Romans Chapter One
There is no epistle in which the apostle places his apostleship on more positive and formal ground than in this; for at Rome he had no claim in virtue of his labours. He had never seen the Romans. He was none the less their apostle; for he was that of the Gentiles. He was a debtor to the Gentiles. He writes to them because he had received a mission from the Lord Himself towards all the Gentiles. They were in his allotted sphere of service as being Gentiles. It was his office to present them as an offering sanctified by the Holy Ghost (chap. 15:16). This was his commission. God was mighty in Peter towards the Jews; the mission of Paul was to the Gentiles. It was to him this mission was entrusted. The twelve moreover acknowledged it. If God has ordained that Paul should accomplish his mission in direct connection with heaven and outside the secular influence of the capital, and if Rome was to be a persecutor of the gospel, that city was not the less Gentile on this account. It belonged to Paul with reference to the gospel. According to the Holy Ghost Peter addresses the Jews in the exercise of his apostleship; Paul, the Gentiles.
This was the administrative order according to God; let us now come to the substance of his position. Paul was the servant of Christ-that was his character, his life. But others were, more or less, that. He was more than that. He was an apostle by the call of the Lord, a "called apostle"; and not only that, and laborious as occasion presented itself, he was nothing but that in life here below. He was set apart for the glad tidings of God.
These two last characters are very definitely warranted by the revelation of the Lord to Paul on the way to Damascus-his call, and his mission to the Gentiles on that occasion; and by setting apart by the Holy Ghost at Antioch, when he went forth to fulfil his mission.
He calls the gospel to which he was set apart, the gospel or glad tidings "of God": the Holy Ghost presents it in its source. It is not that which man ought to be for God, nor yet the means merely by which man can approach Him on His throne. It is the thoughts of God, and His acts, we may add, towards man-His thoughts in goodness, the revelation of Him in Christ His Son. He approaches man according to that which He is and that which He wills in grace. God comes to him; it is the gospel of God. This is the true aspect: the gospel is never rightly understood until it is to us the gospel of God, the activity and revelation of His nature, and of His will in grace towards man.
Having pointed out the source, the Author of the gospel, the One whom it thus reveals in His grace, the apostle presents the connection between this gospel and the dealings of God which historically preceded it-its promulgation here below, and at the same time its own proper object; that is to say, its subject properly so called, and the place held with regard to it by that which preceded it (the order of things which those to whom they belonged sought to maintain as a substantive and independent system by rejecting the gospel). He here introduces that which preceded, not as a subject of controversy, but in its true character, to enforce the testimony of the gospel (anticipating objections, which are thus solved beforehand).
To the Gentile it was the revelation of the truth, and of God, in grace; to the Jew it was indeed that, while also putting everything that regarded him in its right place. The connection of the Old Testament with the gospel is this: the gospel of God had been announced beforehand by His prophets in holy writings. Observe here, that in these holy scriptures the gospel of God was not come, nor was it then addressed to men: but promised or announced beforehand, as to be sent. The assembly was not even announced: the gospel was announced, but as being yet to come.
Moreover, the subject of this gospel is, first of all, the Son of God. He has accomplished a work: but it is Himself who is the true subject of the gospel. Now He is presented in a twofold aspect: 1st, the object of the promises, Son of David according to the flesh; 2nd, the Son of God in power, who, in the midst of sin, walked by the Spirit in divine and absolute holiness (resurrection being the illustrious and victorious proof of who He was, walking in this character). That is to say, resurrection is a public manifestation of that power by which He walked in absolute holiness during His life-a manifestation that He is the Son of God in power. He is clearly shewn forth as Son of God in power by this means Here it was no question of promise, but of power, of Him who could enter into conflict with the death in which man lay, and overcome it completely; and that, in connection with the holiness which bore testimony during His life to the power of that Spirit by which He walked, and in which He guarded Himself from being touched by sin. It was in the same power by which He was holy in life absolutely that He was raised from the dead.
In the ways of God on the earth He was the object and the fulfilment of the promises. With regard to the condition of man under sin and death, He was completely conqueror of all that stood in His way, whether living or in resurrection. It was the Son of God who was there, made known by resurrection according to the power that was in Him, a power that displayed itself according to the Spirit by the holiness in which He lived.  What marvellous grace to see the whole power of evil-that dreadful door of death which closed upon the sinful life of man, leaving him to the inevitable judgment that he deserved-broken, destroyed, by Him, who was willing to enter into the gloomy chamber it shut in, and take upon Himself all the weakness of man in death, and thus completely and absolutely deliver him whose penalty He had borne in submitting to death! This victory over death, this deliverance of man from its dominion, by the power of the Son of God become man, when He had undergone it, and that as a sacrifice for sin, is the only ground of hope for mortal and sinful man. It sets aside all that sin and death have to say. It destroys, for him who has a portion in Christ, the seal of judgment upon sin, which is in death; and a new man, a new life, begins for him who had been held under it, outside the whole scene, the whole effect of his former misery-a life founded on all the value of that which the Son of God had there accomplished.
In fine, we have, as the subject of the gospel, the Son of God, made of the seed of David after the flesh; and, in the bosom of humanity and of death, declared to be the Son of God in power by resurrection,  Jesus Christ our Lord. The gospel was the gospel of God Himself; but it is by Jesus Christ the Lord that the apostle received his mission. He was the head of the work, and sent forth the labourers into the harvest which they were to reap in the world. The object of his mission, and its extent, was the obedience of faith (not obedience to the law) among an nations, establishing the authority and the value of the name of Christ. It was this name which should prevail and be acknowledged.
The apostle's mission was not only his service; the being trusted with it was at the same time the personal grace and favour of Him whose testimony he bore. I am not speaking of salvation, although in Paul's case the two things were identified-a fact that gave a remarkable colour and energy to his mission; but there was grace and favour in the commission itself, and it is important to remember it. It gives character to the mission and to its execution. An angel performs a providential mission; a Moses details a law in the spirit of the law; a Jonah, a John the Baptist, preaches repentance, withdraws from the grace that appeared to falsify his threatenings against the wicked Gentiles, or in the wilderness lays the axe to the root of the unfruitful trees in God's garden. But by Jesus, Paul, the bearer of the glad tidings of God, receives grace and apostleship. He carries, by grace and as grace, the message of grace to men wherever they may be, the grace which comes in all the largeness of the rights of God over men, and in Himself as sovereign, and in which He exercises His rights. Among these Gentiles, the believing Romans also were the called of Jesus Christ.
Paul therefore addresses all the believers in that great city. They were beloved of God, and saints by calling.  He wishes them (as in all his epistles) grace and peace from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, on whose part he delivered his message. The perfect grace of God by Christ, the perfect peace of man, and that with God; it was this which he brought in the gospel and in his heart. These are the true conditions of God's relationship with man, and that of man with God, by the gospel-the ground on which Christianity places man. When an individual is addressed, another consideration comes in, namely, that of his own weaknesses and infirmities: therefore "mercy" is added to the wish of the sacred writers in the case of individuals. (See the Epistles to Timothy and Titus, and the Second Epistle of John.)  If the love of God is in the heart, if He has His place there, it is before God that one is occupied with the objects of grace; and then, the work of God in them, the grace that has been displayed is the first thing that comes into the mind, whether in love or in thankfulness. The faith of the Romans ascends in thanksgivings from the heart of the apostle, whom the report of it had reached.
