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Lesson 12: Paul's Third Missionary Journey - Part 2
Lesson 12: Paul’s Third Missionary Journey – Part 2
Hi, I’m Carl Laney Professor here at Western Seminary and it’s my privilege to give you this survey of the New Testament. Today we are focusing our attention on Paul’s third missionary journey and in this second part of the lesson we’re looking at the letter that Paul wrote to the church at Rome. Paul’s letter to the church at Rome.
I. FACTS ON ROMANS
Now this letter has had such a significant influence on our Christian faith and in our understanding of the Gospel. It was a book that truly influenced Martin Luther and Roland Bainton who writes the book, Here I Stand, has given us an excerpt from Luther’s introduction to his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans. These are the words of Martin Luther about his study of the Book of Romans and what it led him to conclude. Luther’s says, “I long to understand Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and nothing stood in the way except that one expression, “the justice of God.” Because I took it to mean that justice whereby God is just and deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that although an impeccable monk I stood before God as a sinner, troubled in conscience and had no confidence that my merit would satisfy him. Therefore, I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him. Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a yearning to know what he meant. Night and day, I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement, the just shall live by his faith. Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through shear grace and mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt my self to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into Paradise. The whole scripture took on a new meaning and whereas before the justice of God had filled me with hate, now it became to me inexpressibly sweet in greater love. The passage of Paul became to me the gate of Heaven.” That’s Roland Bainton in his book, Here I Stand. And so you can see how this letter was such an influence on Martin Luther and on the Reformers.
A. Authors, 1:1, 15:25, 16:3, 16:22.
Let’s get acquainted with Paul’s letter. As for the authorship of the Book it’s pretty clear that it was written by the Apostle Paul. It’s pretty much universally accepted to be Pauline on the basis of internal evidence, and the testimony of the church fathers. But notice that the actual writing was done by Paul’s amanuenses which is a fancy name for scribe. In 16:22 we read that it was Tertius who did the actual writing of this letter as Paul dictated.
B. Readers, 1:7
The letter is addressed to the Church at Rome. This was not a church that Paul had visited. It was largely a Gentile church but had a sizeable Jewish minority there at the church.
C. Date of Writing, A.D. 56/57.
As the to date of writing we’ve mentioned it was written during Paul’s third missionary journey and during the winter of 56-57 while Paul was in Corinth he wrote this letter.
D. Historical Setting, Acts 20:3, Rom 16:23, 1 Cor. 1:14, Rom 16:1.
After three years of ministry in Ephesus Paul departed for Greece where he spent the next three months and a good part of that time was spent in Corinth and from that city he wrote his letter to the Romans. This is mentioned in 16;23. Phoebe who was a member of the church at Corinth and from the city of Cenchreae apparently carried this letter in behalf of Paul to the city o Rome, 16:1 of the Book of Romans.
E. Purpose, 1:11-13, 11:15,16.
The purpose of this letter was to pave the way for Paul’s anticipated visit to the city of Rome and to present the Gospel as Paul understood it and proclaimed it. Paul’s goal was to show the implications of the Gospel for world evangelism and to preserve harmony between Jewish and Gentile believers.
F. Theme, 1:16,17.
The theme of Romans is clearly justification by faith, justification by faith for all who will believe, and we’ll be looking at that theme more closely in just a minute.
A. The Doctrine of Salvation, 1-8
The outline of the Book is formed with three S’s, Salvation in chapters 1-8, Sovereignty in chapters 9-11 and Service in chapters 12-16. In the first eight chapters Paul is dealing with the doctrine of salvation. It’s there he really expands on and expounds his concept of justification by faith.
B. The Unbelief of Israel, 9-11
Then in chapters 9-11 he’s dealing with Israel’s unbelieve and Paul shows God’s sovereignty over Israel’s unbelief.
C. The Conduct of Believers, 12-16
Then in chapters 12-16, Paul shows the implications of our justification, our conduct as believers, and how we serve one another in the body of Christ.
III. INTRODUCTION, 1:1-17
A. The Gospel
1. Salutation, 1:1-7
Let’s spend some time with the introduction to the book, before we look at a survey and so in Chapter 1:1-17 Paul presents the theme of his letter. The theme of this letter is the Gospel. The Gospel which reveals the righteousness of God and affects the salvation of all who believe. This is longer than Paul’s Epistles, perhaps because he had not visited the church and had lots to say to them in anticipation of his first visit.
