Romans

The Life-Giving Spirit

Romans 8:10-11, “10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to...

The Indwelling Spirit of God

Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” Paul is a complex thinker, and his arguments often hold together several complementary...

The Mind Set on the Flesh

Romans 8:7-8, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Paul’s focus in Romans 8 can be summed up as “life in the Spirit,” as the chapter...

No Condemnation In Christ

Romans 8:1-2, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the...

Trusting the Christ Captain of Our Souls

Trusting the Christ Captain of Our Souls

Throughout Romans 7, Paul has dealt with an important problem relevant to all Christians: why do I keep sinning if I am saved? Why, even though I love God’s Word and God’s law, do I keep on sinning even when I know I must not? Our passage summarizes Paul’s...

Evil Lurking Close at Hand

Evil Lurking Close at Hand

Romans 7:21, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” “The devil made me do it” may be a popular way of using humor to excuse sin, but we should never use this rationalization. Indeed, sin is not funny in the least, but remains...

Our True Identity

Our True Identity

Romans 7:18-20, “18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do...

The Believer’s Struggle

The Believer’s Struggle

Romans 7:14-17, “ For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is...

Sinful Beyond Measure

Sinful Beyond Measure

Romans 7:13, “Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.” Moving forward in our study...

The Law in the Life of an Unbeliever

The Law in the Life of an Unbeliever

Romans 7:12, “So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Interpreters have long struggled to square Paul’s teaching on the law of God—particularly its revelation in the Mosaic law—with Old Testament texts that praise this law (for...

Sin’s Perversion of the Law

Sin’s Perversion of the Law

Romans 7:8-11, “8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very...

An Attitude of Contentment

An Attitude of Contentment

Romans 7:7-8, “What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, seizing an opportunity...

Belonging and Bearing Fruit

Belonging and Bearing Fruit

Across the table from me, a young man, maybe fifteen years old, was pouring out his heart. While we ate our burgers and fries, he shared how he loved the Lord but struggled to apply the gospel daily. His friends were regularly doing things that he, as a Christian,...

Freed from the Law

Freed from the Law

Romans 7:1-3, “Or do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2 For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the...

The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of Life

The Wages of Sin vs. the Gift of Life

Romans 6:22-23, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We...

Slavery to Sin and Its Fruit

Slavery to Sin and Its Fruit

Romans 6:20-21, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” As we look at all religions besides...

Slaves to Righteousness

Slaves to Righteousness

Romans 6:15-19, “15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of...

Living Under Grace

Living Under Grace

Romans 6:14, “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” Legal righteousness—a standing before God that says we have kept His covenant—is granted to us when we believe the gospel, when we trust in Jesus alone for salvation...

Instruments of Righteousness

Instruments of Righteousness

Romans 6:12-13, “12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your...

Considering Ourselves Properly

Considering Ourselves Properly

Romans 6:11, “11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Growth in holiness—our sanctification—does not constitute an optional addendum to the gospel; rather, it is a necessary fruit of the gospel. Indeed, properly...

Living to God

Living to God

Romans 6:8–10, “8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but...

United to Christ

United to Christ

Romans 6:5-7, “5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self[a] was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we...

Baptized into Christ

Baptized into Christ

Romans 6:3-4, “3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too...

Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin

Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” Without a doubt, Paul is used to fielding objections to the Gospel, especially those having to do with the law of God....

The Obedience Of One

The Obedience Of One

Romans 5:18-21, “18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be...

More Sin, More Grace

More Sin, More Grace

Romans 5:20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” Already in Romans on more than one occasion we have seen Paul anticipating objections having to do with the law of God. Here, it seems, he foresees...

Constituting Us Righteous

Constituting Us Righteous

Romans 5:18-19, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through...

The Justice of God’s Choice

The Justice of God’s Choice

Romans 5:15-17, “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that...

Saved By the Life of God’s Son

Saved By the Life of God’s Son

Romans 5:10–11, “10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now...

Love Finds a Way

Love Finds a Way

Romans 5:9, “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Reformed theology rightly stresses the forensic aspects of salvation. It affirms that in order for God to be just in the redemption of...

God’s Display of His Love

God’s Display of His Love

Romans 5:6-8, “6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still...

A New View of Suffering

A New View of Suffering

Romans 5:3-5, “3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts...

The Peace that Brings Access

The Peace that Brings Access

Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” In justification,...

For Abraham’s Sake and Ours

For Abraham’s Sake and Ours

Romans 4:22-25, “22 That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23 But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24 but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord,...

Spiritual DNA

Spiritual DNA

Not long ago, DNA self-testing kits were all the rage. Our daughter received one as a gift and delighted in reporting to us what she’d learned about our family heritage. Other fads may have since surpassed the popularity of the kits, but the questions that motivated...

The Assurance of Faith

The Assurance of Faith

Romans 4:16-17, “16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is...

Becoming Heirs of the Kingdom

Becoming Heirs of the Kingdom

Romans 4:13–15, “13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is...

Not by Any of Our Works

Not by Any of Our Works

Romans 4:9-12, “9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. 10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but...

The Non-Imputation of Sin

The Non-Imputation of Sin

Romans 4:6–8, “just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 8 blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his...

Counting Faith as Righteousness

Counting Faith as Righteousness

Romans 4:4–5, “4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in[a] him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,” Continuing our study of Romans 4, which is a...

Is Abraham’s Boast Works or Faith?

Is Abraham’s Boast Works or Faith?

Illustrations are living examples of abstract truths. They plant the truth in the soil of real life. Even the strongest argument needs a living example to be persuasive. Jesus constantly uses illustrations. He helps listeners see by clothing spiritual truth in their...

Upholding the Law by Faith

Upholding the Law by Faith

Romans 3:29–31, “29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since God is one—who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. 31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no...

