ROMANS, Lesson 1 this epistle he will expand this concept to all believers.
The verb "received" is a Greek verb in the aorist tense, indicating that God has given grace in a point in time.
Now what God gives cannot be taken away, for he is immutable, never changing.
GRACE is given to man based upon what Jesus Christ has done. Ephesians 4.
We cannot earn it nor do we deserve it, we can only employ it, tap into it so to speak.
Too often we get into a rut of thinking that we have to earn more grace, even if the earning is by some supposed non-meritorious
means. But that is not the character of Grace - grace is given in full, it is ours, we need only put it to use.
God chose to deal with mankind in grace, that never changes. The problem of living by grace is our problem, not God's.
In James 4:6, which is the only passage that seems to indicate a sliding scale of grace, He gives more grace. The contrast
is to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and we have even more grace than that. "God resists the arrogant but gives grace to
the humble." The verb "gives" is present tense, not to show increase but the consistency of God's plan
Therefore, grace is yours, use it.
As Paul illustrates this he mentions both grace, God's policy towards man, and Apostleship, God's gift and appointment
to Paul and the other apostles.
ANYONE OF US COULD make the same statement by replacing the word apostleship with the spiritual gifts God has given us
and the positions of service to which we have been appointed.
So while the illustration is personal, the application is universal to all believers.
Now, what is it that allows us to tap into GRACE?
Paul mentions it next in verse 5, not by way of a mechanical process; that will come later, but by way of illustration.
"To bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles for His (Jesus Christ our Lord's) name's sake."
These two words "obedience" and "faith" are in apposition to each other. Paul is looking at obedience as that which BELIEVES
something, not that which DOES something.
The major theme of Ecclesiastes is, enjoy what God has given you today.
HOW? By obedience to the Word of God: Eccl 12:13, "Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person."
SOUNDS GOOD BUT HOW? By faith, not by doing something but by believing something.
Faith is a volitional decision to trust God
That decision is made in relationship to other things and systems we could trust in: self, others, government, a human
leader, a spouse, a job, an education, health, wealth.
We make a decision that we will trust God instead of trusting in other things.
We make that decision once, then it is tested over and over again.
Daily we have opportunity to trust God instead of other things, and when we continue in that resolve of faith-trust, we
can enjoy life that day.
At times we will put our trust in a specific promise we know from the Word. At other times our trust is placed in a person
we know, God.
That is how to be obedient, when we start trying to be obedient by what we do we end up trying to earn grace, which is
Paul then mentions the Gentiles because the large majority of his readers are Gentiles rather than Jews:
Acts 18:6 Paul states "From now on I shall go to the Gentiles."
In this we see that Paul understood his ministry and destiny in life and was pursuing what God wanted him to do. See Romans
The motivation for this ministry is described in the phrase: "For His name sake."
Principle: Our highest motive is the person of Christ and His Grace.
The word NAME means much more than just what a person is called, it means their reputation, their character, their accomplishments,
the sum total of who and what they are.
We can see this is the little phrase often said by believers but not really understood - for Christ’s Sake.
Matthew 16:25, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find
Matthew 19:29, "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children,
or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life."
Here is a contrast to proper motive:
John 12:9, "Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that
they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead."
Here was fascination over the miracles of Christ
II Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses
for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
Principle: When we do what we do motivated by the person of Christ we are motivated by grace and that is the more excellent
way for you as a believer.
"Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ."
Now Paul is ready to shift his attention to the recipients of this letter.
In using himself as an illustration he does not want to make himself and the other apostles exclusive; these Gentile believers
in Rome have also been called of Jesus Christ.
These believers belong to the Lord Jesus Christ who has called them unto salvation.
As we saw at verse 1, this word looks at both an invitation and the discharging of a duty. The duty is the decisions of
faith-trust we put in God and His Word.
These believers in Rome belong to Jesus Christ just as much as Paul or any of the apostles do and we do too.
"To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Note: The Grace Notes course in History is a prerequisite of this study. It contains an extended overview of the history
of the Roman Empire. If you have not taken this course, you can request it from Grace Notes.
Now Paul gets back to the salutation.
It is the beloved IN Rome, not the beloved OF Rome. And since the conclusion of the epistle seems to indicate that there
were three local churches in Rome, this title looks both at our citizenship in heaven and our sojourn here on earth. WE are
a heavenly people, we happen to live for a time on earth.
Paul does not, as he often did, use the term CHURCH. That term does not appear until Romans 16. The broader terms BELOVED
and SAINTS indicate that there were a number of churches in Rome and internal evidence shows that these are made up of both
Jews and Gentiles.
Regarding these churches, we do not know how the Gospel of Salvation originally came to this capital city of the ancient
world. No Apostle had yet visited Rome.
Acts 2:10 does indicate that on the Day of Pentecost there were visitors in Jerusalem from Rome. Perhaps they carried the
message of Christ home with them.
Paul wrote this letter from Corinth, towards the end of his third missionary journey. This time and place of writing allows
us to date the letter in either the late winter or early spring of either AD 57 or 58.
While Paul was writing this impressive epistle, he was also faced with a personal decision - where to ROMANS