So, Paul introduces himself and he presents himself, Paul a bondservant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle. In terms of his relationship with Christ he sees himself as a bondservant, a bondservant of Christ. In terms of his office Paul see himself as an apostle. As to his work Paul is setting forth the Gospel, the Gospel of God. Paul goes on to introduce his subject and again his subject is the Gospel, the Good News. In verses 2-6 we see him showing first of all, that this Gospel is not a new message but it’s a message that was promised in the Old Testament. It’s not something that Paul newly invented. He says it was promised beforehand through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Paul will expound the scriptures from the Old Testament that contained in seed thought the Gospel. It was promised by the prophets, Isaiah predicted the Virgin Birth, Micah predicted his birth in Bethlehem. This Gospel is fulfilled in Christ. Concerning his Son who born a descendant of David according to the flesh. There we see his human nature. Jesus was the God man and Paul emphasizes he was born according to the flesh as a descendant of David. Then in verse 4 Paul emphasizes his resurrection power, who was declared son of God with power by the resurrection of the dead. It’s important to understand that the resurrection didn’t make him the Son of God, he was the Son of God. But the resurrection powerfully and publicly asserted his Sonship that he was God and that death could not keep bound in the grave. The resurrection powerfully asserted the Sonship of Jesus to God the Father.
This is the Gospel that Paul proclaims, through him we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles for his namesake. Paul’s goal was to bring the Gentiles into the obedience which springs from faith. When we have faith that leads to obedience. Paul wants to bring the Gentiles into the obedience that springs from faith.
2. Greeting, 7b
Paul sends greetings to the believers in Rome, verse 7, “To all the beloved in God called as saints, grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Grace and peace deeply theological words that Paul will develop later in Chapters 4 and 5.
3. Thanksgiving, 1:8-15
Paul moves in verses 8-17 to his thanksgiving, and Paul was thankful for the fact that the faith of the Romans were proclaimed throughout the Empire. Notice verse 8 Paul says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.” Paul’s talking here about the Roman world, the Roman Empire. The church at Rome had been established perhaps by some of the people who had been at the Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2 and they had taken the Gospel message back with them to Rome and now a church had been established. That church was spreading the Good News of the Gospel throughout the Empire. Paul wanted to travel to Rome himself that he would have a share in spreading the Good News from this central point of Rome. Paul mentions his prayers for the believers and he writes of how he unceasingly makes mention of these believers in his prayers. He’s praying for them in an unceasing manner.
And then he wants to come to Rome, he says in verse 11, “For I long to see you, so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established;“ Paul wanted to impart or perhaps better exercise his spiritual gift there in the church at Rome. He had repeatedly planned trips to Rome, but these had failed to materialize, verse 13, he mentions that he had planned to come but was prevented so far. Paul wanted to come to Rome and have a ministry there. He wanted to come to Rome and to preach the Gospel to the people there. He says in verse 14, “I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Paul wanted to preach to all people. He felt he was obligated to take the Gospel to all nations and wanted to preach the Gospel there in Rome. Now a church had been established so Paul wouldn’t be the first to preach the Gospel in Rome, but he wanted to have the opportunity to do it.
B. The Message, 1:16-17
1. The power of the gospel, 16
As Paul writes to the Romans he wants them to know what his Gospel entails. In verses 16 and 17 Paul declares the theme and the message of this letter, the Gospel. He begins in verse 16 by talking about the power of the Gospel, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” In spite of the contempt for the Gospel by the unbelieving world, Paul says I am unashamed of its message. Paul is confident that the Gospel is God’s powerful means of affecting salvation and transforming lives. Notice the effect of the Gospel, the Gospel leads to salvation, I’m not ashamed of the Gospel, it is the power of God for salvation. What does the Gospel bring us? It brings us salvation. The extent of the Gospel to whom does it apply? Paul says it applies to everyone, it’s a worldwide application, to the Jew, to the Greek, worldwide. And what is the one condition for this salvation to receive this Good News? It’s faith. It’s the basis of faith, to everyone who believes, that’s the condition for receiving the Gospel and the gift of salvation.