No Room for Boasting

No Room for Boasting

Romans 3:27-28, “27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” In a human manner of speaking, God must overcome a...

Just and Justifier

Just and Justifier

Romans 3:25–26, “25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that...

God’s Legal Declaration

God’s Legal Declaration

Romans 3:23–24, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Last week we observed that when James speaks of justification, he uses the term to mean...

The Righteousness of God Manifested

The Righteousness of God Manifested

Romans 3:21-22, “21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction.” Romans...

The Law and Accountability

The Law and Accountability

Romans 3:19–20, “Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being[a] will be justified in his sight, since...

No Fear of God

No Fear of God

Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” In the opening chapters of Romans, Paul has been methodically building his case that all mankind in Adam is without the righteousness that allows us to stand unafraid before God Almighty. The Gentiles who do...

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed

Ruin, Misery, and Bloodshed

Romans 3:15–17, “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16     in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” Head to toe, there is no part of us that is not affected by sin. Outside of Christ, we are under the dominion of sin, and it...

The Mouths of Sinners

The Mouths of Sinners

Romans 3:12–14. “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14     “Their mouth is full of curses and...

No One Is Righteous

No One Is Righteous

Romans 3:10–11, “None is righteous, no, not one; 11     no one understands; no one seeks for God.” For the first-century Jew who prided himself on being a part of God’s chosen people unlike the unclean, pagan Gentiles, the notion that even the Jews were not inherently...

Objective and Subjective Guilt

Objective and Subjective Guilt

Romans 3:9, “What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,” In washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus made it clear that those who follow Him need both the definitive cleansing from...

That Good May Come

That Good May Come

Romans 3:8, “And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.” Because of his charge that first-century Jews had not kept God’s law with the perfection necessary to be declared righteous before Him...

Is God Unrighteous?

Is God Unrighteous?

Romans 3:5-7, “5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God's truth...

The Faithfulness of God

The Faithfulness of God

Romans 3:3-4, “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” At the...

The True Advantage of the Jew

The True Advantage of the Jew

Romans 3:1–2, “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.” Paul will not countenance the idea that merely being a Jew and having some external obedience to...

The Place of Circumcision

The Place of Circumcision

Romans 2:26-27, “26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but...

The Value of Circumcision

The Value of Circumcision

Romans 2:25, “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.” Lest anyone think that Paul pulls any punches in his argument that his Jewish contemporaries had no advantage before God because...

Blaspheming God’s Name

Blaspheming God’s Name

Romans 2:24, “For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Judaism in the first century was a complex religion wherein each different subgroup had its own perspective on what the true expression of God’s covenant with Moses...

The Jews’ Failure to Keep the Law

The Jews’ Failure to Keep the Law

Romans 2:21b–23, “21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law...

Teaching Oneself

Teaching Oneself

Romans 2:17-21, “17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; 19 and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who...

The Work of the Law on the Heart

The Work of the Law on the Heart

Romans 2:14–16, “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears...

Is Possessing the Law Enough?

Is Possessing the Law Enough?

Romans 2:12–13, “12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be...

God’s Impartiality

God’s Impartiality

Romans 2:11, “For God shows no partiality.” Among other things, the Protestant Reformation was sparked by the desire to get the order of salvation correct. Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin were reacting against the confusion of justification and...

The Sequence of Salvation

The Sequence of Salvation

Romans 2:9–10, “9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.” Christians have pored over Scripture for two...

Weighing Our Works

Weighing Our Works

Romans 2:6–8, “6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,...

Presuming upon God’s Kindness

Presuming upon God’s Kindness

Romans 2:3–5, “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is...

Without Excuse

Without Excuse

Romans 2:1–2, “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such...

Approving Evil

Approving Evil

Romans 1:32, “Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Can human beings do anything more evil than what we read in Romans 1:18–31? Is there...

Rejecting God and Ruining Ourselves

Rejecting God and Ruining Ourselves

Many good, church-going Christians probably know someone who needs to hear Romans 1:29-31 but think it has no bearing on them. Who wants to find themselves in the greatest hits of a debased mind? (Romans 1:28) These verses are not the type of normal morning quiet time...

Humanity’s Debased Mind

Humanity’s Debased Mind

Romans 1:28, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.” Homosexual behavior, in particular, demonstrates the exchange of what is good and natural according to God’s created order for that...

Giving up What Is Natural

Giving up What Is Natural

Romans 1:26–27, “26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one...

Worshiping the Creature

Worshiping the Creature

Romans 1:22–25, “22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the...

Radical Corruption

Radical Corruption

Romans 1:21–23, “21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal...

The Primal Sin of Humanity

The Primal Sin of Humanity

Romans 1:19–21, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that...

The Suppression of Truth

The Suppression of Truth

Romans 1:19-21, “19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things...

The Righteousness of God in Christ

The Righteousness of God in Christ

Romans 1:16–17, “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous...

Paul, The Soul Winner

Paul, The Soul Winner

Each local church plays a vital role in the great commission. If we desire to see the expanse of the gospel in our nation and the world, there must be evangelists in local churches who keep the fires burning. The Church today needs ministers of the gospel who emulate...

Paul’s Intent to Visit Rome

Paul’s Intent to Visit Rome

Romans 1:8–12, “8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers,...

The Church in Rome

The Church in Rome

Romans 1:5–7, “ through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, 7 To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called...

The Gospel of God in History

The Gospel of God in History

Romans 1:2-4, “2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[a] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his...

Paul’s Magnum Opus

Paul’s Magnum Opus

Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,” For centuries, the faithful descendants of Abraham according to the flesh—the Jews— looked forward to God’s decisive intervention to restore the nation of Israel...