PAUL SENT THIS LETTER from Corinth during his third missionary journey. He hoped to come to Rome (15:22–29), but when he eventually came it was as a prisoner to await trial before the Emperor Nero (see Acts 28:17–20).

Romans is Paul’s magnificent summary of the way God’s righteousness is shown in the death of Jesus Christ; how salvation is by God’s grace, and is dependent on faith, not on the works of the law; and that it is available to Gentiles as well as Jews.

Israel in God’s Purpose

Now that the Law of Moses has been fulfilled, some were asking “has God rejected his people?” (11:1). With obvious emotion, Paul points out that the Jews, if they believe, are most certainly still within God’s purpose —‘to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises’ (9:4). Using the symbol of an olive tree, Paul shows how some of the “natural” branches (Israel) have been broken off, and “wild shoots” (Gentiles, that is non-Jews) grafted in—but he adds that the natural branches can still be grafted in again. ‘Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity towards those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off’ (11:22).

The later chapters give sound advice about discipleship, including the relation of believers to the state in which they live and its laws (for example 13:1–7).

Norman Owen

By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:

  • Romans 2:5–10; 14:10–12—see 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1.
  • Romans 3:4—see Psalm 51:4; Luke 18:19.
  • Romans 6:3–4—see Acts 22:16; Galatians 3:27.

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