The theme of the Book of Romans is Unity With God
In Rome there were many nations and cultures, traditions and philosophies; from Gentiles to Jews; from vegetarians to teetotalers. Paul’s concern was to prevent divisions based on these superficial differences.
His message was that all that really mattered was living by every Word of God.
The unity of the saints was to be based on God the Father, Jesus Christ and living by every Word of God.
Unity was NOT to be based on a superficial unity of belonging to some organization, or following some human leader, or following some false human tradition.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul combats rivalries between Jews and Gentiles; which are very much a shadow of the organizational rivalries of today; and forbids the judging of others for their personal preferences, their race, or their corporate leaders: pointing all towards peaceable brotherly love, through unity with God the Father.
It is God and God’s Word, that are important: non scriptural matters of organizational unity, traditions of men, the leadership of men, or personal choice; should not be allowed to divide the saints from unity with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
Today’s trumpeting of organizational unity is a distraction from the very purpose for which we have been called; which is to become fully united with God the Father, in mind, spirit and actions; through a diligent Christ-like zeal to live by every Word of God the Father.
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 1:2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 1:6 Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: 1:7 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.
Paul introduces his letter by saying that the letter is about faithfulness to God and Jesus Christ. Then he commends the faithful who are diligent to keep the Word of God.
1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all [Because they are faithful to keep God’s Word], that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
Paul writes of his concern for the Roman brethren. The Jews had been exiled from Rome (49 A.D.) and Paul had worked with the exiles Priscilla and Aquila in Corinth until they returned to Rome about 54 A.D.
Priscilla and Aquila not only labored in the Gospel with Paul but also made tents with him in Paul’s business and were dear friends of Paul. Romans was written about 56 A.D., to encourage the Christians at Rome and to resolve various difficulties until Paul could visit Rome.
Paul was about to travel to Jerusalem on writing the letter, which matches Acts 20:3, where it is reported that Paul stayed for three months in Greece. This would refer to Paul’s visit to Corinth. Additionally Phoebe was a deacon of the church in Cenchreae, a port to the east of Corinth, and would have been able to convey the letter to Rome after passing through Corinth and taking a ship from Corinth’s west port. Erastus, mentioned in Romans 16:23, also lived in Corinth being the city’s commissioner for public works and city treasurer at various times (WIKI), again indicating that the letter was written in Corinth.
Paul writes that he longs to go to Rome; which explains why he faithfully went to Jerusalem knowing that he would suffer and then be taken to Rome by God’s will.
1:9 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; 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 1:12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let [hindered] hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles. 1:14 I am debtor [to preach the Gospel of salvation] both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.
Paul declares that the gospel is the preaching of sincere repentance, and the way to salvation and eternal life, through the application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and a commitment to go and sin no more. Next Paul immediately begins to bring out that salvation is for both Jews and Gentiles [Greeks]. The term “Greeks” in this context is more of a general term for all Gentiles.
1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The gospel is about sincere repentance from sin, and to go on and live by every Word of God sinning no more, which is true godly righteousness.
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Those who know the Word of God and turn away from it to keep their own false traditions, and who then reject and condemn the zealous; will be rejected by God and will face his wrath.
1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
1:20 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:
God can be seen in his creation. For example it takes both a male and a female to reproduce. There is no way that both male and female could have popped into existence at the same time; therefore, no reproduction and NO evolution! All life had to have been created by God.
Those who know God and are called out to Christ; and then turn away to idolize men are without excuse: because they know the power of God and have turned away from him.
1:21 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. 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.
Men rejecting the Eternal were still driven to worship something greater than themselves, so they made their own gods. In that way they could fulfill their drive to believe in something eternal and still do whatever they wanted; while refusing to accept God’s authority over them.
This is the situation in the called out church of God today, as the brethren would rather look to men for their salvation than to look to the only God who can save them.
As Israel wanted a man to mediate for them at Sinai, it seems that we want the same today! As Israel wanted a human king instead of serving Christ directly, so it is in the church of God and in the world today. We look to our men, traditions and organizations in place of looking to God.
Why? Is it not because of fear? And is fear not born of our sin? Why did Adam hide himself from God? Was it not because of his feelings of guilt which is called shame? It is sin which separates us from God our Father (Isaiah 59). If we were close to God through the zealous keeping of his Word we would not fear His wrath.
1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves [homosexuality]: 1:25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie [abandoning the Word of God for their own ways], and worshipped and served the creature [worshipping the creation instead of the Creator in society; and in the Ekklesia following idols of men] more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
1:26 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: 1:27 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 [homosexuality], and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet [receiving the appropriate consequences of their actions in suffering and disease].
1:28 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 allows those who refuse to keep His Word to do those things that are not good for them, so that they might learn from experience how evil and hurtful those things are.]