He then expresses his desire to see them, a desire that often occupied his mind. Here he brings out his apostolic relationship towards them, with all the tenderness and all the delicacy that belong to the grace and the love which had formed this relationship and which constituted its strength. He is apostle by right to all the Gentiles, even although he may not have seen them; but in heart he is their servant; and with the most true and ardent brotherly love, flowing from the grace that had made him apostle, he desires to see them, that he might impart to them some spiritual gift, which his apostleship put him in a position to communicate. What he had in his heart in this was, that he might enjoy the faith which was common to him and to them-faith strengthened by these gifts-for their mutual comfort. Often he had purposed coming, that he might have some fruit in this part also of the field which God had committed to him; but he had been hindered until now.
He then declares himself a debtor to all the Gentiles, and ready, as far as in him lay, to preach the gospel to those of Rome also. The way in which the apostle claims the whole field of the Gentiles as his own, and in which he was prevented by God from going to Rome until he arrived there at the end of his career (and then only as a prisoner), is worthy of all attention.
However it might be, he was ready, and that because of the value of the gospel-a point which leads him to state both the value and the character of this gospel. For, he says, he was not ashamed of it. It was the power of God to salvation. Observe here the way in which the apostle presents everything as coming from God. It is the gospel of God, the power of God to salvation, the righteousness of God, and even the wrath of God, and that from heaven-a different thing from earthly chastisement. This is the key to everything. The apostle lays stress upon it, putting it forward from the commencement of the epistle; for man ever inclines to have confidence in himself, to boast of himself, to seek for some merit-some righteousness, in himself, to Judaise, to be occupied with himself, as though he could do something. It was the apostle's joy to put his God forward.
Thus, in the gospel, God intervened, accomplishing a salvation which was entirely His own work-a salvation of which He was the source and power, and which He Himself had wrought. Man came into it by faith: it was the believer who shared it, but to have part in it by faith was exactly the way to share it without adding anything whatsoever to it, and to leave it wholly the salvation of God. God be praised that it is so, whether for righteousness or for power, or for the whole result; for thus it is perfect, divine. God has come in, in His almighty power and in His love, to deliver the wretched, according to His own might. The gospel is the expression of this: one believes it and one shares it.
But there is an especial reason why it is the power of God in salvation. Man had departed from God by sin. Righteousness alone could bring him back into the presence of God, and make him such that he could be there in peace. A sinner, he had no righteousness, but quite the contrary; and if man were to come before God as a sinner, judgment necessarily awaits him: righteousness would be displayed in this way. But, in the gospel, God reveals a positive righteousness on His part. If man has none, God has a righteousness which belongs to Him, which is His own, perfect like Himself, according to His own heart. Such a righteousness as this is revealed in the gospel. Human righteousness there was none: a righteousness of God is revealed. It is all-perfect in itself, divine and complete. To be revealed, it must be so. The gospel proclaims it to us.
The principle on which it is announced is faith, because it exists, and it is divine. If man wrought at it, or performed a part of it, or if his heart had any share in carrying it out, it would not be the righteousness of God; but it is entirely and absolutely His. We believe in the gospel that reveals it. But if it is the believer who participates in it, every one who has faith has part in it. This righteousness is on the principle of faith. It is revealed, and consequently to faith, wherever that faith exists.
This is the force of the expression which is translated "from faith to faith"-on the principle of faith unto faith. Now the importance of this principle is evident here. It admits every believing Gentile on the same footing as the Jew, who has no other right of entrance than he. They both have faith: the gospel recognises no other means of participating in it. The righteousness is that of God; the Jew is nothing more in it than the Gentile. As it is written, "The just shall live by faith." The scriptures of the Jews testified to the truth of the apostle's principle.
This is what the gospel announced on God's part to man. The primary subject was the Person of Christ, son of David according to flesh (accomplishment of promise); and the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness. But the righteousness of God (not of man) was revealed in it. This is the grand theme of all that follows. The apostle had indeed reason not to be ashamed of it, despised as it was by men.
But this doctrine was confirmed by another consideration, and was based on the great truth contained in it. God, in presenting Himself, could not look at things according to the partial communications adapted to the ignorance of men, and to the temporary dispensations by which He governed them. Wrath was not merely His intervention in government, as by the Assyrian or Babylonish captivity. It was "wrath from heaven." The essential opposition of His nature to evil, and penal rejection of it wherever it was found, was manifested. Now God manifested Himself in the gospel. Thus divine wrath does not break forth indeed (for grace proclaimed the righteousness of God in salvation for sinners who should believe) but it is revealed (not exactly in the gospel-that is the revelation of righteousness; but it is revealed) from heaven against ungodliness-all that does not respect the presence of God-against all that does not comport with the presence of God, and against all unrighteousness or iniquity in those who possessed the truth but still dishonoured God; that is to say, against all men, Gentile or otherwise, and particularly the Jews who had the knowledge of God according to the law; and, again (for the principle is universal, and flows from that which God is, when He reveals Himself), against every one who professes Christianity, when he walks in the evil that God hates.
This wrath, divine wrath, according to God's nature as in heaven, against man as a sinner, made God's righteousness necessary. Man was now to meet God fully revealed as He is. This shewed him wholly a sinner, but paved the way in grace for a far more excellent place and standing-one based on the righteousness of God. The gospel reveals the righteousness: its opportuneness and necessity are demonstrated by the state of sin in which all men are, and by occasion of which wrath was revealed from heaven. Man was not merely to be governed by God, and find governmental wrath, but to appear before God. How could we stand there? The answer is the revelation of God's righteousness by the gospel. Hence, too, even in speaking of resurrection Christ is declared to be the Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness. God has to be met such as He is. The revelation of God Himself in His holy nature went necessarily farther than mere Jews. It was against the thing sin, wherever it was, wherever it met sin, to make good what God is. It is a glorious truth; and how blessed that thus divine righteousness in sovereign grace should be revealed! And, God being love, we can say that it could not be otherwise; but how glorious to have God thus revealed!
The thesis of the epistle then is in verse 17, that which proved its need in verse 18. From verse 19 to the end of verse 20 in chapter 3, the condition of men, Jews and Gentiles, to whom this truth applies, is given in detail, in order to shew in what way this wrath was deserved, and all were shut up in sin (v. 19 and 21 of this chapter giving the leading principles of the evil as regards the Gentiles). From verse 21 to 31 of chapter 3, the answer in grace by the righteousness of God, through the blood of Christ, is briefly but powerfully declared. For we first get the answer by Christ's blood to the old state, and then the introduction, by death and life through Christ, into the new.
The apostle begins with the Gentiles-"all ungodliness" of men. I say the Gentiles (it is evident that if a Jew falls into it, this guilt attaches to him; but the condition described, as far as chapter 2:17, is that of Gentiles); afterwards that of the Jews, to chapter 3:20.
Chapter 1:18 is the thesis of the whole argument from verse 19 to chapter 3:20, this part of the epistle shewing the ground of that wrath.