2. The essence of the gospel, 17
The essence of the Gospel is summarized for us in verse 17, Paul says, “For in it [that is the Gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” The Good News that is contained in the Gospel is the restoration of right relationship between God and humanity through faith in the Lord Jesus. He speaks of the righteousness of God. What is the righteousness of God? Is that the righteousness which God gives? Or is it the righteousness which God proves, or could it be both? I suggest it’s both. Not only is it the righteousness which God approves as God, a Holy God, but it’s also the righteousness which he gives, he imparts. God is righteous in his dealings with sin. God doesn’t just wink at sin, he doesn’t sweep sin under the carpet, he judges sin in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, he can accept the sinner as righteous, based upon the fact that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin. Notice the expression that Paul uses in verse 17, “from faith to faith.” In other words, the salvation program is by faith. It’s by faith from start to finish. From beginning to end. It’s always a faith program. Paul adds a scriptural reference in verse 17, it’s a quotation from Habakkuk 2:4, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 to show that the salvation by faith is not a new thing that Paul has invented. In fact, it’s thoroughly grounded on prophetic scripture. The only way to be righteous in God’s sight is by faith and Habakkuk 2:4 makes that point clear, the righteous shall live by faith. Well the first 17 verses of the Book of Romans introduced the theme, and the message of the righteousness of God as demonstrated in his great plan of salvation.
IV. THE NEED FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS: CONDEMNATION, 1:18-3:20
A. Paul’s Gospel, 1-8
But now we move on to the main first section of the Book, the need for righteousness. In Chapters 1-8 we learn that righteousness is needed. Why? Because all have missed the mark, all have fallen short by their sin. We also discover in this section righteousness is imputed or imparted to believers, on the basis of faith and we’re justified, declared righteous on the basis of faith. Then Paul concludes this section by talking about how righteousness is made real and personal in our lives, how righteousness is imparted by the sanctifying work of the Spirit. Here in this section, Paul is dealing with the subject of righteousness and how we received righteousness and are declared righteous, on the basis of faith.
B. Paul demonstrates the universality of sin and condemnation
As Paul begins this section he wants us to know that we all need God’s righteousness. Why? Because we all miss the mark. We all fall short of God’s high and holy standard. The Gentiles missed the mark, even though they don’t have the prophetic scriptures, they can witness through creation that God is the creator and that God holds them accountable. There’s a general revelation through nature that is presented to all people that makes them to know that God exists, and God gives them a sense of a moral conscience which holds them accountable. But Gentiles even though they have the knowledge that God exists and moral conscience nevertheless they fall short of God’s standard.
He also points out how the moralists miss the mark. These who judge others and condemn others for making mistakes, they make the same mistakes that the others do who they condemn. He talks about the Jews who know the law and have received the law and yet they themselves break it. The Gentiles, the Moralists, the Jews and then in Chapter 3:9-20 he says all have fallen short of the glory of God.
V. RIGHTEOUSNESS IMPUTED, JUSTIFICATION IMPARTED
A. Righteousness needed: Condemnation, 1:18-3:20
He really summarizes that for us in 3:22, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. You can’t begin to minister to God’s people until you know their greatest need. People’s greatest need is to have their sins forgiven and to be restored in a right relationship with God. That’s Paul wants us to know right from the start that we’ve all fallen short and we all need God’s righteousness that will come through faith.
B. Righteousness imputed: Justification, 3:21-5:21
The next section, as Paul continues on, is to show us that righteousness is imputed through justification by faith. Here Paul shows us how we can be free from the condemnation that is incurred, as a result of sin. This takes place as we’re justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Paul begins in this section by showing us that there are Old Testament examples of justification by faith. In Chapter 4 he introduces Abraham as the man who was declared righteous on the basis of faith, Chapter 4:9. Abraham was credited, righteousness was credited to him on the basis of faith. And then he tells us about David who also believed and on the basis of faith, he was declared righteous.
