Romans 1:1-17 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The Righteous Will Live by Faith
Comments for Study 1

Romans 1:1-17
Memory Verse: 17

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"For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'"

I. Paul, the Servant of Christ Jesus (1-6)

>1. How does Paul introduce himself? (1)

* Romans 1:1 "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God."

* Paul identifies himself three ways:
    1. "a servant of Christ Jesus".
    2. "an apostle".
    3. "set apart for the gospel of God".

>What does he mean by "servant"?

* "servant" -the modern definition is; a person paid to wait on another or others, an official, and/or someone devoted to a cause.

* At one time in our recent history when we say a person was "a servant of Jesus," or "a servant of God" that person was viewed as a great man or women by most. Not any more. In Paul's day being a servant was a person of low class. Most people in Rome was either a slave or a servant.

In Paul's day servant meant; one who serves someone as a slave because they are owned by them. A servant was the lowest possession of society. A servant was at the disposal of their master. A servant had no rights of his own. He could be bought or sold according to the masters wishes.

* "servant of Christ Jesus" -Even though being a servant in Paul's day was an occupation that no one desired, Paul considered being a servant of Jesus the most glorious occupation to have.

* Being a servant of Jesus is a statement of the nature of the relationship one has with Jesus.

>Why does he describe himself in this way? (See 1:6; 6:16; 7:14)

* Romans 1:6 "And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ."

* Romans 6:16 "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?"

* Romans 7:14 "We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin."

* "belong to Jesus Christ" -slaves belong to their master.

* "offer yourselves to someone to obey" -everyone is a slave to either sin or obedience. Everyone is a slave of someone.

* "sold as a slave" -slaves are bought and sold. Paul knew that Jesus bought him by shedding his blood on the cross. There was a transfer of ownership.

* "an apostle" -Some people were saying that Paul really wasn't an apostle so he wanted to state that he was. Also because he himself wanted to remind himself before God who he was. What we think of ourselves is important.

>What did it mean to Paul to be "set apart" for the Gospel? (Galatians 1:15)

* Galatians 1:15 "But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased..."

* "set apart" -means sanctified; taken out of the world by God's will; taken out of his people, Israel; drafted by God.

* Why was Paul set apart? To preach the gospel.

* He was not a volunteer.

* Paul here was indirectly stating that he was called by God. Therefore, he was not a false prophet as many probably claimed.

* An organization, director, a priest, a pastor, or a shepherd does not call a person into the service of God, but God through the Holy Spirit. However, God uses people directly or indirectly to call people to him. That is why Jesus instructed us to preach the good news (gospel).

* John 1:12,13; 15:16,19; and 17:15-17 all speak how it is God who chooses us.

* "from birth"-Paul wrote Galatians when he was younger in Christ. Later, when he was older, as he wrote Ephesians, he said God called his from the "creation of the world". (Eph. 1:4,5)

>2. Read verses 2-3.

* Romans 1:2-3 "the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David."

>What is Jesus' relationship to the gospel?

* "the gospel...regarding (Jesus)"-The gospel is about Jesus, it is Jesus. Jesus is the focal point of the gospel. The gospel is Jesus personally and totally.

* "gospel" -good news in Greek.

* The word, "gospel" is repeated six times in these verses. (1, 2, 9, 15, 16 & 17)

* The good news to man is Jesus. It can't be another. Take away Jesus and their would be no gospel. This is different than other religions. Take away Buddha and there would still be his teaching. Take away Mohammed and there would still be Islam. Take away Moses and there still is the Law.

>What else does Paul tell us about the one to whom he is a slave?

* "his Son" -Jesus is the Son of God.

>3. How does the gospel reveal God's faithfulness?

* Romans 1:2 "The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scripture."

* God keeps his promises. He sent the promised one, Jesus, the Christ.

* "he promised beforehand through his prophets" -Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promise.

* Paul did not invent the gospel. It was God's will proclaimed to all people.

* Jesus' coming was preplanned by God. Any book of the Bible has Jesus in it.

