Traveling the Romans Road
The closest I have even been to Italy is visiting Olive Garden or munching on my wife’s delicious homemade lasagna, but from what I can gather both of those pale in comparison to the real thing. Ya know, the history, the food, Italian sports cars, and the warm Mediterranean breeze blowing across my shaved head. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? There is, however, another Rome that we all should visit but the majority of the first part of that road is rather bumpy. The book of Romans, an epistle written by the Apostle Paul to the church found in the city it was named after, is an amazing piece of inspiration that should resonate with us today.
The not so peaceful path
Romans starts of with Paul’s greeting to the church and includes the heart warming message that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes, both Jew and Gentile. Good news? You betchya, but from there he quickly paints a bleak picture of the dire straits humanity has found itself mired in that makes salvation necessary. Here are some excerpts:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. – Romans 1:18
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. – Romans 1:21
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, – Romans 1:24
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. – Romans 1:28-31
For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. – Romans 2:12
9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. – Romans 3:9-11
For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. – Romans 3:20
Not a pretty picture is it? It doesn’t have the makings of a heart-warming Hallmark card does it? Not much room for hope and it registers like a negative bazillion on the encouragement scale. We suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness, we turn His truth into a lie, we are all unrighteous and we don’t even seek after God. We cannot even work to please Him. What miserable wretches we are through and through….what hope do we have?
Road Signs Ahead
Here is one thing I am thankful for, the epistle does not stop there. We are not left without hope in our misery.
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, – Romans 3:22-24
Jesus Christ, through faith in Him and the redemption that He has purchased with His perfect sacrifice, has revealed the righteous of God to us. Not our righteousness, not something we have worked for, or deserve. It is not something that comes from within us because we are good enough, smart enough, or because we know the right people.
27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.
28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. – Romans 3:27-28
The signs point to Christ; the only hope for both Jew and gentile.
The Father of the Faithful
” Father Abraham, had many sons. Many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them and so are you, so let’s just praise the Lord. ”
There is much truth in that little verse children often sing. Now, as far as I know I have zero Jewish ancestry, but I am by faith his son. Abraham, was justified by faith before he was circumcised, so that he could be the father of both the circumcised and uncircumcised.
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. – Romans 4:10-12
That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring-not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, – Romans 4:16
By grace through faith we are saved. By grace through faith we are sons of Abraham. By grace through faith we receive the promises of God. By grace through faith we are justified and reckoned righteous. Four little words that change everything. By grace through faith.
We who were at enmity with God, who suppressed His truth, who ran from Him, and were quite literally guilty as sin, after being justified by faith have peace with God through Jesus Christ
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1
The peace of Romans rests on the finished work of Christ, the work that takes sinful wretches and turns them into the offspring of Abraham and inheritors of God’s promises.
Have you found peace with God? Let us know about your experience.