Vol. 7, No. 5
~ Page 14 ~
It is interesting how the Gospel plan of salvation unveils itself throughout the unfolding of the wonderful Book of Romans. Of course, there is much more to be said about the plan; all the books of the New Testament are to have their teachings heeded appropriately, but it is nevertheless good to notice how it unfolds in this particular book.
Chapters 1-2--All the ungodly will suffer God's wrath. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness..." (1:18, emph. mine, AR). All people will experience God's fair judgment (2:6-10).
Chapters 3-4--All are ungodly and need the justification that comes through Christ. (3:10-23, 24-26).
Chapter 5--All can benefit from Christ's reconciling sacrifice. He died for the ungodly (5:8-10). Being justified by his blood, we can be saved from that wrath that would otherwise be toward all impenitent (5:9; cf. 1:18).
Chapters 6-7--All must be baptized into Christ (6:3-6). In doing so, one comes into contact with his saving blood by coming into contact with his death. In doing so, one is buried in the waters of baptism as Christ was buried in the earth. In doing so, one is raised to a new life as Christ was raised to a new life. What a fitting act of obedience. It is the turning point wherein one stops serving sin and starts serving righteousness (6:11-13, 16-18).
Chapter 8--All can be assured of their salvation, if they are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (8:1). The power of Christ to hold onto his is without match (8:35-39). One simply needs to remain faithful.
Chapters 9-11--All the saved are a part of that church, the body, whether Jew or Gentile. The Gentiles were "grafted in" (11:11-25) to the original body of God's people. Now, there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ (compare Galatians 3:28).
Chapters 12-13--All the saved need to behave as people differently from the world. They need to transform themselves from the world, and not be conformed to it (12:1-2). They need to use their gifts for the benefit of the church (12:4-8). They need to obey a host of particulars about attitude and treatment toward one another (12:9-21). They need to be obedient to governmental powers (13:1-7). Love needs to characterize them (13:8-10).
Chapters 14-15--All the saved need to learn to get along with one another, bearing with weak brethren when misunderstandings take place.
Chapter 16--All the saved need to greet each other appropriately. They are all a part of the church, and it is appropriate for those individuals in congregations to send greetings to one another as affectionate brothers and sisters in Christ. Notice all the names given here! It is so lovely to see people dwelling together in the bond of Christ, and to know that people separated by great distances still have the bond of a sacrificial Savior.
Of course, this is a gross oversimplification of the grand Book of Romans. But, perhaps this brief look will help us appreciate more some of the opening verses that have long been regarded as a theme for this treatise:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:16-17).