* "he promised beforehand" -Jesus' life, death and resurrection and coming again as King of king was promised from Adam to John the Baptist. God did not suddenly get the idea. Immanuel God was planned from the creation of the world.

* "in the Holy Scripture" -There are 39 books in the Old Testament, and they were written over a 3000 year period. "Holy Scriptures for Paul was only the Old Testament, not referring to the New Testament. In fact most of the New Testament would come from Paul's writings. He did not know that later they would be called the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

* "through his prophets" -The Old Testament can be broken down into three types/sections. The first is the first five books written by Moses. The next is the historical books written by various people. The last is the poems, psalms, and prophets. All three section are prophetical and inspirited by God through the Holy Spirit. All the writters were Israelites. Most of the prophets were Jews.

>How does this prove the Bible's authenticity?

* It was fulfilled even though it was written by different authors over a long period time.

* It proves that although men wrote the Bible, it was God who inspired ever letter they wrote.

* Paul's letter to the Romans is about God and Jesus and the gospel.

>4. Read verses 3b-4.

* "regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead; Jesus Christ our Lord." (3b-4)

>What does Jesus' descent from David show about him?

* "who as to his human nature was" -Jesus was a man, in the flesh, as we are.

* "a descendant of David" -Jesus is in the kingly line of David, and more Jesus was fulfillment to the words of God's promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:12.

* A king is known as ruler, protector, law maker, judge, and conqueror.

>How did he become a spiritual king?

* "and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead; Jesus Christ our Lord." (4)

* "by his resurrection from the dead" -Jesus conquered what no one else did or could, sin and death. This proves to man that Jesus is the Son of God.

* Jesus is the Son of God, was and always will be. Unlike worldly kings Jesus is a living king for ever and ever and ever...

* "was declared" -The resurrection is the declaration and sign that he is the Son of God to men so all could see. It was like an inauguration. God showed the people who Jesus was through his resurrection.

* Jesus told the Jews many times, "No sign will be given you except the sign of the prophet Jonah." (Matt. 12:39-40)

* "Jesus Christ our Lord" -All through in this letter Paul addresses Jesus in this way. When Paul mentioned Jesus he put his whole title because he had great respect for Jesus and was pleased to address him as such.

* "Christ" -Christ is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah. Messiah means the anointed one of God. It refers to him being priest, prophet, and king for only these callings were anointed.

>What does this show about Paul's servitude?

* It is noble because his king not only died for him but also rose from the dead.

* It is worth while for he served the King of the Universe.

* Paul did everything before his living King, Jesus.

II. Grace and Apostleship (5)

>5. Read verse 5.

* Romans 1:5 "Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

>What was Paul's position under his king, Jesus?

* "Through him and for his name's sake"-talk about later at the end of question 6.

* "we received" -not earned but given freely.

* Paul was an apostle.

* "apostle" -means one sent out. Being an apostle was more than a title, it was a calling to a mission.

>What is the basic grace which Paul (and we) receive through Jesus? (1 Ti. 1:14-15; Rom. 7:25; and 1 Co. 15:10)

* 1 Timothy 1:14-15 "The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance; Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst."

* Romans 7:25 "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."

* 1 Corinthians 15:10 "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

* Forgiveness of all sins, error, and faults through Jesus is the basic grace we received.

* Freedom from the fear of death is also a basic grace received in Jesus.

* Mission, life direction, and a life for Jesus is additional graces. (Eph. 3:8)

* "grace" -unmerited divine assistance (The assistance is delivery from sin and death and being let into heaven.)

* "and" -they go together, we have both.

* "Through him and for his name's sake" -Not from another, not for another, not even self.

>6. What mission was given to Paul?

* "...apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

* "apostleship" -here used in a general sense. Notice the small case letter is used. In other places, where the large case letter is used, "Apostleship", it refers to his specific title and authority. Only a few Christians were ever given the title "Apostle" by Jesus. None was given this title since Paul. But all are still under the general term, "apostleship" because Jesus sends all his people to proclaim the good news.