The Gentiles are without excuse on two accounts. First, that which may be known of God has been manifested by creation-His power and His Godhead. This proof has existed since the creation of the world. Secondly, that, having the knowledge of God as Noah had it, they had not glorified Him as God, but in the vanity of their imaginations, reasoning upon their own thoughts on this subject and the ideas it produced in their own minds, they became fools while professing themselves to be wise, and fell into idolatry, and that of the grossest kind. Now God has judged this. If they would not retain a just thought of the glory of God, they should not even retain a just idea of the natural honour of man. They should dishonour themselves as they had dishonoured God. It is the exact description, in a few strong and energetic words, of the whole pagan mythology. They had not discernment, moral taste, to retain God in their knowledge: God gave them up to a spirit void of discernment, to boast themselves in depraved tastes, in things unbecoming nature itself. The natural conscience knew that God judged such things to be worthy of death according to the just exigencies of His nature. Nevertheless they not only did them, but they took pleasure in those who did them, when their own lusts did not carry them away. And this left no excuse for those who judged the evil (and there were such), for they committed it while judging it. Man then by judging condemned himself doubly: for by judging he shewed that he knew it to be evil, and yet he did it. But the judgment of God is according to truth against those who commit such things: they who acquired credit by judging them should not escape it.
 This puts us, since it is for us, in connection with a holiness (as does the revelation of righteousness farther on, but there more openly) which implies connection with God as He is in Himself fully revealed-not like the Jews outside the veil.
 It is not said "by His resurrection," but "by resurrection" abstractly. His own was the great proof, but that of every man is a proof likewise.
 The reader must take notice that, in verses 1 and 7, it is not "called to be an apostle," nor "called to be saints," but apostle by call, saints by call. They were the thing declared, and they were so by the call of God. A Jew was not holy by call; he was born holy, relatively to the Gentiles. These were the called of Jesus Christ; but they were not simply called to be holy, they were so by call.
 The Epistle to Philemon might appear at first sight to be an exception; but it confirms this remark, for it will be seen that the assembly in his house is included in the wish. This makes the address of Jude the more remarkable. There is however a question of a various reading in Titus 1:4.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Romans》
The apostle's commission. (1-7) Prays for the saints at Rome, and expresses his desire to see them. (8-15) The gospel way of justification by faith, for Jews and Gentiles. (16,17) The sins of the Gentiles set forth. (18-32)
Commentary on Romans 1:1-7
(Read Romans 1:1-7)
The doctrine of which the apostle Paul wrote, set forth the fulfilment of the promises by the prophets. It spoke of the Son of God, even Jesus the Saviour, the promised Messiah, who came from David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God, by the Divine power which raised him from the dead. The Christian profession does not consist in a notional knowledge or a bare assent, much less in perverse disputings, but in obedience. And all those, and those only, are brought to obedience of the faith, who are effectually called of Jesus Christ. Here is, 1. The privilege of Christians; they are beloved of God, and are members of that body which is beloved. 2. The duty of Christians; to be holy, hereunto are they called, called to be saints. These the apostle saluted, by wishing them grace to sanctify their souls, and peace to comfort their hearts, as springing from the free mercy of God, the reconciled Father of all believers, and coming to them through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Commentary on Romans 1:8-15
(Read Romans 1:8-15)
We must show love for our friends, not only by praying for them, but by praising God for them. As in our purposes, so in our desires, we must remember to say, If the Lord will, James 4:15. Our journeys are made prosperous or otherwise, according to the will of God. We should readily impart to others what God has trusted to us, rejoicing to make others joyful, especially taking pleasure in communing with those who believe the same things with us. If redeemed by the blood, and converted by the grace of the Lord Jesus, we are altogether his; and for his sake we are debtors to all men, to do all the good we can. Such services are our duty.
Commentary on Romans 1:16,17
(Read Romans 1:16,17)
In these verses the apostle opens the design of the whole epistle, in which he brings forward a charge of sinfulness against all flesh; declares the only method of deliverance from condemnation, by faith in the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ; and then builds upon it purity of heart, grateful obedience, and earnest desires to improve in all those Christian graces and tempers, which nothing but a lively faith in Christ can bring forth. God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners. It is necessary that we have a righteousness to appear in before him: there is such a righteousness brought in by the Messiah, and made known in the gospel; a gracious method of acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. It is the righteousness of Christ, who is God, coming from a satisfaction of infinite value. Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life. It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.
Commentary on Romans 1:18-25
(Read Romans 1:18-25)
The apostle begins to show that all mankind need the salvation of the gospel, because none could obtain the favour of God, or escape his wrath by their own works. For no man can plead that he has fulfilled all his obligations to God and to his neighbour; nor can any truly say that he has fully acted up to the light afforded him. The sinfulness of man is described as ungodliness against the laws of the first table, and unrighteousness against those of the second. The cause of that sinfulness is holding the truth in unrighteousness. All, more or less, do what they know to be wrong, and omit what they know to be right, so that the plea of ignorance cannot be allowed from any. Our Creator's invisible power and Godhead are so clearly shown in the works he has made, that even idolaters and wicked Gentiles are left without excuse. They foolishly followed idolatry; and rational creatures changed the worship of the glorious Creator, for that of brutes, reptiles, and senseless images. They wandered from God, till all traces of true religion must have been lost, had not the revelation of the gospel prevented it. For whatever may be pretended, as to the sufficiency of man's reason to discover Divine truth and moral obligation, or to govern the practice aright, facts cannot be denied. And these plainly show that men have dishonoured God by the most absurd idolatries and superstitions; and have degraded themselves by the vilest affections and most abominable deeds.
Commentary on Romans 1:26-32
(Read Romans 1:26-32)
In the horrid depravity of the heathen, the truth of our Lord's words was shown: "Light was come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil; for he that doeth evil hateth the light." The truth was not to their taste. And we all know how soon a man will contrive, against the strongest evidence, to reason himself out of the belief of what he dislikes. But a man cannot be brought to greater slavery than to be given up to his own lusts. As the Gentiles did not like to keep God in their knowledge, they committed crimes wholly against reason and their own welfare. The nature of man, whether pagan or Christian, is still the same; and the charges of the apostle apply more or less to the state and character of men at all times, till they are brought to full submission to the faith of Christ, and renewed by Divine power. There never yet was a man, who had not reason to lament his strong corruptions, and his secret dislike to the will of God. Therefore this chapter is a call to self-examination, the end of which should be, a deep conviction of sin, and of the necessity of deliverance from a state of condemnation.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Romans》
 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ-To this introduction the conclusion answers, Romans 15:15, etc.
Called to be an apostle — And made an apostle by that calling. While God calls, he makes what he calls. As the Judaizing teachers disputed his claim to the apostolical office, it is with great propriety that he asserts it in the very entrance of an epistle wherein their principles are entirely overthrown. And various other proper and important thoughts are suggested in this short introduction; particularly the prophecies concerning the gospel, the descent of Jesus from David, the great doctrines of his Godhead and resurrection, the sending the gospel to the gentiles, the privileges of Christians, and the obedience and holiness to which they were obliged in virtue of their profession.
Separated — By God, not only from the bulk of other men, from other Jews, from other disciples, but even from other Christian teachers, to be a peculiar instrument of God in spreading the gospel.
 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
Who was of the seed of David according to the flesh — That is, with regard to his human nature. Both the natures of our Saviour are here mentioned; but the human is mentioned first, because the divine was not manifested in its full evidence till after his resurrection.
 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:
But powerfully declared to be the Son of God, according to the Spirit of Holiness — That is, according to his divine nature.
By the resurrection from the dead — For this is both the fountain and the object of our faith; and the preaching of the apostles was the consequence of Christ's resurrection.
 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:
By whom we have received — I and the other apostles.
Grace and apostleship — The favour to be an apostle, and qualifications for it.
For obedience to the faith in all nations — That is, that all nations may embrace the faith of Christ.
For his name — For his sake; out of regard to him.
