Page:A Brief Bible History (Boyd and Machen, 1922).djvu/127

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The Epistle to the Romans

Arriving at Corinth Paul spent three months in that city. During this time he wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Paul was intending to visit the city of Rome. The church at Rome had not been founded by him; it was important, therefore, that in order to prepare for his coming he should set forth plainly to the Romans the gospel which he proclaimed. That is what he does in the Epistle to the Romans. In the Epistle to the Romans, the way of salvation through Christ is set forth more fully than in any other book of the New Testament. In Galatians it is set forth in a polemic way, when Paul was in the midst of a deadly conflict against a religion of works; here it is set forth more calmly and more fully.

In the first great division of the Epistle, Paul sets forth the universal need of salvation. The need is due to sin. All have sinned, and are under God's just wrath and curse. Rom. 1:18 to 3:20. But the Lord Jesus Christ bore that curse for all believers, by dying for them on the cross; he paid the just penalty of our sins, and clothed us with his perfect righteousness. Ch. 3:21–31. This saving work of Christ, and the faith by which it is accepted, were set forth in the Old Testament Scriptures. Ch. 4. The result of the salvation is peace with God, and an assured hope that what God has begun through the gift of Christ, he will bring to a final completion. Ch. 5:1–11. Thus, as in Adam all died, by sharing in the guilt of Adam's sin, so in Christ all believers are made alive. Vs. 12–21.

But, Paul goes on, the freedom which is wrought by Christ does not mean freedom to sin; on the contrary it means freedom from the power of sin; it means a new life which is led by the power of God. Ch. 6. What the law could not do, because the power of sin prevented men from keeping its commands, that Christ has accomplished. Ch. 7. Through Christ, believers have been made sons of God; there is to them "no condemnation"; and nothing in this world or the next shall separate them from the love of Christ. Ch. 8.

Toward the spread of this gospel, Paul goes on, the whole course of history has been made to lead. The strange dealings of God both with Jews and Gentiles are part, of one holy and mysterious plan. Chs. 9 to 11.

In the last section of the Epistle, Paul shows how the glorious gospel which he has set forth results in holy living from day to day. Chs. 12 to 16.