The church of God groups today are filled with sins in both the physical and the spiritual sense because they follow idols of men and false traditions, rejecting any zeal to wholeheartedly live by every Word of God.
1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness [sin and laxity towards the word of God], fornication [both physically; and also spiritually, following others instead of Christ our espoused Husband], wickedness [law breaking, like our rampant Sabbath pollution], covetousness [desiring the chief seats and adulation of others], maliciousness [mean spirited, dominating and bullying]; full of envy, murder [Spiritually murdering the brethren by leading them away from any zeal for God, and into the path of idolizing men and eternal death], debate, deceit [the leaders and teachers were (are) full of deceit], malignity [hatefulness; they claim to be people of lover but are full of hate for all those who are zealous for the truth of God]; whisperers [starting rumor campaigns against God’s zealous], 1:30 Backbiters [attacking God’s faithful behind their backs], haters of God [by rejecting the zealous keeping of his word], despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 1:31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 1:32 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.
Our society is full of these things and so is today’s called out spiritual Ekklesia who are lacking understanding because they will not obey the Word of God their Father and of their espoused Husband Jesus Christ.
Here Paul addresses the hypocrisy of condemning others while we are doing the same things ourselves. In the modern church of God, this would be like sitting in a restaurant on Sabbath and looking down on the people that we are paying to serve us: Pure Hypocrisy.
Paul also addresses the idea of repentance without the works of repentance; that is, baptism or circumcision without obedience and zeal from the heart, to live by every Word of God.
Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.
If we do not do what we teach, we are become hypocrites and are without excuse for our sins; knowing that what we do is wrong, yet condemning others for doing what we are doing ourselves!
2:2 But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such [hypocrisy] things. 2:3 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
Do we hypocrites who do the very things that we condemn in others, think that we shall escape the correction of Almighty God?
2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering [Patience of God]; not knowing that the goodness [patient mercy] of God leadeth thee to repentance? [God’s patience is meant to give us time to learn; and to produce sincere repentance in us with a complete change of behavior, turning away from our own ways to embrace living by every Word of God.]
2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 2:6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: [We shall all be judged by what we do. We are all storing up treasure for ourselves in the judgment; either treasures of wrath or treasures of a good reward.]
Those who condemn sin and continue in sin themselves are hypocrites and will face the wrath of Christ. This is the judgment of God.
And those who lead men away from zeal to obey God, to follow themselves instead of zealously keeping the whole Word of God, will be destroyed; while those who are faithful to obey God and are continually zealous to learn and keep his Word shall enter the Promised Land of eternal life.
2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing [commandment keeping] seek for glory and honour and immortality, [they will receive] eternal life:
The blessing for those who keep all of God’s commandments without compromise; is life eternal.
2:8 But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, [God’s Word is truth] but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 2:9 [Those who lead men away from their zeal for learning and keeping God’s Word to obey corporate idols, idols of men and false traditions shall receive great tribulation.] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Here we have a direct warning from Paul; that the wicked who lack zeal to live by every Word of God to learn it and to keep it and the lax and lukewarm commandment compromisers; shall fall into the tribulation of God’s correction.
2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, [does God’s will as reflected in God’s Word.] to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God. [God will not judge you or me or anyone else, any differently from any other; each individual and all races are equal before God. Racism is anathema to the Creator of all races!]
If one sins not knowing the law he shall perish; and if one sins KNOWINGLY he shall also perish.
2:12 For as many as have sinned without law [not knowing the law] shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law [knowing the law] shall be judged by the law;
2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Keeping the law does not justify past sins, yet ONLY those who commit to “Go and sin no more,” committing to keep the law in future, will be justified by the application of the sacrifice of Christ.
Christ’s sacrifice will only be applied to us and we will only be justified by the sacrifice of Christ if we STOP sinning and begin to live by every Word of God!
The sacrifice of Christ is ONLY applied to the sincerely repentant from sin, who then continue in a repentant attitude of living by every Word of God.
2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not [know not] the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not [known] the law, are a law [Keep the law naturally] unto themselves: 2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, [If we have God’s Word written in our hearts; which is the New Covenant (Jer 31:31); we will do by nature the law of God]. Therefore those who willfully break the law and justify doing so: Do NOT have God’s Spirit dwelling in them.
That is what conversion is all about: Becoming of ONE NATURE, ONE MIND and ONE in ACTIONS with God and every Word of God!] their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another; [Our natural carnal conscience must be replaced by the conscience of God through his Spirit, so that we can then act consistently with the very mind and nature of God, or be convicted of sin by God’s Spirit.]
2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel [The true Gospel being the whole Word of God; Jesus Christ will judge all people by every Word of God].
The law keepers shall stand before God at the judgment with a clear conscience; while those who defy God’s Word will stand in fear of the Mighty God that they have defied.