 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
Among whom — The nations brought to the obedience of faith.
Are ye also — But St. Paul gives them no preeminence above others.
 To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
To all that are in Rome — Most of these were heathens by birth, Romans 1:13, though with Jews mixed among them. They were scattered up and down in that large city, and not yet reduced into the form of a church. Only some had begun to meet in the house of Aquila and Priscilla.
Beloved of God — And from his free love, not from any merit of yours, called by his word and his Spirit to believe in him, and now through faith holy as he is holy.
Grace — The peculiar favour of God.
And peace — All manner of blessings, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. This is both a Christian salutation and an apostolic benediction.
From God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ — This is the usual way wherein the apostles speak, "God the Father," "God our Father." Nor do they often, in speaking of him, use the word Lord, as it implies the proper name of God, Jehovah. In the Old Testament, indeed, the holy men generally said, "The Lord our God;" for they were then, as it were, servants; whereas now they are sons: and sons so well know their father, that they need not frequently mention his proper name. It is one and the same peace, and one and the same grace, which is from God and from Jesus Christ. Our trust and prayer fix on God, as he is the Father of Christ; and on Christ, as he presents us to the Father.
 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
I thank — In the very entrance of this one epistle are the traces of all spiritual affections; but of thankfulness above all, with the expression of which almost all St. Paul's epistles begin. He here particularly thanks God, that what otherwise himself should have done, was done at Rome already.
My God — This very word expresses faith, hope, love, and consequently all true religion.
Through Jesus Christ — The gifts of God all pass through Christ to us; and all our petitions and thanksgivings pass through Christ to God.
That your faith is spoken of — In this kind of congratulations St. Paul describes either the whole of Christianity, as Colossians 1:3, etc.; or some part of it, as 1 Corinthians 1:5. Accordingly here he mentions the faith of the Romans, suitably to his design, Romans 1:12,17.
Through the whole world — This joyful news spreading everywhere, that there were Christians also in the imperial city. And the goodness and wisdom of God established faith in the chief cities; in Jerusalem and Rome particularly; that from thence it might be diffused to all nations.
 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
God, whom I serve — As an apostle.
In my spirit — Not only with my body, but with my inmost soul.
In the gospel — By preaching it.
 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.
Always — In all my solemn addresses to God.
If by any means now at length — This accumulation of particles declares the strength of his desire.
 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;
That I may impart to you — Face to face, by laying on of hands, prayer, preaching the gospel, private conversation.
Some spiritual gift — With such gifts the Corinthians, who had enjoyed the presence of St. Paul, abounded, 1 Corinthians 1:7; 12:1; 14:1. So did the Galatians likewise, Galatians 3:5; and, indeed, all those churches which had had the presence of any of the apostles had peculiar advantages in this kind, from the laying on of their hands, Acts 19:6; 8:17, etc., 2 Timothy 1:6. But as yet the Romans were greatly inferior to them in this respect; for which reason the apostle, in the twelfth chapter also, says little, if any thing, of their spiritual gifts. He therefore desires to impart some, that they might be established; for by these was the testimony of Christ confirmed among them. That St. Peter had no more been at Rome than St. Paul, at the time when this epistle was wrote, appears from the general tenor thereof, and from this place in particular: for, otherwise, what St. Paul wishes to impart to the Romans would have been imparted already by St. Peter.
 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
That is, I long to be comforted by the mutual faith both of you and me - He not only associates the Romans with, but even prefers them before, himself. How different is this style of the apostle from that of the modern court of Rome!
 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
Brethren — A frequent, holy, simple, sweet, and yet grand, appellation. The apostles but rarely address persons by their names; 'O ye Corinthians," "O Timotheus." St. Paul generally uses this appellation, " Brethren;" sometimes in exhortation, " My beloved," or, " My beloved brethren;" St. James, "Brethren," "My brethren," My beloved brethren;" St. Peter and Jude always, " Beloved;" St. John frequently, " Beloved;" once, " Brethren;" oftener than once, My little children." Though I have been hindered hitherto - Either by business, see Romans 15:22; or persecution, 1 Thessalonians 2:2; or the Spirit, Acts 16:7.
That I might have some fruit — Of my ministerial labours. Even as I have already had from the many churches I have planted and watered among the other gentiles.
 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
To the Greeks and the barbarians — He includes the Romans under the Greeks; so that this division comprises all nations.
Both to the wise, and the unwise — For there were unwise even among the Greeks, and wise even among the barbarians.
I am a debtor to all — I am bound by my divine mission to preach the gospel to them.
 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel — To the world, indeed, it is folly and weakness, 1 Corinthians 1:18; therefore, in the judgment of the world, he ought to be ashamed of it; especially at Rome, the head and theatre of the world. But Paul is not ashamed, knowing it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth - The great and gloriously powerful means of saving all who accept salvation in God's own way. As St. Paul comprises the sum of the gospel in this epistle, so he does the sum of the epistle in this and the following verse.
Both to the Jew, and to the gentile — There is a noble frankness, as well as a comprehensive sense, in these words, by which he, on the one hand, shows the Jews their absolute need of the gospel; and, on the other, tells the politest and greatest nation in the world both that their salvation depended on receiving it, and that the first offers of it were in every place to be made to the despised Jews.
 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The righteousness of God — This expression sometimes means God's eternal, essential righteousness, which includes both justice and mercy, and is eminently shown in condemning sin, and yet justifying the sinner. Sometimes it means that righteousness by which a man, through the gift of God, is made and is righteous; and that, both by receiving Christ through faith, and by a conformity to the essential righteousness of God. St. Paul, when treating of justification, means hereby the righteousness of faith; therefore called the righteousness of God, because God found out and prepared, reveals and gives, approves and crowns it. In this verse the expression means, the whole benefit of God through Christ for the salvation of a sinner.
Is revealed — Mention is made here, and Romans 1:18, of a twofold revelation,-of wrath and of righteousness: the former, little known to nature, is revealed by the law; the latter, wholly unknown to nature, by the gospel. That goes before, and prepares the way; this follows. Each, the apostle says, is revealed at the present time, in opposition to the times of ignorance.
From faith to faith — By a gradual series of still clearer and clearer promises.
As it is written — St. Paul had just laid down three propositions: 1. Righteousness is by faith, Romans 1:17: 2. Salvation is by righteousness, Romans 1:16: 3. Both to the Jews and to the gentiles, Romans 1:16. Now all these are confirmed by that single sentence, The just shall live by faith - Which was primarily spoken of those who preserved their lives, when the Chaldeans besieged Jerusalem, by believing the declarations of God, and acting according to them. Here it means, He shall obtain the favour of God, and continue therein by believing. Habakkuk 2:4
 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
For — There is no other way of obtaining life and salvation. Having laid down his proposition, the apostle now enters upon the proof of it. His first argument is, The law condemns all men, as being under sin. None therefore is justified by the works of the law. This is treated of Romans 3:20. And hence he infers, Therefore justification is by faith.
The wrath of God is revealed — Not only by frequent and signal interpositions of divine providence, but likewise in the sacred oracles, and by us, his messengers.
From heaven — This speaks the majesty of Him whose wrath is revealed, his all-seeing eye, and the extent of his wrath: whatever is under heaven is under the effects of his wrath, believers in Christ excepted.
Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness — These two are treated of, Romans 1:23, etc.
Of men — He is speaking here of the gentiles, and chiefly the wisest of them.
Who detain the truth — For it struggles against their wickedness.
