An Outline of the Book of Romans

Colosseum in Rome
The following is an overview of Romans based on our weekly Sunday Morning Bible Study at Mankato Church of Christ from June-July, 2015.

Paul addresses himself to the Romans and expresses a desire to come see them. (1:1-17)

 No one is justified by works.
The world is a dark place, spiraling downward into sin. (1:18-32)
Even “good, moral people” fall short. (2:1-29)
Being a Jew does have some advantages, but NO ONE has the ability to justify himself to God based on his own merits. (3:1-20)

We are justified by grace through faith in Jesus.
Salvation is made available to us through Jesus Christ. (3:21-5:21)
It is a gracious salvation, it is not deserved. (3:21-5:21)
We access it by faith. (3:21-5:21)
Faith is a trust in God despite discouraging circumstances, and is completed and evidenced by obedience. (4:18-25, James 2:14-26)

We are not only justified, but also sanctified.
This salvation is not merely forgiveness, so that we may continue in sin that grace may abound. It is also comprised of a transformation, as we die to sin and are set free from our slavery to it. (6:1-23)

How and why the Old Law has been done away with.
How can Jews simply lay aside the Old Covenant law code? Because they died to it when they died with Christ, that the law of the Spirit might replace it. (7:1-6)
Are we saying that the law is bad? Not at all, but that sin has used it to ruin us. We are in desperate need of Jesus Christ, not merely the law, to solve this problem. (7:7-25)

Sanctification by the power of the Spirit.
It must remain amply clear that living according to the flesh still leads to death, even under this new covenant. (8:1-13)
Walking not according to the flesh but in righteousness is achieved by following, setting the mind on, and being indwelled by God’s Spirit. It is a matter not merely or rule keeping, but of inward change. (8:1-8:27)

What a glorious plan God has made, that He should justify us to Himself, that Christ Himself would not condemn, that having given us His Son, God would also give us all that we need. (8:26-39)

God is not breaking any promises to Israel.
God always knew that not all Hebrews would be saved, and that the Gentiles would come in, and has spoken accordingly through the prophets. (9:1-33)
The invitation is certainly open to all Jews, since Christ is the fulfillment of Judaism. (10:1-11:6)
Gentiles ought not to be arrogant about this, for though God may use them to make the Jews jealous, He can just as easily remove them from the plan if they display unbelief. (Romans 11:7-36)

Therefore, give your life to God.
In light of this doctrine, your service and your sacrifice to God is to give your life to Him. (12:1-2)

Your relationships with fellow Christians should be mutually edifying. (12:3-13)
You should treat your enemies with kindness rather than revenge. (12:14-21)
You should be in subjection to your government. (13:1-7)
All of your relationships are to be governed by the law: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. (13:8-14)

Do not judge your fellow Christians over matters of personal opinion. (14:1-12)
Avoid causing a brother to stumble by your actions, even if those actions are not inherently sinful. (14:13-23) 

Closing thoughts and reminders
Accept and edify each other. (15:1-12)
Paul’s expression of personal joy at the success of the congregation and the salvation of the gentiles (15:13-21) and reaffirmation that Paul wants to visit. (15:22-33)
Warning about those who cause divisions. (16:17-20)

Greetings to many diverse Christian brethren. (16:1-16, 21-24) 

All glory to God through Jesus Christ. (16:25-27)

Are you a Faithful Christian?

In Revelation 2:10, Jesus tells Christians: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Christians have adopted this concept into our understanding of salvation, and rightly so.  The implication of the verse is that if we are NOT faithful until death, then we will NOT receive the crown of life.  It follows that remaining faithful is part of the salvation process.

But what does it mean to “be faithful until death?” 

I ask because in many cases I’m afraid our concept of “being faithful” has shrunk down to the concept of “coming to church at least occasionally.”  After all, if a baptized believer comes to church regularly, though we know nothing else about them, we may say, “they are a faithful Christian.”  Likewise, when a brother or sister who has been attending ceases to show up on Sunday morning, we say “they used to be faithful, but they have fallen away.”

Please do not misunderstand my point, church attendance is extremely important.  In Hebrews 10:24-25 we are instructed to “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some.”

In addition to this clear Biblical instruction not to forsake the assembly, there is also the fundamental question: why on earth would a member of the body of Christ not yearn with everything that is in them to be encouraged by their brethren, worship their creator, and partake of the Lord’s Supper?  There are certainly situations in which the basic need to provide for the family, or physically debilitating conditions, make regular attendance impossible, and I do not intend to undermine those situations.  Nevertheless, church attendance is important.

But with the importance of church attendance established, let me caution us against assuming that it is the only important factor in “being faithful.” 
Biblical faith is trusting and obeying God unconditionally.  Being unfaithful, then, can manifest itself in any outward disobedient activity that results from a lack of trust.

  • Jesus did not say “if you don’t go to church enough” but rather “”if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:15)
  • Jesus did not say “whoever doesn’t attend worship”, but “whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:33)
  • Jesus did not merely say “he who warmed the pew at least 50% of the time will enter the kingdom of heaven” but “only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
  • Jesus taught that people will be excluded from God’s eternal presence not because “they slept in on Sunday morning” but because “to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” (Matthew 25:45)

God requires not merely an hour from you on Sunday, but your very heart and soul.  By God’s grace may we be reunited some day in heaven, having been faithful until death.

Church Pew