I will not pretend that I can do justice to Romans in 200 words a day but I will try to highlight a few things this week as we read it.
Paul begins the letter with a short introduction to his role as apostle and a definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We then learn that he has never been to Rome but has desired to visit them for some time but has been prevented for some unknown reason. Paul then explains the cause of Gentile sin. The Gentiles were engaging in “shameful lusts” as a consequence of their exchanging God for idols. Their engagement in shameful sins was a result of their rejecting God – it is a sign that they are under condemnation. He provides a list of those sins and concludes that although they know these things are despicable and deserve death they continue to do them and encourage others to do likewise.
In the second chapter Paul explains to Jews the true nature of the Law. Jews assume that because they were circumcised and thus members of God’s chosen people they could find forgiveness for breaking the Law. Paul says that only those whose hearts are circumcised by the Spirit are truly members of God’s people. This is in line with Old Testament prophecy as we discussed on Sunday.
In chapter three Paul explains how all need salvation and all can be saved through Christ. Paul presents this salvation in Jewish legal terms: “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith” (3:25). Both Jews who already had the Law and Gentiles who had only a general law must find salvation through the faith that Christ was presented as an all encompassing sacrifice of atonement.