2:17 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 2:18 And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 2:21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
This is speaking directly to the latter day Ekklesia; for it is we who should live by the Word of God in the fullness of its letter and spirit. It is we; the SPIRITUAL Jews, who boast in our supposed knowledge of God’s Word and our supposed knowledge of the will of God.
It is we who are confident that should be: 2:19 we are a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 2:20 An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth.
Too many sin in BOTH the physical and the spiritual sense. We break the law ourselves committing spiritual adultery and idolatry against our espoused Husband, We claim to keep the commandments and then claim that we are justified in breaking the commandments of God to keep our own false traditions.
2:21 Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 2:22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 2:23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, [do we] through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
If we interpret the scriptures by the teachings of men, instead of proving the words of the men by the scriptures; we are spiritual Idolaters and spiritual Adulterers against Jesus Christ our Husband!
Do you boast in the commandments declaring the Sabbath to be Holy, as you trample all over it? Then you commit sacrilege and dishonour God! Today we call the Sabbath holy and then say we are justified in continually profaning Sabbath and Holy Days.
2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles [the spiritually unconverted] through you, [because we claim to be godly and we think we are called out and possess an understanding of the scriptures, and yet we set a wicked example; therefore the unconverted seeing our hypocrisy; blaspheme, saying that our God is no true God and we are hypocrites. Thus it is regarding the Church of God in the world today] as it is written.
Now Paul uses the terms circumcision and uncircumcision to make the point that: a symbol of the Covenant is meaningless, without the substance of keeping that Covenant.
2:25 For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision [The sign of the covenant is invalid if the covenant itself is not being kept.] is made uncircumcision [The sign of circumcision is made void when the Covenant is not kept, just like a signature on a broken contract is meaningless.]
What good is a mere sign of the covenant; if you break that Covenant? What good is your signature on any contract if you do not keep that agreement?
2:26 Therefore if the uncircumcision [If the Gentiles keep the law without circumcision of the flesh] keep the righteousness of the law, [If the physically uncircumcised Gentiles keep the Covenant; their zeal for the Word of God to keep it shall be counted for circumcision of heart: for righteousness is the keeping of the covenant, which righteousness is obedience to our Husband, Christ.] shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
2:27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by [those having been circumcised or baptized and still break the law; are transgressors] the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?
Let us apply the truth, that the keeping of the laws of the covenant matters far more than having the symbol of the covenant; circumcision or the rite of baptism.
If a man, NOT yet being baptized into the New Covenant, still keeps the law; is he not righteous before God for his law keeping? I speak of a person desiring baptism and committed to learning and keeping the whole Word of God.
And if a baptized man does NOT live by every Word of God, keeping the law in letter AND in spirit; then he is a sinner and his baptism profits him nothing!
Neither circumcision, nor baptism, nor ordination; mean anything at all: IF we have no zeal to live by every Word of God!
What if a diligent lover of God and his commandments dies before he can be baptized? God will judge him on his commandment keeping, in the same way that he will judge Abel and Noah who were neither circumcised nor baptized!
Circumcision and baptism are only symbols of our commitment, and there will be very many baptized [and many circumcised] people who will NOT be in God’s kingdom; through their failure to live by every Word of God!
Very many lived before Abraham who will be in the resurrection, not having been either circumcised in the flesh nor having been baptized.
There will be many who repent and even die for the faith in the imminent tribulation, who will not have an opportunity to be baptized.
Baptism IS commanded and we are to do so at the earliest opportunity after sincere repentance, yet it is more important to love God the Father enough to live by every Word of God with passionate zeal, than to be baptized and then not live by every Word of God.
Just being baptized and attending some corporate church does NOT mean you have a free pass into eternal life!
2:28 For he is not a [spiritual] Jew, which is one outwardly [in appearance only]; neither is that circumcision [or baptism], which is outward in the flesh:
We are NOT spiritual Jews [converted New Covenant overcomers] just because we are baptized and attend some corporate organized church; there is much more to conversion than that!
True circumcision is not merely an outward appearance.
Like physical circumcision or baptism, true spiritual circumcision of the heart is sincere repentance and a commitment to diligently “Go and sin not more!” It is having the Word of God written on our hearts and having a great zeal to keep the whole Word of God.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Romans 2:29 But he is a [spiritual] Jew, which is one inwardly [A true spiritual Jew is one who is zealous to live by every Word of God, which has been written on our heart]; and [True] circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
The true spiritual Jew [New Covenant Christian] is NOT just a person who is baptized; but is the person who is truly circumcised in heart, and keeps the commandments and the covenant of God with faithful passionate zeal. Therefore the true Christian must be a spiritual Jew indeed; keeping the New Covenant of commitment to do all that our spiritual Husband requires, and living by every Word of God with Christ-like zeal!