* Paul's defines "apostleship" specifically as: to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. This includes preaching the gospel and training in righteousness.

* "to the obedience" -we do not teach just the gospel, but train them to obey Jesus. This isn't easy and will often meet with resistance not only by the receiver but other people who see us teaching obedience to Jesus. To live by faith.

* "that comes from faith" -true obedience that God is looking for is by faith, nothing else is pleasing to him. (Heb. 11:6)

* "to call people" -communicate with words.

* "from among all the Gentiles" -Paul learned that his mission was specificly to the Gentiles. At first Paul preached to the Jews, almost all rejected his message and him personally.

>Do all who receive the grace of forgiveness also receive the grace of mission?

* Yes.

* "we" -all receive the apostleship.

* "grace and apostleship" -they go together.

>Why or who not?

* God called us for a purpose. See Paul's introduction of himself, "called to be..." (1)

* It is God's grace to give us a mission and purpose in life that is truly satisfactory and eternally rewarding.

* grace >>>>mission >>>>grace >>>>mission >>>>grace>>>>...It's a continuous life.

>How can fallen man be restored to live for God's glory?

* "through him" -through Jesus (5). We can not do it to ourself or to others or through others. We live not for ourselves but for Jesus.

* "and for him" -Jesus is our reason for keeping and doing our mission.

* Just as forgiveness is only through and for Jesus so also mission is only through and for him. Some say, "I can not do mission", but this says, "Through Jesus we can".

* Jesus would not have given us apostleship (mission) if it couldn't be accomplished through us.

* Just as Jesus' didn't have to give us nor need to give us grace, so also he didn't have to nor need to give us apostleship.

III. Paul's Prayer for the Romans (7-17)

>7. Read verses 7-10.

* Romans 1:7-10 "To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in all 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."

>Why was Paul so thankful for the saints in Rome?

* Their faith was being reported all over Rome. (8)

* The Christian's faith in Rome wasn't strong. It consisted of just overcoming the evil society around them.

* Paul had not acquaintance with them yet he thanked God for them.

* Even though they were weak in faith Paul didn't belittle them. (7)

* We should thank God for all our co-workers of the gospel even if their faith is weak.

>Why did he pray so constantly for them?

* "to make you strong" -in verse 15 he indicates this.

* They were weak in faith.

* They were being persecuted.

* They were young spiritually.

* Paul prayed for them even though he wasn't the one who brought the gospel to them. Why? Because of love.

* "God is my witness" -Paul was very sure of his heart on this matter. He constantly prayed.

* "whole heart" -Paul confidently said with his whole heart.

* "All of you" -even though there was many of them he prayed for all of them, with no exception.

* "at all times" -time to pray wasn't a for Paul prayed at all times.

>What else did he pray for?

* Romans 1:10b "...and I pray that now at last if it is God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you."

* "if it is God's will" -Paul moved according to God's will. It was always Paul's desire to go to Rome, but he waited for God to say, "Go."

* It is important to pray according to God's will. (James 4:15)

* "open the door" -Paul knew that God would open the door if he wanted to.

>Why did he want to go to Rome?

* Romans 1:11-13 "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers that I planed may times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles."

* Romans 1:15 "that is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome."

* "some spiritual gift to make you strong" -Paul knew it was God's will that they would grow and be strong. They weren't strong enough to be a outreach church yet. Paul didn't "hit them over the head" with it. Rather, he wanted to teach them according to the word of God.

* "spiritual gift" -Paul wanted to preach the gospel to them so that they could grow in faith. More in question 8.

* "harvest" -from preaching and teaching the word. John 4:35 records Jesus saying, "My food is to do the work God sent me to do." Jesus also told about a harvest of believes to come at the end of the is age. Jesus said that at the harvest he would reward those whose work produced a harvest; the more the greater the reward.

* "mutually encouraged" -by the word of God shared and taught, and, receive and obeyed.

