The book of Romans was written around 57 AD by Paul. He was not writing to a church he himself had established on a Missionary Journey but to a church that had begun in Rome, perhaps formed by believers who had fled there from persecution in other places. Paul had not met all these people and did not know completely what they had been taught about ‘The Way’. In preparation for his planned visit to Rome, he writes to them, setting out in what has been seen as his most systematically argued letter, the hope in which they have believed. Compared to the effusive language of a book like Ephesians, Romans can perhaps seem hard going, perhaps because the argument is so dense. But imagine a studious German monk over a thousand years later, opened up this book and came to understand the AMAZING depths of God’s grace to us and with that knowledge totally turned upside down the Church! Martin Luther realised that Christ’s death meant individual salvation for all, and that there was nothing any of us could ever do to earn it, I’m delighted that he did!
Romans 5 and 6 celebrates how Jesus bought us peace with God. Paul carefully outlines what the fruits of righteous are, contrasting it with our unrighteousness in the second half of chapter 5 and then works to explain how we have now become free from sin’s tyranny in Chapter 6.
Jesus has done it all. Paul writes to the church in Rome about living as a new and transformed people. Faith is knowing that we have received His righteousness because of what He has done. It is an act of surrender. We cannot please God without Jesus, we cannot live for God unless He lives in us. That is the only place where we can place our confidence and that confidence is also a gift from Him. Nothing can separate us, so we must rejoice in this hope, more than a hope, a fact!
How can we keep ourselves from forgetting this? Because these truths should transform our lives and should be a tremendous relief! Yet I know all too often I’m striving when I should be celebrating, when I should be living this peace,
These 2 chapters of Romans are quite densely written argument for us in an age of the sound bite, layer upon layer of amazing truth urging us to rejoice in the fact of our place before God, won wholly and completely through the perfect life and sacrificial death of our friend Jesus.
My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! HG Spafford