In this companion I would like to go waist deep into Paul’s overarching purpose for this letter while emphasizing “Inspiring and motivating men to follow Jesus”. There are many wonderful comprehensive commentaries that you can buy for cheap, but my aim is only to serve as a companion to our daily reading.
Paul is writing to a church in a tight spot. They are surrounded by a culture opposed to the monotheistic followers of Jesus. The people they work with and live next to, worship many gods or representations of gods, including Caesar. Paul takes the opportunity to introduce himself and appeals to his motivation for writing the Romans. He desires to encourage and to be encouraged in return as they live in the midst of an opposing culture.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God…
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12 that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Who is righteous? How do we have peace with God? These 2 questions are answered and explained well in the first half of the letter. The righteous will live by faith. This is a quote from Habakkuk 2:4, in which the writer contrasts the righteous and the unrighteous. Paul does the same.
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Paul ends this chapter (remember Paul didn’t put the numbers in for the chapters, that came later) by characterizing those that do not live by faith. His list is exemplified throughout the scriptures. The scriptures that tell about God’s relationship with fallen humanity and Jewish nation, his people. In doing so, he tells that righteousness is more than outward appearances.
As we work up to: “How do we have peace with God?”, Paul will answer many other questions. What gives God the right to judge me? Isn’t what I’m doing enough? Hopefully, this will help you as we continue listening in on Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Paul was called and set apart for the gospel. What purpose does God give to men? Read Genesis 2 to see the purpose given to the first man.
Paul desires to make the church strong. His desire is to encourage the church and it is the same heart shown in the of Brethren of the Feast mission: to inspire and motive men to follow Jesus. What culture or cultures are you surrounded by and how does it impact your faith?
In verse 14, Paul said he was obligated. What did he possess that he was obliged to give? What do you have of value that you are obliged to give?
You are different. You are part of an alternative culture. Paul spends the last part of chapter 1 contrasting his declaration that the righteous will live by faith with sinful humanity. Do not take for granted the impact of living a life for Jesus. Jesus had something of exceeding value that he gave to us; the poor.