In unrighteousness — The word here includes ungodliness also.
 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For what is to be known of God — Those great principles which are indispensably necessary to be known.
Is manifest in them; for God hath showed it to them — By the light which enlightens every man that cometh into the world.
 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
For those things of him which are invisible, are seen — By the eye of the mind.
Being understood — They are seen by them, and them only, who use their understanding
 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Because, knowing God — For the wiser heathens did know that there was one supreme God; yet from low and base considerations they conformed to the idolatry of the vulgar.
They did not glorify him as God, neither were thankful — They neither thanked him for his benefits, nor glorified him for his divine perfection.
But became vain — Like the idols they worshipped.
In their reasonings — Various, uncertain, foolish. What a terrible instance have we of this in the writings of Lucretius! What vain reasonings, and how dark a heart, amidst so pompous professions of wisdom!
 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
And changed — With the utmost folly. Here are three degrees of ungodliness and of punishment: the first is described, Romans 1:21-24; the second, Romans 1:25-27; the third, in Romans 1:28, and following verses. The punishment in each case is expressed by God gave them up. If a man will not worship God as God, he is so left to himself that he throws away his very manhood.
Reptiles — Or creeping things; as beetles, and various kinds of serpents.
 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Wherefore — One punishment of sin is from the very nature of it, as Romans 1:27; another, as here, is from vindictive justice.
Uncleanness — Ungodliness and uncleanness are frequently joined, 1 Thessalonians 4:5 as are the knowledge of God and purity.
God gave them up — By withdrawing his restraining grace.
 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Who changed the truth — The true worship of God.
Into a lie — False, abominable idolatries.
And worshipped — Inwardly.
And served — Outwardly.
 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
Therefore God gave them up to vile affections — To which the heathen Romans were then abandoned to the last degree; and none more than the emperors themselves.
 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Receiving the just recompense of their error — Their idolatry being punished with that unnatural lust, which was as horrible a dishonour to the body, as their idolatry was to God.
 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
God gave them up to an undiscerning mind — Treated of, Romans 1:32.
To do things not expedient — Even the vilest abominations, treated of verses Romans 1:29-31.
 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Filled with all injustice — This stands in the first place; unmercifulness, in the last.
Fornication — Includes here every species of uncleanness.
Maliciousness — The Greek word properly implies a temper which delights in hurting another, even without any advantage to itself.
 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Whisperers — Such as secretly defame others.
Backbiters — Such as speak against others behind their back.
Haters of God — That is, rebels against him, deniers of his providence, or accusers of his justice in their adversities; yea, having an inward heart-enmity to his justice and holiness.
Inventors of evil things — Of new pleasures, new ways of gain, new arts of hurting, particularly in war.
 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Covenant-breakers — It is well known, the Romans, as a nation, from the very beginning of their commonwealth, never made any scruple of vacating altogether the most solemn engagement, if they did not like it, though made by their supreme magistrate, in the name of the whole people. They only gave up the general who had made it, and then supposed themselves to be at full liberty.
Without natural affection — The custom of exposing their own new - born children to perish by cold, hunger, or wild beasts, which so generally prevailed in the heathen world, particularly among the Greeks and Romans, was an amazing instance of this; as is also that of killing their aged and helpless parents, now common among the American heathens.
 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Not only do the same, but have pleasure in those that practise them — This is the highest degree of wickedness. A man may be hurried by his passions to do the thing he hates; but he that has pleasure in those that do evil, loves wickedness for wickedness' sake. And hereby he encourages them in sin, and heaps the guilt of others upon his own head.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Romans》
Chapter 1. The Sin of the Gentiles
Not Only Do the
But Also Applaud the Sins of the Others
I. Proclaim the Gospel of God
II. The Wish to visit Rome
III. Against Godlessness and Wickedness
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Chapter One General Review
OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER
1) To be impressed with the all-sufficiency of the gospel
2) To see how God's wrath may be directed toward our society today
As is the custom in most of his epistles, Paul begins by extending
greetings and offering thanks. Identifying himself as a bond-servant
of Christ, he mentions his apostleship and its mission in the gospel of
God concerning His Son: to bring about the obedience of faith among
all the Gentiles (1-6). Addressing the recipients of his epistle as
"all who are beloved in
, called as saints," he extends to them the Rome
popular two-fold greeting of that day: "grace" and "peace" (7). He is
thankful for their well-known faith and reveals his desire to visit
and to proclaim the gospel there (8-13). The motivation behind Rome
that desire is his sense of obligation and bold conviction that the
gospel is God's power to save (14-17).
The mention of "salvation" naturally leads to the need for all men to
be saved. Paul begins to demonstrate this need on the part of the
Gentiles. He explains that because of the Gentiles' failure to
acknowledge the eternal power and divine nature of God as revealed in
the world around them, and for their subsequent pride and idolatry,
they were therefore exposed to God's wrath from heaven (18-23). This
wrath manifested itself in God simply letting them reap the fruits of
their vanity. By giving them over "to uncleanness, in the lusts of
their hearts," "to vile passions," and "to a debased mind," the result
was such corruption that even those who knew better were caught in its
OUTLINE (adapted from Jim McGuiggan)
I. INTRODUCTION & THEME (1-17)
A. CONCERNING PAUL (1-5)
1. His place in life: servant & apostle (1)
2. His story in life: the gospel of Christ (2-4)
3. His purpose in life: to produce obedience based on faith (5)
B. CONCERNING THE ROMANS (6-15)
1. Paul's description of them (6-7)
2. Paul's report of them (8)
3. Paul's deep desire to visit them (9-10)
4. Paul's reason and eagerness to visit them (11-15)
C. CONCERNING THE GOSPEL (16-17)
1. Its respectability: nothing to be ashamed of (
2. Its nature: the power of God (16b)
3. Its aim: salvation (
4. Its scope: for everyone who believes (16d)
5. Its content: the revelation of God's righteousness through
II. THE GENTILES' NEED OF SALVATION (18-32)
A. WICKED MAN DISHONORING GOD (18-23)
1. Wicked man stifling God's revealed truth (18-19)
2. Wicked man despising the testimony of nature (20)
3. Wicked man ungrateful and foolish (21-22)
4. Wicked man given to idolatry (23)
B. HOLY GOD "GIVING UP" ON WICKED MAN (24-32)
1. Giving them up to disgusting uncleanness (24-25)
2. Giving them up to lesbianism and homosexuality (26-27)
3. Giving them up to debased minds and all unrighteousness
WORDS TO PONDER
gospel - literally, "good news;" in the NT it denotes the good tidings
and of salvation through Christ (VINE) kingdomof God
grace - "favor, goodwill, lovingkindness;" as used in reference to
God's favor toward man, it's freeness is stressed; i.e.,
faith - "trust, conviction;" produced by God's Word (Ro 10:17), it
expresses itself through obedience and love (Ro 1:5; Ga 5:6)
power - from the Greek word dunamis (from which derives "dynamite");
righteousness of God - 1) God doing that which is right (cf. Ro 3:25-
26); or 2) God's way of making one right with
Him (related to the concept of "justification,"
declaring one to be "not guilty;" cf. Ro 4:6-8)
REVIEW QUESTIONS FOR THE CHAPTER
1) List the two main points of this chapter
- Introduction (1-17)
- The Gentiles' Need Of Salvation (18-32)
2) How was Jesus declared to be the Son of God? (4)
- With power, through His resurrection from the dead
3) What was the objective of Paul's apostleship? (5)
- To bring about the obedience of faith among all nations
4) Why did Paul want to go to
? (11-12) Rome
- To see them and share in their faith together
5) To whom was Paul obligated? (14)
- Both to Greeks and barbarians, both to wise and unwise
6) What is God's power to save? (16)
- The gospel of Christ
7) Why is it God's power to save? (17)
- In it the righteousness of God is revealed
8) What two invisible attributes of God are revealed in nature? (20)
- His eternal power and Godhead (divine nature)
9) How does God express His wrath? (24,26,28)
- By "giving people up" to their own sinful passions
10) What one sin in particular is an indication that God's wrath toward
man is in full force? (26,27)
Called To Be Saints (1:7)
1. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul said he was "called to be an
