of possible repentance and being wooed by God's freely given loving goodness, seeing in his hard heart his own guilt and finally throwing himself at the mercy of His grace. Those who observe to do His Law from a heart softened by Him will be spared His wrath. So, be careful not to judge another, but also in your attempts to teach others His Law as you have been taught. See that your own life reflects it, that His name be highly honored among all men, especially by the unbeliever. The Law kept only outwardly without the heart ever receiving it, is vain, but the one who has his heart spiritually quickened by God when His Law is received within, will be highly praised by Him, whether Jew or Gentile.
  3. Paul now asks what advantage then is outward circumcision, or profit to the ceremonial Jew? Certainly there were unbelievers (uncircumcised in heart) among them, but this alone does not negate the faith and purpose of the others who believed. To them was committed the oracles of God for the benefit of all men, to be instructed in His ways that righteousness might come to all, not only to the Jew (though first), but to the Gentile world as well. Clearly, then, it is seen that all stand guilty before a righteous judge with none being justified by the Law, only condemned by it, everyone having violated it. Whether in some small point, or in totality, it is broken! None are righteous, not one! The most lawful and unlawful both stand condemned, for both are guilty on some point. No amount of man's own righteousness (right doing) will cover his personal violations. Man's violations (sin), no matter how few or small, are larger than any amount of works he could do in ten lifetimes, unable to be used as a cover or for mitigating circumstances to set him free. One dot of sin is sufficient to render any man guilty to the extreme of offsetting a lifetime of good works! ( Ecc.10:1) Therefore, no amount of works is capable of negating man's penalty or excusing him from the Law's violation. Now having sufficiently made the case for every man's guilt (a sinner), and impossibility for any man to work off his own sentence to be set free, Paul pivots in 3:21 to declare the grace of God and the hope for man. He has shown us our unrighteousness; he now teaches the provision God Himself has made for our righteousness that we might go free -- Faith in Jesus Christ who served our sentence perfectly, now offering pardon. Guilty? Yes, all, but freely pardoned through acceptance of His work done for us! So righteousness comes not by the Law, but through faith, not just blind faith, but faith in Jesus Christ. Why Him? Because no other paid the required penalty to appease an offended God who might consider and grant us grace as we stand by His successful Son's side as He pleads now for our pardon! God Himself has done the work (3:25), and Christ has declared, it is finished! ( Jn.17:4; 19:30) Hence, three consequences arise from faith in Christ: (1) Boasting in works is excluded (vs.27), (2) God is for all men, Jew and Gentile (vs.29), and (3) its work (vs.31). So, because justified to go away free, yet not as his own, rather now a servant of Christ who bought him with a price -- justified not by your own works, but by faith in the works of Christ!
  4. Paul now uses Abraham, the first to be ordered ceremonially circumcised, as an example of any man justified by faith and not works. His righteousness was imputed to him by God who saw his faith within his heart before receiving the ceremonial circumcision; therefore, his righteousness did not come through the act of circumcision or any works previously performed. His works were a result of his faith, his circumcision serving as: (1) a mere sign of his faith, and (2) a seal of their relationship! The Law then serves only to bring man condemned before God. But faith in the works of the Son sets him free, freely justified to inherit the righteousness of God ( Jn.1:12), and as a rightful heir to the promises made to Abraham (4:16) who himself lived by faith, and not just to Abraham, but of Christ Himself who did what no other did or could do.
  5. Paul concludes his argument for the universality of sin and the need for imputed righteousness. He teaches the benefits of the gospel of God received by faith and not works: (1) we have peace with Him, (2) we have access to Him, and (3) we have hope in Him. First this peace is more than being at ease with one's self; it is being at one with God. He is no longer angry with us. He is pleased with, not what we have done, but what He has done and we have accepted as a gift from Him! Therefore, through faith He is pleased and we find peace! ( Heb.11:6; Rom.14:23b; 8:8) Secondly, we have access to Him. The cross alone is the veil through which man may enter His presence, accompanied now by the new High Priest who needed not to make atonement for His own sin before entering. No longer annually restricted, we now may enter as often as desired. (Heb.6:19-28; Jn.10:1; 14:6; Heb.4:14-16; Jn.14:23; 16:27; 15:7) Thirdly, we have hope in God. Hope defined is that substance produced in the heart of man by his faith in the risen Christ ( Heb.11:6). His work was done while we were yet sinners abiding under God's wrath, and having turned from ungodliness, stepping toward God and His provision of the cross, we are saved from His future judgment, having already been judged in Christ and pardoned by His grace through our faith in Him. This is our hope! The hope of Glory! No longer under the shadow of His displeasure! (An old refrain slips into memory: "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness..." (I Co.15:4,14,17-20.) Once a beneficiary of Adam's inheritance, sold into slavery of sin, now redeemed and a child of Christ's kingdom, at last set free! Through the former's disobedience -- bound to sin, but the latter's obedience -- set free, and that eternally!
