What a week it has been! The highlight of the past week was the inauguration of the new President of the United States, President Donald Trump, and the ensuing mixed feelings of excitement coupled with almost worldwide protests and marches in support of women’s rights.
There seems to be so much uncertainty and many people are becoming more apprehensive. And I can understand why. They fear for what could result from a radical Donald Trump Presidency given how powerful he is as the “leader of the free world” and the most powerful nation on earth in present times.
In my prayer time on Saturday morning, the Holy Spirit told me something that immensely calmed my own fears. He reminded me that “the king’s heart is like a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will” (Prov. 21:1). While we pray for leaders around the world (1 Tim. 2:2), let’s never forget that the most powerful people in the world are not those kings or leaders; rather they are the Christians, we who have the backing of the Lord of Hosts! I just wanted to chip that in somewhere, let’s get back to our lessons from scriptures.
In the last article (READ HERE), we learned a few lessons from the story of Paul the Apostle. We saw a bit of how God births his will through all the events and choices men make. We also learned about being committed to ministry even when we are not pastors, and that though our careers are important, Christianity is not a means to career success. We’re moving on.
After Paul’s conversion, we learned last week about his devotion to the cause of the Gospel. This led him to embark on about three missionary journeys before he was killed (his journeys are detailed in the Book of Acts).
Over the course of his journeys, Paul wrote various letters to the different churches he had the opportunity to establish or visit during his trips, as well as those he had never visited but received praise reports about. Such letters are commonly known as Epistles. Most but not all the epistles were written by Paul.
One of such epistles is the Letter of Paul to the church in Rome, popularly known as the Book of Romans in the Bible. It is one of Paul’s most important letters. I hope you could read it – it’s not too late to do so if you haven’t.
Romans is a very vital piece that every Christian must read and understand. This is because it explains core, foundational doctrines that characterize Christianity such as Justification, Sin and Sanctification, as well as the unity of the church and practical Christian living, amongst others.
Compared to other letters Paul wrote, most of which are short, Romans is detailed in its explanation of these concepts. Paul’s aim of writing Romans amongst other things was to unite the Jewish and Gentile believers in the Roman church who were bitterly divided over Jewish customs.
He believed that a thorough understanding of the concepts would clarify any doctrinal divisions/conflicts and unify the church. I will simply give ephemeral takeaways of the letter, but you’ll benefit the most from it if you take out time to read it for yourself. Please do!
So here are 4 points about the Book of Romans:
- In the first 3 chapters, Paul introduces the letter and explains the depravity of humanity – the fact that all men, either Jew or Gentile, are sinners under God’s judgment. All men need salvation, including the Jews even though they were selected as God’s people and therefore all need to hear the Gospel, and he is not ashamed to preach it everywhere (See Romans 1 – 3:20).
- In chapters 3 through 5, Paul explains Justification – the fact that all men, either Jew or Gentile, can obtain righteous standing before God through faith alone in Christ Jesus, void of works. He explained using Abraham’s example, how that Abraham believed God and was counted as righteous before God.
- Furthermore, works were only a result of him (Abraham) already being accepted by God through his faith. He also quoted and used King David’s prophecy, recalling the blessedness of the man whose sins will not be counted against him. He further explains how the nature of sin that man took up through Adam was dealt with in Christ (See Romans 3:21 – 5:21).
- In chapters 6 through 8, he explains Sanctification – the concept of the sin nature and how it’s dominion has been broken, and how we are progressively sanctified by a complete dependence on the Holy Spirit. As we continually depend on the Holy Spirit and yield to him, we go through the process of sanctification, leading to our glorification. He explains that when we walk according to the Spirit, we would not fulfill the desires of the flesh (See Romans 6 – 8).
- In the remaining chapters of the book, Paul explains Unity and Practical Living – how it had always been God’s plan to have a multi-ethnic family as the body of Christ, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles. He further explained its significance and what their interconnected roles in history, before finally admonishing them to live out their Christianity practically. Then he wraps up with final instructions and greetings (See Romans 9 – 16).
Wow! 16 chapters of the book of Romans summarized into four points! This is your starting point. Now the next step is to dig in and read it for yourself, using these points as a contextual guide. Take your time. As you read, also be highly discerning as the Holy Spirit will lead you through.
Have a great week ahead! God is on your side!