apostle" - Ro 1:1
a. I.e., he was summoned to be an apostle, one sent by Jesus for a
b. That purpose involved the gospel, which Paul was sent to proclaim
to the nations - Ro 1:1,5
2. All Christians likewise have their "calling"...
a. We are the "called of Jesus Christ" - Ro 1:6
b. We are "called to be saints" - Ro 1:7
3. The term "saint" is frequently misunderstood and misapplied...
a. One might get the wrong impression of what Paul is saying
b. A proper understanding is important, serving as motivation for
[So let us ask our first question: What is a "saint"...?]
I. THE DEFINITION OF A SAINT
A. ONE SET APART, CONSECRATED, HOLY ONE...
1. "The word mean set apart, consecrated, sacred...In the NT the
word hagios, when used as a noun, usually refers to members of
the...church. All believers are called 'saints,' even when
their character is dubiously holy." - Zondervan Pictorial
2. "A NT believer, belonging exclusively to God. The saints are
the church, people called out of the world to be God's own
people." - Zondervan Topical Bible
3. "Set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively His...this
appellation is very often in the NT transferred to Christians,
as those whom God has selected out of the world" - Thayer
4. "It is used of men and things in so far as they are devoted to
God. These are called hagoi, saints, i.e., 'sanctified' or
'holy ones.' This sainthood is not an attainment, it is a
state into which God in grace calls men" - Vine
B. APPLIED TO ALL CHRISTIANS...
1. Summarizing what these sources say, a "saint" is:
a. A Christian, a member of the body of Christ
b. As such, Christians are considered by God to be...
1) Set apart, holy
2) Consecrated for His purpose
2. A quick survey of the NT confirms this definition and use of
the term "saint"
a. Addressing those in various congregations - Ro 1:7; 1 Co
1:2; 2 Co 1:1; Ep 1:1; Ph 1:1; Co 1:2
b. Describing the subjects of brotherly love - Ep 1:15; Co 1:4;
3. A "saint" is not some super-spiritual Christian...
a. Now dead and having lived a long time ago
b. Who is canonized and venerated as an object of worship
-- Indeed, every Christian is a saint!
[However, we find both now and then that not all Christians behave like
saints. This raises the question: How should saints live...?]
II. THE LIFE OF A SAINT
A. AS DESCRIBED IN EPHESIANS...
1. Saints should live in a manner worthy of their calling - Ep 4:1
a. Walking in unity - cf. Ep 4:1-16
b. Walking in truth - cf. Ep 4:17-32
c. Walking in love - cf. Ep 5:1-7
d. Walking in light - cf. Ep 5:8-14
e. Walking in wisdom - cf. Ep 5:15-17
2. Saints should avoid things not befitting their calling - Ep 5:
a. Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness
b. Filthiness, foolish talking, coarse jesting
-- Saints strive to live this way; they do not always live up to
B. AS DESCRIBED IN COLOSSIANS...
1. Saints should be filled with the knowledge of God's will - Co
a. Involves a good knowledge of the Bible
b. Accompanied by wisdom and understanding (via prayer - Ja
2. Saints are to walk worthy of the Lord - Co 1:10
a. We are called to be Christians as well as saints - cf. Ac
b. Our behavior should properly reflect the One whose name we
3. Saints are to fully please Him - Co 1:10
a. By being fruitful in every good work
b. By increasing in the knowledge of God
4. Saints are to be strengthened with all might - Co 1:11
a. According to God's glorious power - cf. Ep 3:16,20; 6:10,13
b. For all patience and longsuffering with joy
5. Saints are to give thanks to the Father - Co 1:12-14
a. He has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of
b. He has delivered us from the power of darkness
c. He has conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love
d. He has provided redemption and forgiveness of sins, through
His Son's blood
-- The epistles were written to saints; from them we learn how
saints ought to live!
[We noted that one reason saints are to be thankful is because God has
qualified us to partakers of "the inheritance of the saints". This
raises a third question: What is the hope of saints...?]
III. THE HOPE OF A SAINT
A. RICH AND GLORIOUS...
1. Which Paul wanted the saints at
to know - Ep 1:18 Ephesus
2. Which involves the exceeding riches of God's grace - Ep 2:7
3. Which is presently reserved in heaven for us - 1 Pe 1:4
-- Paul and Peter describe our inheritance in general terms
B. NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH...
1. Promised by God, anticipated by Peter - 2 Pe 3:13-14
a. A future realm in which righteousness dwells
b. Motivating us to live now in peace, without spot and
2. Revealed by Jesus, described by John - Re 21:1-7
a. Replacing the present earth and universe
b. Involving the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of
c. In which God will dwell with men, providing wonderful
-- Peter and John describe our inheritance in figurative terms
[Questions may remain as to the ultimate nature of the saints'
inheritance, but enough is revealed to motivate us to become saints and
live in a manner worthy of our calling. This leads to our fourth and
final question: How do we become saints...?]
IV. THE BEGINNING OF A SAINT
A. CALLED BY THE GOSPEL...
1. We become saints by being "called" - cf. Ro 1:7
a. The idea of being "called" is one of being "summoned"
b. But we are not called or summoned by a small still voice, or
bolt of lightning
2. We are "called" by the gospel - 2 Th 2:14
a. God calls people by the gospel
b. For the obtaining of the glory of our Lord
B. PRODUCED BY THE GOSPEL...
1. The gospel reveals God's plan for saving man from his sins
a. With facts to believe - e.g., 1 Co 15:1-3
b. With commands to obey - e.g., Mk 16:16; Ro 10:9,10
c. With promises to receive - e.g., Ac 2:38-39; Ro 6:23
2. When people respond, they become saints
a. Saved and called by the grace of God - 1 Ti 1:9
b. Even though sinners, as were the saints in
- 1 Co Corinth
3. Every time the gospel is preached, God is calling people to
a. Those who hear are exhorted to obey
b. Those who obey are washed, sanctified, justified
c. Those who are sanctified are set apart, consecrated for
God's purpose; i.e., saints
1. By the wonderful grace of God...
a. We can be His saints, His holy ones, set apart for His purpose!
b. We can look forward to the wonderful inheritance reserved in
heaven for us!
2. Yet as saints, we must walk in a manner worthy of our calling...
a. We must make our "calling and election sure" - 2 Pe 1:10-11
b. Even Paul, called both as an "apostle" and a "saint", realized the
risk of his being rejected after preaching to others - 1 Co 9:27
Are you a saint? You are if you have responded to the call of God
through obedience to the gospel! Are you living as a saint should? May
the hope of saints motivate you to walk worthy of your calling!
