The letter to the Romans was written by the Apostle Paul, the converted Jew and Roman citizen, about AD 57. Having undertaken three missionary trips, where he had pioneered the Christian message throughout much of the Roman Empire, Paul had not yet visited Rome. Paul felt a call to expand his missionary endeavors further westward. As he planned it, while heading in the direction of Spain, he would finally fulfill the ambition of years and visit the Christians in Rome.
As Paul wrote this letter, Rome was the capital of an empire which stretched from Britain in the west to Arabia in the east. The empire was the center of the world's wealth, culture and trade. Due to the effectiveness of the Gospel and the ease of travel, a growing Christian community made up of Jews and Gentiles was forming in Rome.
What compelled him to write this unique document at this time in his ministry was perhaps a sense that he might never make it to Rome. Therefore, he chose to write it down for the Roman Christians in the event he did not personally arrive in Rome.
Without a doubt, this letter is Paul's gospel manifesto. The theme of Paul's letter is that faith in Christ is the only way people can gain acceptance by God, regardless of religious background and practice.
Paul sees the world as it really is, i.e., not as rosy as secular thought might lead one to believe (Chapter 1).
He proclaims that regardless of social status, or religious pedigree, every single person is guilty of violating God's standards and as a result stands condemned before a righteous God. Even the practicing Jews, who had the unique privilege of knowing God's law for centuries, cannot keep it well enough to avoid the guilty sentence (Chapter 2-3).
Nevertheless, Paul does not leave the reader without hope. He reveals that God offers a free pardon, a clean slate and new life to all who will believe the "good news" of Jesus Christ. He explains that Jesus, the Son of God, has served our sentence for us on the cross (Chapter 4-5).
Paul further writes that the Lord Jesus breaks the chains of our slavery to sin. Paul proclaims that new-born Christians are free to make a fresh new start–this time with all the power of God at their disposal for clean living (Chapters 6-8).
After speaking of his anguish over the nation of Israel (Chapters 9-11), Paul ends his writing by giving very practical directions for Christian living (Chapters 12-16).
Paul's letter to the Romans reached them three years before he would. In the providence of God, Paul's letter made an impact before he ultimately reached Rome as a prisoner for Christ (Acts 28).
In the tradition of religious theologians such as Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Bunyan and Wesley, Pastor Art's Christianity For Today messages bring contemporary life applications for Christians out of Paul's letter to the Romans. In 10 Bible-based lessons Pastor Art discusses God's forgiveness and love and shares how they provide the basis for living the new life on a higher plane, reshaping our way of thinking and acting.
This series offers the opportunity for you to listen and learn what it means to live life in a manner worthy of our new calling as Christians.