C. Justification, 3:21-5:21, imparted
So, Paul is using this important term justification. This term justification is a Judicial term. It’s a Judicial term that speaks of the fact that a verdict of acquittal has been announced or declared. Some have said that justification, and they make a little analogy, is “just as if I’d” never sinned. Well that’s half the story. But there’s more than that. Not only is the believer cleansed from former sins but in justification by faith positive righteousness is placed on their account. Let me give you an illustration, what if my daughter called me up one day and said, “Dad I’m in trouble, I’ve overdrawn on my bank account.” And like a good dad I’d respond and say, “Well honey how much is overdrawn/” “I’m $200.00 overdrawn.” “Well, honey let me write you a check for $200.00 so that you won’t be overdrawn.” Well that would be helpful and be kind, but she’d still have 0 in her checking account. But what if I did this, I said, “Honey, I know you are in trouble let me write you a check for $400.00 to clear the balance due and to give you some positive balance in your account.” Oh, she’d be very appreciative of that. You know justification is more than wiping the slate clean, it’s more than giving us a positive balance. What is I said, “Honey, I’ve got a book of checks that are made out to me, I want you to write and pay your bills from my account.” That would be amazing, and my daughter would be thrilled. But you know that’s the kind of thing that God has done when he said, “I’m not just going to wipe your slate clean, I’m not just gong to give you a little positive balance of righteousness I’m going to take the very righteousness of Jesus Christ, I’m going to place that in your account so when I look at your account I will no longer see your debt of sin I will see the positive balance of the full righteousness of Jesus Christ when I look at you. That’s justification and it comes by faith. What an amazing free gift is offered to us. God says, “I’m going to let you write your checks on Jesus’ account. Dikaios is the Greek word and means to declare righteous and it means that we are declared righteous because the positive balance of Jesus’ righteousness has been placed on our account. That is Good News.
D. Sanctification, 6-8
I’m declared to be righteous, God views me as righteous but how does righteousness work out in my daily living. That’s what Chapters 6-8 are all about. Chapters 6-8 deal with the subject of sanctification. Here Paul deals with the matter of imparting righteousness into the life of a forgiven sinner. Chapters 6-8 deals with this subject. There are three aspects of righteousness that we need to keep in mind. The first is positional. Three aspects of sanctification that we need to keep in mind, positional sanctification takes place when we become regenerate and when we trust Christ. Paul knew that there were lots of problems at Corinth, but he calls them saints, holy ones. Why? Because of their faith and they been declared righteous, on the basis of their position in Christ. Then there’s the final step of our sanctification when we see Jesus and we are as He is. We are glorified, and we become perfected 1 John 3:2. So there’s positional sanctification, there’s the ultimate or final sanctification but what Paul’s talking about in Chapter 6-8 is our experiential sanctification, the experience in our life of conforming more and more our personal habits and our lifestyle to the position that we have in Christ. In Christ I’m a holy one, in Christ I’m a saint but I don’t always live like that. What Paul is going to help us with in Chapters 6-8, is how to let my life be more and more Christ like. How is that done? Paul addresses that in Chapters 6-8 and let me just summarize it for you. In Chapters 6-8 Paul is going to say that the believer is sanctified as he or she yields to God’s will. Chapter 6:13 Paul really develops that sense of yieldedness and turning my life over to the will of God.
Then the second aspect if conforming to God’s Word. As we study God’s Word we yield not only to God’s will by the Holy Spirit but to his Word.
Then the ultimate power for sanctification is through indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. It’s really summarized for us in Chapter 8:3-4 Paul says, “ For what the Law could not do, [make us holy] weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that [and here’s the key to sanctification] the requirement of the Law [notice that God hasn’t set aside the requirement of the law but that the requirement, literally the righteousness of the law] might be fulfilled in us,[as believers] who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” There we have the power for sanctification, the power of the Holy Spirit to live the life that we truly want to live, to be the person that we truly want to be, and it comes about through the New Covenant, indwelling ministry, and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Well that’s Chapters 6-8 all about sanctification.
VI. THE PROBLEM OF ISRAEL,9-11
When we come to Chapters 9-11 many students of the Bible have concluded that these chapters are a digression and that Paul turns aside to kind of a footnote and says let me talk to you about Israel for a while. Let me talk about Israel. Is that the case? Is this a digression or a parenthesis? My answer is no. You can write that in your notes, Romans 9-11 is not a parenthesis, not a digression.
A. The heart of the epistle: Paul deals with the problem of Israel.
On the contrary, Roams 9-11 lies at the very heart of this letter to the people of Rome. Because here Paul deals with the problem of Israel. What connection is there between Israel after the flesh and those who become the people of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, those of a Gentile background. What’s the relationship between the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers? Do the Jewish believers have a favored status or has Israel forfeited their claims to the promises of God because of their rejection of the Messiah. Why are these Jewish people refusing the Gospel, refusing this offer of God’s grace and his gift? Has God’s purposes for Israel been frustrated? Has God been up in Heaven wringing his hands saying, “ Oh, I wish it had turned better for Israel.” What does the future hold for God’s people Israel? How do the Gentiles come to share in the blessings that God had for Israel? Chapter 9-11 are intended to address these questions.
B. Past Election, 9
Paul begins this section by talking about the fact that God chose Israel for a special purpose. Israel is an elect people and here we see the great teaching of the divine election of the Nation of Israel.