A WayIn The Will Of God (1:10)
1. "What is God's will for my life?"
a. What devout person has not asked a question like this?
b. Often asked even pertaining to mundane things like one's career,
where to live, etc.
-- How can we live in harmony with the will of God?
2. Paul mentioned his desire to live in harmony with God's will...
a. As he made plans to visit his brethren in
b. As he prayed regarding such plans - cf. Ro 1:9-10
-- He sought to "find a way in the will of God" to come to them
[Paul's comments provide an opportunity for us to consider some thoughts
related to the will of God, especially on how to determine God's will
for our lives. It might be of benefit to first review some...]
I. FACETS OF GOD'S WILL
A. THERE IS GOD'S PROCLAIMED WILL...
1. God has made His will known in many respects - e.g., 1 Th 5:18;
1 Pe 2:15
2. This He has done through revelation
a. By sending inspired prophets in the past - He 1:1
b. By sending His own Son - He 1:2
c. By having the Spirit guide the apostles - Jn 16:12-13; e.g.,
1 Co 14:36-37
3. It is this proclaimed will of God that we must do to be saved
- cf. Mt 7:21
-- That which is essential to know, God has revealed through
Scripture - 2 Ti 3:16-17
B. THERE IS GOD'S PROVIDENTIAL WILL...
1. God acts providentially in our lives, as implied in our text
- cf. Ro 1:10; also 15:32
2. For such reason we are to pray regarding our plans - cf. Ja 4:
3. Our requests are answered as it may suit God's will - cf. 1 Jn
-- We may not have certainty as to what is God's providential will
C. THERE IS GOD'S PERMISSIVE WILL...
1. God allows things to happen that are not necessarily according
to His desired will
2. He permits people to sin and even hurt other people
a. He is not pleased, and will one day render judgment - Ac 17:
b. He is able to fulfill His own will, despite such rebellion
- cf. Isa 10:5-7
3. God permits people to do things that are indifferent to Him
a. There are some matters of indifference to God - e.g., Ro 14:
b. Likewise, some decisions we make might not really matter to
-- Thus not all choices please God, nor are they necessarily
required by God
[With these thoughts in mind, let's now consider some thoughts on...]
II. FINDING GOD'S WILL
A. FOCUS ON THE PROCLAIMED WILL OF GOD...
1. I.e., study diligently to learn what God has revealed
a. If you don't embrace and practice the revealed will of
b. ...what difference does it make to seek areas of God's will
unknown to you?
2. The value of focusing on the proclaimed will of God
a. We will not be ignorant of what is essential for us to know
b. We can avoid choices that are clearly contrary to God's will
B. SEEK ADVICE FROM OTHERS...
1. Discuss your alternatives with older, mature Christians - Pro
2. Consult the wisdom found in the Bible (especially in books like
C. ASK GOD FOR WISDOM...
1. I.e., pray diligently for the ability to discern wisely - Ja 1:
2. Wisdom is that spiritual insight that enables you to evaluate
situations clearly, and helps utilize what options and
abilities you have
3. Use such wisdom to eliminate what appears less acceptable
D. COMMIT YOUR WAY TO THE LORD...
1. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord's sake - cf. Psa 37:5-6,
2. Make your plans subject to God's will, both proclaimed and
providential - Ja 4:15
a. Give God permission to close the door on your choice if that
is His will
b. If He closes the door on your choice, look for alternatives
E. OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER...
1. God is not like a train; he is able to run on more than one
2. A choice may not be between good and bad, but between good and
3. God can use us in many different ways
4. If need not choose right away, wait; that will give you time to
grow and gain wisdom
5. Whatever your hands finds to do in your existing circumstances,
do it with all your might
1. Our goal should be to "stand perfect and complete in all the will of
God" - cf. Co 4:12
a. Especially as it pertains to the proclaimed will of God
b. Even as much as possible in the providential and permissive will
2. Epaphras' desire for his brethren serves as a good example; as does
that of our Lord...
a. Who taught us to pray, "Your will be done on earth as it in
heaven" - Mt 6:10
b. Who Himself prayed, "Not as I will, but as You will..." - Mt 26:
Are you seeking to "find a way in the will of God" as it pertains to the
plans in your life?
Not Ashamed Of The Gospel (1:14-17)
1. As Paul began his grand epistle to the Romans, he wrote of his desire
to see them...
a. His diligent prayers toward that end - Ro 1:9-10
b. His desire to encourage them through mutual edification - Ro 1:
c. His plans to come, that he might have some fruit among them - Ro
2. His desire to see them was related to the gospel...
a. Which he served as an apostle of Christ - Ro 1:1
b. The good news concerning Jesus - Ro 1:3
c. Of which he was not ashamed - Ro 1:16
3. Are we ever ashamed of the gospel of Christ...?
a. Embarrassed to tell others about Jesus?
b. Could this be a reason why many are not active in personal
[Perhaps by examining how and why Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, we
might be more diligent in our efforts to share the good news of Jesus
I. PAUL WAS NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL
A. HOW HE WAS NOT ASHAMED...
1. He felt obligated to preach the gospel to everyone
a. To Greeks and barbarians (non-Greeks), to wise and unwise
- Ro 1:14
b. His obligation due partly to favor God had shown him - 1 Co
15:9-10; 1 Ti 1:12-14
2. He was ready to preach the gospel in
a. Whatever opportunity was given him, he would take it! - Ro
b. Even though his preference was to preach where Jesus had not
been proclaimed before - Ro 15:20
-- Paul showed that he was not ashamed by his willingness and
preparedness to preach the gospel anytime and anywhere!
B. WHY HE WAS NOT ASHAMED...
1. It is the power of God to salvation
a. For everyone who believes, both Jew and Greek (Gentiles)
- Ro 1:16
b. For it tells of Christ, the power of God and wisdom of God
- 1 Co 1:23-24
2. It reveals the righteousness of God in salvation
a. How the just shall live by faith - Ro 1:17
b. How God is both just and the justifier of those who believe
in Jesus - Ro 3:21-26
-- Because of its power and message, Paul was not ashamed to
preach the gospel to anyone willing to listen!
[From Paul, then, we should note several reasons why...]
II. WE SHOULD NOT BE ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL
A. THE GOSPEL REMAINS THE SAME...
1. It is still God's power to save
a. The power to produce faith in the hearts of those who hear
it - Ro 10:17
b. The power to produce fruit in those who hear and know the
truth - Co 1:5-6
2. It still reveals God's righteousness in salvation
a. How Jesus died for our sins - 1 Co 15:1-4
b. How we can receive remission of our sins in Jesus through
faith, repentance, and baptism - Ac 2:36-38; 22:16
-- The passing of time has not weakened the power and message of
the gospel of Christ!
B. THE NEED REMAINS THE SAME...
1. Souls are in need of salvation
a. All have sinned - Ro 3:23
b. The wages of sin is death - Ro 6:23
2. Both wise and foolish, both near and afar
a. Jesus is still the only way to the Father - Jn 14:6
b. His gospel still needs to be preached to every creature - Mk
-- The passing of time has not lessened the need and scope of the
gospel of Christ!