* Paul had no connection with them through direct preaching. But they are connected to him through Christ.

>8. Read verses 11-15.

* Romans 1:11-15 "I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong--that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, 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 among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome."

>What can we learn here about Paul's missionary strategy?

* To encourage and raise up people by preaching the word of God.

* Their understanding of the gospel as well as their faith was weak. Paul knew if he strengthened them, they would send the gospel out.

>What was the spiritual gift he wanted to give them? (11)

* The spiritual gift Paul wanted to give them was the word of God.

* Verse 15 clarifies this even more.

* Rome was the center of the Gentile world in those days. There was a saying in those days which portrait this, "all roads lead to Rome." If Rome would be pioneered, the whole world would be influenced.

* "strengthen" -to build them as leaders, not just to convert them and then leave them alone.

>How was Paul's vision God's vision too? (See Acts 9:15)

* Acts 9:15 "But the Lord said to Ananias, 'Go!,' This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.'"

* From the beginning God called Paul to go to the Gentiles.

* It was not what Paul could do, but what God would do through Paul.

* "and before the people of Israel" -This was all twelve tribes, not just the one tribe of Judah. The ten northern tribes had been brought into captivity around seven hundred years earlier, never to return. By Paul's time no one but God knew who were descendant of the ten northern tribes (Israel).

>9. Read verses 14 and 15 again.

* Romans 1:14-15 "I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.'"

>Where did Paul's sense of obligation come from?

* From the grace of God.

* Paul highly valued and believed in the power of the gospel.

* Paul received the gospel freely so he shared it freely.

* "all" -no distinction.

* Jesus saved him not our of duty, but out of passion and love.

* Even though we may do a lot, we need to have an unworthy servant attitude.

>Practically, what does it mean to be a debtor to all people?

* That I owe all people's the gospel.

* In 13:8 Paul declares that we have a continuing debt to love one another. If I truly love someone, even a stranger, I am obligated by love to share the gospel.

* There is no distinction between the wise and foolish (unlearned).

* "obligated" -the apostleship was his office given by God and his office (title and/or position) made him a debtor to preach the gospel.

* "obligated" -there is a sense of urgency in Paul's speech here.

>10. Read verses 14-16 again.

* Romans 1:14-16 "I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

>What do these verses tell us about the scope of the gospel?

* "Greeks" -Paul's first missionary journeys were to the Greeks. However, Paul's mission was also to more than the Greeks. The Greeks whom consisted of most of his ministry, and the Jews whom he first preached the gospel to, was not all that he was to preach to. He would preach to all.

* It is the power of God for everyone who believes.

* The Romans were enemies of the Jews and vis-versa, but Paul felt obligated to them too.

>Why was it necessary to say, "I am not ashamed of the gospel"?

* Jesus was crucified as a criminal. This was not the picture of a savior and messiah to the Greeks, Romans, nor Jews.

* To the Greeks the gospel seemed to simple and the Jews were a low class people.

* To the Romans the cross was a sign of disgrace and Jews were a low class people. The Roman god's were powerful and victorious.

* The gospel seems not very practical and morally irresponsible, and irrelevant to current problems and needs.

* Christians seemed foolish, going against the sinful nature seems impractical.

* "I am not" -Paul was not ashamed because the gospel is the power of God.

>Why does everyone need the gospel?

* It is the power of God to change people.

* It teaches us about salvation and God.

>11. Read verse 17.

* Romans 1:17 "For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

>How is the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel?

* "by faith" -it is revealed by faith.

* "righteousness" -a right relationship with God. Jesus is righteousness.

* "from God" -in man's eyes there are other righteousness', but their is only one that God prescribes to. It is in the gospel.

* "righteousness" -starts with a relationship with God; then our behavior, manner and ethics are a by product.

>Why must it be revealed by faith from first to last?

* From the beginning to the very end.

>What does it mean to live by faith?

* To live a righteous life, with hope we will be redeemed.

* In obedience to God.

* Continuously.

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