C. Present Rejection, 10
Then Paul goes on to talk about Israel’s rejection of Christ and how, in spite of the prophecies and the promises given to them, they rejected their own Messiah. A great tragedy took place. But Paul says in Chapter 11 that God hasn’t given up on his people Israel.
D. Future Salvation, 11
That there will be a believing remnant that one day comes to faith in their Messiah. Zech. 12:10 and following tell us that one day the Jewish will see him whom they pierced. They will repent and believe. So God isn’t through with Israel.
Through these Chapters 9-1 we see a great theological theme and that is the sovereignty of God, God is absolutely sovereign over Israel. He’s sovereign over Israel’s election, He’s sovereign over Israel’s unbelief and He’s sovereign over Israel’s future. God is sovereign. The great theme of the sovereignty of God is highlighted here in Romans 9-11.
VII. THE CONDUCT OF BELIEVERS, 12-16,
A. "Therefore," (12:1): Paul directs us to the practical application of the doctrine set forth in chapters 1-12.
In the next section of the Book we see the practical application of all this doctrine that the people at Rome have been given. Chapter 12 is really the turning point in the Book and it begins 12:1, “ Therefore” and when you see the "therefore" you need to think back to all that Paul has said in Chapters 1-11. All that doctrine, all that confession of faith and now Paul proceeds in Chapter 12-16 to duty and the obligation of conducting ourselves in a manner that is God-honoring and pleasing to him. So, the key turning point in the Book we move from the doctrine to the duty, from the information about what Jesus has done for us to what we as believers need to do in our service for Christ and his spiritual community.
B. Christian Duties, 12-13
So, this moves us into the practical section of the Book of Romans. In Chapters 12-13 we see that Paul lays out some duties that we have to one another. Our responsibilities within the Body of Christ. In Chapter 13 Paul’s going to talk about our civil responsibilities, submission to government. Paul gives us quite a bit in Chapter 13 about what government is to do and our role and responsibility to government. These are Christian duties.
C. Christian Liberties, 14-15
Then in Chapters 14-15, Paul is going to address the subject of Christian liberties. How can believers with different cultural and religious backgrounds get along in the body of Christ? Paul address that in Chapters 14-15 and in Chapter 14 he insists that we must accept one another because God has accepted both those of a Jewish background and those of a Gentile background. There’s the principle of mutual acceptance. In Chapter 14:13 he sets fort the principle of brotherly obligation, that we shouldn’t put a stumbling block in someone else’s’ path. We shouldn’t do anything that might cause someone to sin or to have their spiritual life damaged.
D. Conclusion, 15-16
Then in Chapter 15:1-3, Paul talks about Christ who did not please himself but pleased others. And the principle there is Christ-like consideration for others, Chapter 15:3, “Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.” Here Paul lays out some principles of how to get along and basically Paul is saying here we need to exercise love, limited liberty in our relationship with one another. We might have certain freedoms that we can participate in, but we don’t want to exercise freedom in such a way that it might damage or hurt someone else’s spiritual life.
That brings us to the conclusion of the Book in Chapter 15-16. The rest of the Book Paul is explaining his travel plans and sending some greetings from the believers at Corinth to the believers at Rome. He says that his immediate plan is to leave Corinth and head to Jerusalem with a gift that he has collected from the churches in Macedonia and Corinth. But then he tells us in 15 L 24 that he has plans to go to Spain, “whenever I go to Spain I hope to see you in passing.” Paul says I want to pass through Rome on my way to Spain and to be helped on my way by you. Paul is soliciting missionary support. He wants to be helped on his way as he goes to Spain and encouraged by the church there. Paul wants to stop at Rome on his way to Spain and of course, that’s one of the reasons he’s writing this letter, to prepare for his visit to Rome and his anticipated travels on to Spain.
The actual conclusion to the second half of the Book from Chapter 12 on we find in 15:13 hence there’s still come greetings after that, but the real conclusion comes in 15:13, and Paus says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” We have a God of hope, who generates hope in his people. That hope can be approached through joy and peace as we appropriate those virtues by faith in believing. “So that we can abound by hope”, how? By the dynamic, the wonderful power of the Holy Spirit. We as believers have a formula for hope and it’s here in 15:13. This is a formula for hope in a hopeless world. I hope you will embrace that hope of the Gospel as you continue in your study of the New Testament and particularly in the study of the Book of Romans.