[From the example of Paul, we can know the proper attitude and conduct
III. THOSE NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL
A. WILL FEEL A SENSE OF OBLIGATION...
1. To God who saved them
a. Are we not thankful for what God has done for us?
b. Will this not affect how we live our lives? - cf. Ga 2:20
2. To those who are lost
a. Are we not concerned about their eternal destiny should they
die in their sins?
b. Will this not move us to do something? - cf. 2 Co 5:11
-- Those not ashamed of the gospel will feel an obligation similar
to Paul's - Ro 1:14
B. WILL MAKE THEMSELVES READY...
1. To share the gospel as they have opportunity
a. If uncertain what to say, they will learn it (even relearn
it) - cf. 1 Pe 3:15; He 5:12
b. They will not rest until they have found some method, aids,
or tools, whereby they can communicate the gospel to others
c. Then they will be looking for "open doors" to teach others
- cf. 1 Co 3:5
2. To spread the gospel as they have opportunity
a. They may not be in a position to go, but they can still send
- cf. Ro 10:14-15; 3 Jn 5-8
b. They may not be in a position to teach, but they can still
invite - e.g., Ac 10:24,33
c. Then they will be looking for "open doors" to send - e.g.,
-- Those not ashamed of the gospel will make themselves ready like
Paul - Ro 1:15
1. Are you ashamed of the gospel of Christ? You may be, if you are
a. Doing anything to share the gospel yourself
b. Involved in helping others to spread the gospel
2. You have no reason to be ashamed, it is still the same gospel!
a. With power to save the souls of men
b. Revealing the wonderful righteousness of God to save men
May we never be ashamed of the gospel, or of Jesus Himself...
"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and
sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when
He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." (Mk 8:38)
"Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but
let him glorify God in this matter." (1 Pe 4:16)
The Wrath Of God (1:18-32)
1. The Scriptures speak of the coming day of God's wrath...
a. Revealing the righteous judgment of God - cf. Ro 2:4-6
b. A day of judgment of the ungodly - cf. 2 Pe 3:7
-- In which the fullness of God's righteous indignation is made known
2. The Scriptures also speak of how God's wrath has already come...
a. Revealed from heaven - Ro 1:
b. Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men - Ro 1:18b
-- In which a foretaste of God's righteous indignation is manifested
[Why does God manifest this "foretaste" of His wrath? How does He
express His righteous indignation even now, long before the day of
judgment? Our text (Ro 1:18-32) provides the answers...]
I. WHY GOD MANIFESTS HIS WRATH
A. BECAUSE MAN STIFLES GOD'S REVEALED TRUTH...
1. By suppressing the truth in unrighteousness - Ro 1:18
a. Rejecting what is true
b. Justifying what is ungodly and unrighteous
2. By spurning what God has revealed - Ro 1:19-20
a. Things about God that are manifest in man himself
1) E.g., man's intelligence and personality, implying the
same of his Creator
2) E.g., man's sense of ought, implying a righteous Creator
b. Things about God that are manifest in creation around him
- cf. Psa 19:1-2
1) Invisible attributes of God, seen and understood by
things that are visible
2) E.g., design and order of the universe imply eternal
power and Deity
-- When man fails to listen to the beauty and design of the
universe that declares "God exists!", God is angry!
B. BECAUSE MAN IS UNGRATEFUL AND FOOLISH...
1. Not being thankful to God - Ro 1:
a. Even when they knew Him
b. Yet failing to glorify Him as God
2. Becoming futile in their thoughts and foolish in their hearts
- Ro 1:21b-23
a. The consequence of not glorifying God
b. Leading to idolatry (the worship of creation instead of the
1) E.g., making God into their own image
2) E.g., making God into the image of other animate objects
c. Modern man has his own idols:
1) E.g., secular humanism (worshipping self)
2) E.g., covetousness (worshipping money) - cf. Ep 5:5; Co
-- When man ceases to be thankful to God, and esteems created
things over Him, then God is angry!
[The wrath of God at the last day will involve a fiery end (cf. 2 Pe
3:10; 2 Th 1:7-9). God's wrath being revealed today is more subtle, but
II. HOW GOD MANIFESTS HIS WRATH
A. HE "GIVES MAN UP" TO MORAL UNCLEANNESS...
1. God "gave them up" (paradidomi) - Ro 1:
a. No fire from heaven striking them down
b. But simply leaving man to his own desires
2. To (moral) uncleanness - Ro 1:24b
a. In the lusts of their hearts (wherever their wicked hearts
led them, cf. Mk 7:21-23)
b. Dishonoring their bodies among themselves (in what way, see
3. Why? Because they exchanged the truth of God for the lie - Ro
a. Worshipping and serving that which is created
b. Rather than He who is the Creator and worthy to be blessed
B. HE "GIVES MAN UP" TO VILE PASSIONS...
1. Again, God "gave them up" (paradidomi) - Ro 1:
a. No lightning from heaven striking one down
b. But simply leaving man to his vile passions
2. Case in point, lesbianism - Ro 1:26b
a. Women exchanging the natural use for what is against nature
b. Using bodies designed for procreation in ways that do not
3. Case in point, homosexuality - Ro 1:27
a. Leaving the natural use of women (to procreate, to avoid
fornication, cf. 1 Co 7:2)
b. Burning in their lust for one another, committing with men
what is shameful
c. Receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was
due (e.g., AIDS?)
C. HE "GIVES MAN UP" TO DEBASED MINDS AND UNRIGHTEOUSNESS...
1. Yet again, God "gave them over" (paradidomi) - Ro 1:28
a. Since they did not like to retain God in their knowledge
b. God gave them over to a debased mind, to do things not
2. The result of being "given up": being filled with all
unrighteousness - Ro 1:29-31
a. Wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness
b. Envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness
c. Whisperers, backbiters, haters of God
d. Violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things,
disobedient to parents
e. Undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving,
3. They know the righteous judgment of God, that such are
deserving of death - Ro 1:32
a. Yet they still do it
b. And they approve those who do it
1. God's wrath is manifested today by simply allowing man to go his own
a. To follow the desires of his heart
b. To follow the passions of his lusts
-- Stumbling in blind ignorance to increasing degrees of depravity
- cf. Ep 4:17-19
2. God's mercy is manifested today for those willing to turn back to
a. Willing to acknowledge His revelation
1) That given through creation
2) Even more so that given through His Son! - cf. 1 Jn 4:9,10
b. Willing to be thankful to Him
1) With the attitude of gratitude - cf. Co 1:12; 2:7; 3:15,17; 4:2
2) Showing gratitude through repentance - cf. Ro 2:4
Are we thankful? Do we show it by turning from our sins and turning to
God? If not, we have every reason to fear the wrath of God - not just
the day of judgment, but the consequence in this life of God simply
"giving us up" to our own desires!
The Sin of the Gentiles
Not Only Do the Sinful Things
But Also Applaud the Sins of the Others
I. Proclaim the Gospel of God
1. Apostle of the Gospel
2. Contents of the Gospel
3. Recipients of the Gospel
II.The Wish to Visit
1. Impart Spiritual Gifts
2. Have a Harvest
3. Obliged to Preach the Gospel
III. Against Godlessness and Wickedness
1. Worship idols
2. Shameful Lusts
3. Three “Giving Over”
－－ Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
Why Preach the Gospel?
1.Because of what man is, a sinner irrespective of color, culture, class or creed 1:15,17; 3:23
2.Because of what God is, a Savior holy, just and unchanging 1:17; 3:26
3.Because of what the Gospel is, good news and God’s power unto salvation 1:16
4.Because of what Christ is, the theme of the Gospel and the Judge of all men 1:3; 2:16
5.Because of what we Christians are, Trustees of the Gospel, Debtors to our fellow-men, and Ambassadors for Christ 1:5,14; 2 Cor.5:20