“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Rm 12:1-2)
Summary of Romans 1-8
After establishing that the gospel is Jesus Christ Himself, Paul talks about the Gentiles’ and Jews’ sin in Romans 1-3. After that, from Romans 3:21 Paul explains God’s righteousness revealed through Jesus Christ and justification by faith in Him.
In chapter 5, we read about the 6 results of becoming justified by faith such as peace with God, the hope of the glory of God, and God’s love poured out on our hearts. In chapter 6, Paul addresses how those who’ve become justified by faith in Jesus should live—Christians should be united with the death and resurrection of Jesus and live as slaves of God, not of sin.
In chapters 7-8, Paul talks about the relationship between Christians and God’s law and how the Holy Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death and enables us to live according to God’s word.
Misunderstanding About Paul (The Relationship between faith and works)
The gospel Paul preached can be summarized into three words—Justification by faith.
Paul said that the only way for us to truly become righteous is to have faith in Jesus. He excludes everything in this matter, even works and observance of God’s law.
“A person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Rm 3:28).
This is what Paul strongly emphasized throughout the book of Romans. And, because of Paul’s emphasis on faith in regard to salvation, some Christians think that Paul didn’t value works or God’s law. That’s not true.
Even though it’s true that Paul strongly emphasized the importance of faith in the matter of salvation, he also talked about how Christians should live out their faith by observing God’s word. Paul didn’t just say that a person can only be saved through faith in Jesus, but also that this true, saving faith must be shown in his or her life.
Paul actually talks about the importance of observing the law in Romans. He said,
“Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.” (Rom 3:31)
Paul clarified that becoming righteous by faith doesn’t nullify the law, but rather fulfills it. It means that even though we no longer seek righteousness through observance of the law, we must still uphold the law as God’s people.
Paul said in Romans 8,
“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Rm 8:3-4)
Paul said that God sent His Son and condemned our sins in His flesh so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Before we believed in Jesus, we were unable to meet the requirement of the law because of our sinful nature. But, Jesus came to the world, bore our sins in His body, and saved us by paying the ransom for our sins through His death on the cross.
Now, in Christ Jesus, we are no longer under the law of sin and death, but under the law of the Spirit who sets us free and gives us life. It means that we are now able to do what we couldn’t do before because our sins and weaknesses held us back.
What Paul really emphasizes by saying this is that if we are truly in Christ Jesus and if we proclaim that the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we must meet the righteous requirement of the law. In other words, the true, saving faith Paul talks about in Romans is the faith that upholds the law.
Knowing this truth is important in Christian life. Even though we can easily find Christians who say, ‘I believe in Jesus,’ it’s hard to find true Christians who try to follow His ways by obeying God’s word and loving and serving others by sacrificing what they have.
It seems that many Christians just emphasize ‘faith’ while ignoring works. Some Christians even think that how they actually live is not that important because they are saved only by faith. There are many Christians who don’t bear good fruits of faith.
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Mt 7:18-19)
The tree that doesn’t bear good fruit is cut down because it reveals that the tree is not really a good tree. Likewise, if our faith doesn’t bear good fruit, it can’t be regarded as true, good faith that Jesus accepts.
As I said earlier, if we truly believe something, it must influence every aspect of our lives.
Paul said in Romans 1:17,
“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed - a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith”” (Rm 1:17)
Paul didn’t say that our faith has nothing to do with our lives. Rather, he said, the righteous will live by faith.
Hebrews 10:38-39 also says,
““But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Heb 10:38-39)
God doesn’t want us to shrink back from true faith. Those who shrink back will be destroyed, but those who have true faith and live by it will join in God’s eternal kingdom. The one who is justified by faith should live by faith as a natural result. I believe that’s God’s will for us.
Romans 12-15: God’s Will toward His People
In Romans chapters 1-8, Paul talked about what God’s righteousness is, how to receive it, what the results of justification by faith are, and what true Christians’ lives look like.
In Romans chapters 12-15, Paul talks about how Christians live by faith in Jesus and about God’s will for Christians.
Paul addresses this subject by discussing different types of relationships. Relationships are very important in our lives. You might have heard the saying, “humans are social creatures.” Human beings are called social creatures because we can’t live in isolation. Everyone in the world has relationships with their family, friends, teachers, coworkers, and so on. In fact, our lives can’t be explained without relationships. One theologian even said that every problem is caused by relationships.
Because relationships are so important in our lives, our faith is closely related to the relationships we have. In fact, our faith in Jesus affects all of our relationships—both with God and with others.