  6. If no longer bound to sin, and through faith in Him are set free, whom the Son sets free is free indeed! (Paul teaches this truth in Chapter 6: that man is at last free from sin. In Chapter 7, he is then free from the Law, it having completed its work -- established forever, every jot and tittle. Thirdly, in Chapter 8, free from the carnal flesh and alive spiritually to Christ!) The question is asked illogically: If the result of sin is God's grace, then should we increase our sin that His grace might also increase proportionately? God forbid! You are slaves, not to the one you say, but to the one you obey! ( Jn.8:34) If sin is still your master, then Christ is none of yours! And sin will exact its payment. The payment for sin is death times two, spiritual and physical, but through Christ the gift of life negates the former.
  7. Paul now declares man free from the Law; its day is done. Where sin abounded, grace did the much more abound! The Law has rested its prosecutorial case. Our Defender and His defense has proven adequate, nay eternally superior! Before the Law, there were no convicted violators; men were alive, hence, none saw their guilt of sin, or sin was dead. Since the Law came, man is seen in violation and dead because sin is revealed or made alive. (The nature of sin is deceptive and its purpose destructive.) But when Christ came, dying under sin's penalty and rising again, taking death captive (sin's penalty), man is made alive again through faith in His resurrection. Therefore, there are two laws: one carnal -- meant for the flesh, and the other spiritual -- meant for the eternal. As long as the two natures coexist, and they will until death, a continual war will wage between the old and new at their point of union. This struggle can be overcome only through the power gained in Christ! ( Jn.16:33; Ph.3:9-10, key vs.10)
  8. Paul gives commentary on 7:6 now in Chapter 8. It is the pinnacle of the Christian's faith! A life dominated by Christ (vs.1-10), a life directed by the Spirit (vs.11-14), and a life dependent upon the Father (vs.15-17). All abiding together in faith and unity! The Law alone capable of condemning us, now no more doing so, its work finished by the work of Christ, therefore, inseparable by any force or power known to God or man! Who then can bring further charge against the elect? The Law alone had authority to do so, having now come and fully done so, has rested. Its case is forever closed. There is now no more condemnation, but only for those in Christ Jesus!
  9. [Paul's compassion for his nation, Israel.] With so great a God and so great a provision by Him, Paul's heart is pricked from the blindness of his fellow Jew, themselves the very chosen to bring this truth to light, but sadly failing to see and do so! His compassion is Mosaic! His plea is personal! They saw the Law as carnal and ceremonial, thinking themselves to be saved through its outward observance and their blood relation to Abraham, but failing to live as he lived, in faith. ( Jn.8:39-40,56) But God who knows all and is all-powerful, will work all things to the good of the believer. He will take the occasion of their temporal fall for the welcoming in of the Gentile believer. (11:25-26) And how great will be that union when we will all be made one in Him! (11:12)
  10. [Paul's prayer for his fellow Jew.] Knowing their zeal toward God in their attempts to establish righteousness through their own works rather than seeing that it comes, as it did to Abraham, purely by faith, Paul is given to much prayer for their salvation. The righteousness of the Law, as defined by Moses, is no different than that of God, as demonstrated by Christ who alone was capable of keeping it. Fallen man since Adam is incapable of performing it, no matter how great his zealotry. He must see and accept that work which God Himself has done through His Son. They are so close to crossing the threshold, the hair is so fine they have split, it looms too large before their naturally focused eyes. The word of faith is hanging from the very tips of their tongues, but they will not let go of themselves and take hold of Him; there is nothing left to be done but to utter them! Be forewarned: this confession must come from within the heart before genuine salvation occurs. Since all man has to do is hear and believe, then how wonderful it is to be a testimony to this truth, for faith comes only from hearing the word of God! ( Isa.52:7) All have heard, but only he with a spiritual ear can hear to faith. God is very patient in His call. ( II Peter 3:9)
  11. [Paul continues with the plight of his nation.] He identifies with them (vs.1); he declares that God has not cast away His chosen, keeping to Himself a true people (vs.2-4); salvation has always been by grace through faith, even for present remnant (vs.5-6); he speaks to Israel's stumbling and reason for their fall -- that salvation might come to the Gentiles (vs.7-32); and finally his expressed awe for God's riches, wisdom, and works in redemption (vs.33-36).
