Having told us about the gospel we now see the dear apostle Paul on his knees. I am writing to you, he says, but I want you to know that I never cease to pray for you and thank God for you. The reason for his thanksgiving was that the Roman Christians were not only saved but they let everybody know that they were. Paul had never seen them but wherever he went, he heard about them and this caused him to thank God for them, (vs………).
He calls God to witness that he always remembered them and mentioned them in his prayers. When he thought of them he longed to see them and asked God to prosper his journey to them.
Three Things He Desired For Them By His Coming To Them
The first was to share with them all the rich gifts he had received from God, thus he wanted them to be established in the faith. He also desired that together they should be comforted by each other’s faith. He would not only bring them a blessing when he came, they would be a blessing to him as well, (vs……….).
Now he had many a time purposed coming to them but was hindered. The obstacles, however, had not changed his purpose. He felt under obligation to them and he was ready to discharge the debt he owed them (vs……….). He would preach the gospel in Rome also. He loved to tell the gospel story. He was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Why should he be, “for it was the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (vs……….). Now believing is different from working. The law said “do” but it never enabled the sinner to do what it demanded. In the gospel, God provides for the sinner His own righteousness, and it is ours in believing. As we travel through this letter, we will notice that its great theme, is
“How Can A Guilty Sinner Be Justified Before A Righteous God?”
Job asked many years ago, “How should man be just with God?” Job 9 vs………., and Bildad the Shuhite asks in ch. 25 vs. ………, “How then can a man be justified with God?” The gospel answers the question. We find it in this gospel according to Paul, “The just shall live by faith.” vs………
We now reach the first main division of the epistle. We have stood in the vestibule when we were introduced to the writer and the ones to whom he is writing and we have also learned something about his subject. As we read this section from Chap. 1:18—3:20 we notice that it can be likened to
A Great Court Room
for the whole world is arraigned before the Judge. They stand before the bar of God in the supreme court of heaven when the final verdict is given. The world is divided into three groups—The ungodly sinners, the moral sinners and the religious sinners. Here we have the first. We notice the room is draped in black. “The wrath of God” vs…….. and these words “Worthy of death” vs……..being the two boundaries of this repellent picture. Here we have all the heathen gathered, sunken deep in sin, with the clouds of wrath over their heads and the gloom of death ahead, how sad is their condition. They are fit subjects for the demonstration of the power of the Gospel. “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another” (Titus 3:………).
There are four things we notice with regard to this vast number of “down and out” sinners
1st—They are under the wrath of God—vs. 18.
2nd—They are without excuse—vs. 19, 20.
3rd—They have sunk into the depths of idolatry—vs. 21-23.
4th—They were unrestrained in their course to ruin— vs. 24-32.
We will look at these one by one.
1. Fill in all blank references.
2. Why did Paul desire to see the Christians at Rome?
3. What great difference between the law and the gospel is pointed out in this lesson?
4. What does God provide for the sinner in the gospel?
5. How can we make this great gift our own?