Romans Part One: Dive
DIVE INTO ROMANS
When you look at the book of Romans it can be quite daunting, I know some people have started this book and have been so overwhelmed with the density of it that they have stopped and never ventured in again. As you read this book in full, don’t get overwhelmed, this letter contains some of the most powerful declarations found in the whole New Testament, these verses will change your life! So as we start our adventure into this book, for our first Dive, I want to highlight some key themes that will help you understand the overall purpose of the letter.
Firstly I want to start with the incredible verses found in Romans that you can build your life upon, some of my favourites are:
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
My all-time favourite is:
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As you read Romans, highlight these incredible verses then stop and reflect on them for a while. Write in your Bibles what comes into your mind when you reflect on the Scripture and let the Holy Spirit take you on a Bible adventure. I love Bible adventures, this is when I get lost in my thoughts meditating and thinking over just one verse in the Bible, sometimes I get stuck meditating on just one word - grace, love, unity. It brings the Bible alive, it transforms and renews my thinking. Don’t forget to write your thoughts all over your Bible, engage in it and let it transform your life. Try it today as you venture into Romans.
The next thing we want to look at in this Dive are some key themes found in the book.
I’ll let the guys jump into the harder more in-depth topics in the Deep Dives, but for this Dive let me give you some historical context that is going to help you understand these overarching themes a little better.
Romans is written by Paul who is an incredible writer, a genius at conveying the truth of the gospel and what we are to believe. This incredible book that has impacted so many people including John Wesley and Karl Barth, sets up our lives on a solid foundation of sound doctrine. What do I mean by sound doctrine, I mean having a solid foundation of what you believe to be the truth, based and set in the Word of God.
Paul is presenting his doctrinal thesis to the church in Rome, he has not been to this church or preached in this church so he is introducing his key terms and concepts to them. You are going to hear key words like Justification, Propitiation, God’s righteousness given to us, atonement etc. He is going through the foundational doctrine of Christianity for the Romans. Ryan is going to go through some of these key concepts to help you understand the text a little better.
The first key overarching theme that we want to look at in Romans is Paul’s heart for unity in the Church. The Church at Rome is right under the Emperor's nose and he wants this church to make a good impression on the Emperor, how goes the Church in Rome, goes all the churches in Asia minor. Paul in this letter is the great equaliser. Paul wants them to be of one mind, one body working together for the sake of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. He wants them to know the truths on which they all stand united in Christ Jesus. No divisions amongst them.
But, of course, in that day as it still is today, human nature is swayed towards division. One way of reading this letter is that Paul is addressing the two factions in the church of Rome, those who were Christians from a Jewish background and those who were Christians from a gentile, pagan background. Both had had a time running the church and now they were both back together and they weren’t sure who should be in charge. So, Paul, the great equaliser points out both sides faults and shows how they are all equal in Christ. I love this, unity comes when we all realise that we have all sinned and all need Jesus to save us. We all start the same and we all get fixed the same, by belief in Jesus Christ.
Not one of us has the right to think we are better than anyone else. There are no classes or ranks in Christianity, we are all under Jesus – one! Today we see so much division between denominations, it breaks my heart. Maybe today we could have the cry of Paul that we would be all be united under Christ Jesus and live life speaking well of one another and encouraging one another as we spread the gospel message of Jesus. So as you read Romans see how Paul is bringing everything under Christ in the Church. Highlight key terms like one body, see how he speaks to the two different factions and unites them together.
Another overarching theme that I want to highlight in this Dive is the importance of knowing the foundational truths of Christianity that Paul addresses in Romans. As our core doctrinal letter, this book explains the foundations of our beliefs. It is really important to know what you believe and has a strong and solid foundation of your beliefs. If you spend time in the Bible you will know the truth and you will be able to tell the lie when it comes along. Do you know the best way to be able to pick a counterfeit note? You don’t study the counterfeit, you study the true note so much so that when the counterfeit comes along you can tell the difference. That is the same with the truths of the Bible, you don’t need to worry about the lies of the enemy and focusing on them, you just need to jump into the Bible and know its truth, venture in, live in it, love it, and have it flowing in your life so much so that when the enemy comes in with a lie you know it’s a lie because you know the truth! So when Satan tells you that you are powerless, you can remind him of the truth, “No I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:37). When he says that God doesn’t love you because of that sin, you can say “I am convinced that nothing can separate me from the love of God!” (Romans 8:38)
You are going to love the book of Romans, it is one of the foundational books of the New Testament. This is the building block on which the Church is built, the foundational doctrine upon which we stand. So jump in with both feet, imagine yourself building the foundations of your Christian life: you are more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus, we have the righteousness of Christ given to us, we are all made right freely by his grace through Jesus Christ, we are alive in Christ and dead to sin, we are instruments of his righteousness. Happy adventuring through this incredible book, see you next week guys!
This week for our deep dive, we have a guest post from Reverend Keith Garner AM, is the CEO/ Superintendent of Wesley Mission. In his role, Keith has the responsibility of leading almost 2,000 staff and more than 4,000 volunteers across 130 different centres, and well over 1,500 congregation members. Since taking up the role in 2006 Keith has thoroughly immersed himself in the life and work of Wesley Mission, inspiring those who serve alongside him through his passionate teaching and preaching and mobilising others through his role as social advocate and spokesperson.