  12. [Paul turns from his doctrinal teachings of Chapters 1-11 to the practical applications for righteous living in Chapters 12 and following. Notice the use of "brethren" in both 10:1 and 12:1 in contrast to the "they" and "their" in 10:3 that clearly separates Israel from these being written to, his fellow Roman "Christians." Clearly he is speaking to the Christian by the use of the term, "brethren," and it is to these he now exhorts to separated and consecrated holy living.] This expectation is predicated on the basis of the incomparable sacrifice the Father and Son made for us. ( Jn.3:16; Heb.5:7-9; Acts 3:18; I Pe.3:18; Ph.2:29) A contrast is seen that readily gives the Christian an opportunity for self-examination pertaining to his position in Christ: carnal conformity and Heavenly transformation. ( II Co.13:5; Col.2:6-8) If one's projected image is more a reflection of Earth's culture, then no transformation is occurring. Paul proceeds to identify the characteristics of the Christian who is allowing the righteousness of Christ to be transformed in his daily life. A stark contrast is seen between the world's way in responsive living to fellow man and Christ's way. The two are diametrically opposite. The world renders evil for evil, but He would have us do the unnatural, which is in keeping with His one commandment for loving, even our enemies. God will repay evil when its payment is due! So live holy, as He is Holy.
  13. [He continues his call to commitment.] After identifying how the Christian is to live with his fellow Christian and those set over against him, Paul continues to expand his practical teachings for daily living to include those in authority over him. Although no longer of the world, yet living in the world, certain obligations are expected for being a good citizen. Though there is conflict in conformity and transformation, it is possible to perform those expectations without violating one's spiritual commitment. All authority is of God and is for man's benefit, just as the rain falls on both the just and unjust and the sun shines on the righteous and unrighteous. He reminds them that fulfillment of His one commandment will encompass all aspects of the spirit of each of God's laws as they relate to social interaction. Since Light has now come into the world, shining upon man's sinful social darkness, he is to put aside those things so associated with it, putting on Christ our transformation for nonconformity to the world's evil ways. ( II Co.5:15,17)
  14. [See I Co.8, a parallel to this Chapter.] Paul now turns to one's obligations to another weaker in the faith. He clearly teaches that a faith that is weak is a stumbling block to he who has it, and a weak faith dabbles in all manner of minor spiritual matters! But he warns, a faith that is strong, if one is not careful, conversely could become a stumbling block to others. Compassion is the operative idea, not contempt! If God has received the weak one, who then is another to judge? As previously discussed, they have already been judged by the Just One! Remember: We all stand alike before His bench. Whether weak or strong, He is the Master of us all, and not ourselves of each other! So treat each other as you would have Christ, your Master, so treat you. 14:19 is the standard for personal behavior toward all! Remember: in all your actions, that which is not done in faith, even for edification, is sin. And sin is: Self  Imposed  Neglect of God's Truth. Therefore, faith is impossible without first hearing, then doing His word (truth). (10:17; Heb.4:2)
  15. Paul concludes his instructions in summation by saying: let us put others first, for this pleases God (vs.1-3); let us understand the purpose of scripture (vs.4); let us be of the same mind and mouth (vs.5-7); let us see Jesus as Master and Minister to all (vs.8-12); and finally, let us be filled with all joy, peace, hope, power, goodness, and knowledge, admonishing one another vs.13-14)! He concludes by expressing his current desires: (1) to be a minister of Jesus Christ (vs.15-19), (2) to reach the unreached first (vs.20-22), and (3) to go to Rome after taking a love offering to the saints in Jerusalem (vs.22-33).
  16. [Final Greetings.] Phebe is introduced, probable bearer of this letter. Priscilla and Aquila, beloved co-labors who had residence in Rome ( Acts 18:2), are greeted, the Church as well. Others are mentioned by name. He closes with salutations from all Churches and a warning against divisions in doctrine. A final praise for the mysteries of Christ made known through God's Gospel to all nations for obedience in faith.
- Author: Ken Livingston
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