I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39
5 days; 3.25 chapters a day
answering questions regarding what the gospel is, why we need it, and how we live it
leaders in the Roman church, Paul, Roman Gentiles, Roman Jews
Paul wrote from Corinth circa AD 56, in the midst of his missionary journeys there. He was worried he might be killed before he could reach Rome to meet this group. He wasn’t — he made it three years later. He wanted to write to his Roman friends and address the key truths of the gospel, and he always aimed to answer their most burning questions.
This first epistle, or letter, in the Bible was not the first written chronologically, but it’s considered “the head” of the Epistles because it perfectly crystalizes the nature of the gospel. The church in Rome was a mix of Jews and Gentiles. The Jews wondered, “How do we deal with Gentiles who are now part of our faith? Should they be circumcised and act according to our traditions? What do we do with the Law?” Paul pointed out that Jews and Gentiles are all sinners in the same boat, all subject to judgment, and all offered the free gift of grace through Christ. Jesus circumcises the heart — the most important thing — and that changes our very nature. Our works reflect Christ’s grace; the Law is there to show us where we’ve gone wrong. Jesus’ free gift of love didn’t just land in our laps; the whole of history and the Old Testament led up to this point. And now Jesus’ gospel equips us and gives us hope, peace, and perseverance in this life. Now we live as a community, a body of Christ, transformed, bestowed with gifts, and reflecting His love in the world. Our job as a church is to build up one another and give thanks to Jesus with our lives.
As you read Romans, take time to digest this straightforward account of what it means to be redeemed and what it means to be the church today.
1. Based on how Paul described the gospel, what do you think are the most important points? What is repeated often? How would you concisely explain the gospel to someone struggling to understand it today?
2. What is your experience of living by the Law versus living by Jesus’ grace? In what ways do you find yourself trying to earn God’s grace or salvation? How do Paul’s words here offer you relief?
3. Several key concepts occur in Paul’s description of Jesus’ work on the cross. What do they both mean in the text and, and what do they mean to you personally? Consider using references to dig into these terms: grace, redemption, propitiation, justification.
4. Toward the end of Romans, Paul gives us a beautiful and encouraging picture of a life transformed by Jesus’ grace. What does a transformed life look like in your actions? In our relationships with others? In the church? In our communities? In your relationship with the Holy Spirit? In the world at large?
Excerpted with permission from Journal Through the Bible: Exploring Genesis to Revelation, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Praise Jesus for grace! Many of us aren’t Jewish by birth and have been “graced” into the family of God! Romans is the book for us. We’re not bound by the old covenant! Come share your thoughts on Paul’s teachings in Romans. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily