The Letter to the Romans
COLLEEN MOORE TINKER
2. By Faith
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 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.
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 unwarare, 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.
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. For in the gospel a righteouseness 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." (NIV)
Gratitude and Longing
1. Paul begins by praising God "through Jesus Christ" for the Romans whom he has not yet met. What is significant about the fact that he praises God through Jesus? (see John 15:16; Hebrews 9:8; Hebrews 10:19-22)
2. Paul does not personally know the Christians in Rome; he has not visited there, and he does not know intimately their problems and strengths. In spite of this fact, what can we deduce about Paul from his statements in verses 9-11?
3. The apostle Paul tells these Christ-followers he has never met that he desires that they may "be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." What can we further deduce about Paul's attitude about himself and his work by this statement?
4. What can we conclude about the ethnic composition of the Roman church from verse 13?
Paul and the Gospel
5. The word "non-Greeks" in verse 14 were is literally "barbarians". They were probably Roman citizens who spoke Latin; they weren't Greek, and they lacked the culture, education, and polish the Greeks possessed. What did Paul mean when he said he was obligated ("debtor" in some translations) to them and to the Greeks, to "the wide and the foolish"? What obligated him? (see 1 Corinthians 9:16; Acts 9:15; 26:16-18)
6. "I am not ashamed of the gospel," Paul writes in verse 16, "because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." Why might the subject of shame emerge at all as Paul declares his loyalty to the gospel? (see Isaiah 51:7; 2 Timothy 1:8; 12, 16; Mark 8:38; Matthew 5:11-12; 10:33; Luke 12:9; John 15:20-21)
7. The gospel, Paul says, is "the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile." What does Paul mean when he says the power of God for salvation is "first to the Jew"? (see John 4:22; Isaiah 2:3; Romans 3:1-2; 9:3-5; 15:8-9; Acts 3:24-26; 13:46-47)
8. If salvation was first for the Jews, explain the Gentiles' place in God's kingdom. (see Romans 11:17-32)
9. What is "a righteousness that is by faith"? (see Romans 3:21-24; 9:30-32; Philippians 3:7-9; Habbakuk 2:4; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)
Application and Commitment
10. How concerend are you for the salvation of people you don't know?
11. What circumstances or situations in your life have caused you to affirm that you are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ?
12. In what ways do you manipulate or attempt to manage your circumstances?
13. How has "a righteousenss from God" changed your life?
14. What area(s) of your life is God prompting you to surrender in order to live all of your life by faith?
15. For what in your life is God nudging you to take responsibility instead of passively avoiding it?
16. Praise God for giving you his righteousness that is by faith. Ask him to continue to reveal to you the areas of your life which you need to surrender to him. Accept God's power and love as his provisions for you to live responsibly and victoriously by faith.
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CA USA. All rights reserved. Posted April 8, 2003.