Tag Archives: Romans
Word clouds are very popular on blogs and social networking sites to give a visualisation of how frequently a word is used on a site. The more frequently the word appears, the larger the font, so the important words really stand out and you can get an instant idea of what the site or post is about.
We’ve taken that idea and applied the same principles to chapters of the Bible, providing an instant overview of the key words within the chapter. First up is Romans chapter 1 in which Paul opens up the book of Romans with a description of the Gentile world, his calling, what the gospel is and commendation of their faith.
Here we see some of the key words being: God, faith, Jesus, Christ, gospel, unrighteousness, power.
This idea of word or tag clouds will work better for some chapters than others, but it is certainly fascinating to see the overview of the chapter so visually!
Paul tells the Romans that the gospel message is important, because if you believe in it’s message it can bring salvation. God uses the gospel to show us the only way to salvation.
The gospel leads us to salvation because it reveals righteousness. We learn what righteousness is, we learn that God is righteous, and we learn how to become righteous ourselves. The way we can become righteous is through faith, and righteous people are the people that God will save.
So, what exactly is righteousness? It’s a very religious sounding word, and doesn’t convey much of a meaning unless you understand it. To be righteous means simply that your actions are justified. You are a just, fair and morally upright person. God is righteous because he always judges everyone with justice and fairness, and he is the epitomy of moral uprightness.
However, I think very few of us would claim to be truly just, fair and morally upright. How can we obtain this state? Because if we don’t – God won’t accept us.
The answer is – by faith. Look at the example of Abraham. We are told in Genesis that:
“And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6)
So Abraham wasn’t a righteous person, but because he believed in God’s promises – he had faith in God – God counted that as the same thing as righteousness.
Paul picks up on this point later in this book, and also in some of his other letters in the New Testament. This is therefore exceedingly important!
We can’t all be righteous but we can all have faith – and if we have faith, God will give us a tick in the box of righteousness too – and then we are on the way to salvation.
The other relevant point here is that we can’t do anything to save ourselves. Only one person was truly righteous, and that was the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how many fair and moral things we do, it is impossible for us to be please God unless we have faith.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
And then it will be God’s good pleasure to give us his kingdom.
Paul really wants to visit the church at Rome. It would appear that this church was set up by other disciples and not Paul himself. Perhaps a member of one of the other churches he was involved in went to Rome and formed a church there. Either way Paul had never been there, and he prayed to God that he will one day be able to make the journey.
Why does he want to visit the church at Rome?
- The faith of the Roman church is widely reported. It seems that Paul feels he will benefit spiritually from having fellowship with people who are strong in faith.
- Paul’s way of serving God is to preach the gospel. He wants to do this in as many places as possible.
- Paul wants to share some spiritual gift with the Romans, in order to encourage and strengthen their faith and his also. Possibly he is talking about giving them a Holy Spirit gift. It is likely that the power to pass on the Holy Spirit was something that only the chief disciples could do, and that Holy Spirit gifts had not yet reached Rome.
- Paul wishes to help increase their numbers with his preaching skills.
- Paul feels he is under an obligation to preach to the non Jewish world, of all cultures and levels of intelligence. I think the obligation arose partly because Paul was commissioned directly by Jesus to preach to the Gentiles and partly because he clearly has a huge sense of guilt about his former life of persecution of Christians.
Paul did make it to Rome eventually. This can be seen at the end of the book of Acts. Unfortunately he ends up a prisoner, spending at least two years in a rented house under house arrest. He is free to see friends and write letters and we hope achieved some of his wishes in terms of preaching and strengthening the church at Rome.
It’s likely though that Rome was Paul’s final visit as tradition has it that here he was eventually put to death for his Christian beliefs.
So what can we learn from this?
- Spending time with people who have strong faith can benefit our own faith.
- We should meet together with other believers to encourage one another.
- God wants the gospel to spread as far as possible – we should continue Paul’s preaching work today.
The New Testament letters can be difficult to understand. Paul and the other writers explore deep theological arguments and answer difficult questions that arose in the early church. It is however really worth getting to grips with them because under the theology are many valuable spiritual lessons.
I am going to start with an exploration of the Letter to the Romans with the aim of looking at what the book tells us that can help us with our lives today, both spiritually and practically.
Paul begins his letter by telling the Romans that he has been chosen to preach the gospel.
He then summarizes the gospel neatly in a few sentences:
- The gospel is the good news told long ago by the prophets.
- The good news is about the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
- Jesus had an earthly nature because he was the natural descendant of King David.
- Jesus was also the Son of God, as shown by his powerful resurrection from the dead.
- Through Jesus we have received grace – which is God’s favor.
- We are also chosen as apostles to preach in all nations, to call everyone to adhere to the faith brought about by Jesus.
Paul then reminds the Romans that they have been specifically called to follow Jesus themselves, so that they can’t ignore his words.
Paul makes the gospel so simple. Despite all the complicated facets that make up many parts of the Bible we must never forget that the gospel message itself is straightforward. Anyone can understand the basics of Gods message – Jesus, the Son of God, was raised from the dead so that we might receive grace.