The Purpose of Romans
Paul in this letter works out the fullest, clearest expression of the meaning of the Gospel in all his letters. The gospel involves the good news about the kind of person God is. He is righteous, gracious, longsuffering, fair, non-arbitrary, and respectful of our freedom and dignity. This is just the opposite of Satan’s charges (Ch. 1).
All people have sinned and are in a state of active or passive rebellion against God. The first part of their healing (which is their salvation) is to help them see God’s attitude toward sinners as described above. This revelation is supremely given in Christ Jesus (Ch. 2 & 3). When a person is willing to listen and accepts Jesus’ picture of God’s attitude toward him/her, then the relationship of faith can grow. Faith describes the kind of relationship God wants with His people (example Abraham, Ch. 4). It involves mainly a heart-motivated willingness to believe, receive, and do God’s will because we see the good sense of it. In the process of doing this, we are healed and fully set right with God (Ch. 5-8).
The more we learn about God’s dealings with the human race (Ch. 9-11), the more evidence we have for His complete fairness and unending love. This evidence becomes the basis for our continued faith in God. Our faith in God’s “grace-ousness” In the process, we treat others the way that God does — 1) using blessings to seek others’ good, 2) exercising proper respect for the authority and orderliness of life under God, 3) limiting my own exercise of personal freedom for the sake of building up and lending dignity to my weaker brother, and 4) rejoicing in the privilege of sharing the good news about God in my preaching and style of living (Ch. 12-15).
Thus, Paul shows not only that God’s vindication of His own name has forever made the universe secure, but it has also provided the evidence upon which our response of faith in God can lead to a complete healing of our relationship with God. May God be praised for His wonderful character as revealed so clearly in Jesus and in Paul who knew Jesus very well.
August 25, 1977