Studies in Romans
In our studies in Romans we find that the theme of the epistle is found in the first chapter put in a few words, the gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation. It is to both Jew and gentile, and has been made known to all through the works of God. The condition of men who have refused to learn of God is then described.
The second chapter shows us that at heart all are the same; that all are to be judged by one and the same standard; and that knowledge and high profession do not in themselves recommend any one to God. Obedience to God’s law is the only mark of an Israelite indeed and an heir of God.
The third chapter emphasizes the preceding points, and especially that there are no obedient ones. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” But there is nevertheless hope for all, because the righteousness of the law is put within and upon all who believe in Christ, so that a man is made a doer of the law by faith. One God justifies both Jews and Gentiles alike through faith. Faith is not a substitute for obedience to the law, but insures the doing of it.
The fourth chapter we have Abraham set forth as an illustration of righteousness gained by faith. We learn also that faith in Christ’s death and resurrection is the only way by which to inherit the promise to the fathers, which promise embraced nothing less than the possession of the earth made new. The blessing of Abraham is the blessing that comes by the cross of Christ. And since the promise to Israel was only the repetition of the promise to Abraham, we learn that Israel consists of those in every nation who gain the victory over sin through the cross of Christ.
Abounding love and grace, and salvation through the life of Christ, may serve as the barest outline of chapter 5.
New creatures in Christ may serve to bring to the mind of the faithful reader the main thought of the sixth chapter. It sets forth death, burial, resurrection, and life with Christ.
In the seventh chapter we learn how close is the union between Christ and believers. They are married to him, so that they are “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” The struggles by which freedom is secured from the first husband the body of sin, are vividly portrayed.
The eighth chapter, the crown of the book, describes the blessings of the freeborn son of God. The hope of future immortality is the actual possession, through the Spirit, of the present life and glory of Christ. Those who are in Christ are predestined to eternal glory. Studies in Romans E.J. Wagonner “The Signs of the Times 1896-1897”