ROMANS: THE GOSPEL OF GRACE
The apostle Paul had been preaching the gospel given to him directly from the Lord Jesus Christ for over 20 years. He had undergone imprisonments, beatings, stonings as well as suffering hardships such as hunger, shipwreck and the constant concern for the churches he had planted. During all this time he had been faithful to his calling to preach the gospel of grace to the Gentiles of the known world. He had planted churches in many of the leading cities of the Eastern half of the roman Empire. However, as Paul looked at the strategic mission of reaching everyone, he began to look at the Western portion of the Roman Empire. He desired to go to Spain (as far west as anyone in the Empire knew existed at that time) to plant churches there. Before heading out all the way to Spain, Paul wanted to stop and minister in Rome. Why Rome? It was the center of the Empire and the capitol of the world. Nothing compared to Rome in prominence and importance and so to ensure that the church which he had heard existed but never visited was on firm footing, Paul wanted to spend some time in Rome. Christians in the Western part of the Roman Empire could use Rome as as a base of missionary work as Paul and the early Christians had used Antioch in the Eastern side of the Empire. He hoped to build up the church in Rome through discipleship as well as evangelize while there and win some souls to further the mission of that church.
Paul had been conducting a lengthy campaign to raise money for the poor Christians in Jerusalem. This would further the cause of bridging the gap between the ethnic Jews and the Gentiles in the new faith being called Christianity. He had finished the collection from the Gentile churches and was on his way to Jerusalem to deliver the funds after which he planned to make his way to Rome and spend some time there before proceeding to Spain. However, before boarding the ship to Jerusalem, Paul caught wind of a plot to assassinate him by the Jews. Fearing that he might not make it to Rome in person, Paul wrote the letter to the Romans. It was an introduction of who he was and why he wanted to visit them but it was also an insurance policy. In case Paul didn't make it from Corinth to Jerusalem alive, this letter would detail the purpose of his life - the gospel of grace of Jesus Christ.
The letter to the Romans is Paul's magnum opus on the gospel, what it is and what it does. There is no more comprehensive discussion of the gospel, it's need and impact than in Romans. It is a blazing testament to the doctrine of Justification by Faith in Jesus Christ. With the exception of the doctrine of the church and the doctrine of end times, Romans touches all the other major doctrines of the Christian faith. Paul wanted to make sure that in case he didn't make it to Rome, the message of his life would make it intact and the gospel could be defended and spread from the Western side of the Roman Empire. Now, we are going to be studying this mighty book of the Bible. I hope you will join us for each and every session but in case you cannot, I am going to provide links to my notes for each session at the bottom of this page. If you know anyone who is still on the journey to coming to know Christ, this is an excellent study for you to bring them to. Spoiler Alert: We know from Acts that Paul indeed did make it to Rome.