Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome so that they would know and apply the key points of the gospel for their maturity, unity, and ministry. The theme of Romans is “God’s righteousness in the gospel” (1:16-17).
The Roman church was neither started nor visited by Paul before he wrote this letter. At the end of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:3-5) and before his journey to Jerusalem (Rom 15:25, 28) he expressed his hope of visiting the Romans and gain their help to bring the gospel to Spain (15:24). Following his greeting (1:1-7) and prayer for them (1:8-12) he expressed his desire to visit them as part of his ministry of the gospel (1:13-17).
Paul then began teaching the gospel, showing first that all Gentiles are lost and condemned (vv. 18-32). As sinners go farther from God, God judges them by letting them go further into sin (“gave them up,” vv. 24, 26, 28).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- The church at Rome had quite a testimony (v. 8); what kind of testimony does your church have?
- God’s salvation through Jesus Christ is only available through the gospel. That gospel must be proclaimed to everyone!
- God’s wrath is his righteous indignation, affected and controlled by his total person. It is the response of a sovereign, righteous, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy God to sin. Note the different kinds of sins listed in verses 21-32; God’s wrath is against all sinners. How everyone needs the gospel!