Romans 1: A Practical Theology

While the four Gospels present the works and words of Jesus Christ, Paul’s epistle to the Romans explores the theological significance of His life and death. This letter is the most systematic presentation of theology in the Bible.

But this is more than a theological treatise; it is a practical exhortation. Christianity does not consist merely of facts we must believe, but of a life we must live.

The Gospel in Rome

In the midst of Rome’s defunct polytheism, Christianity provided a practical alternative. Unlike the myriad of Roman rituals, Christianity balances theology with practice, and knowledge with action. However, it does not demand that we do good works out of our own strength. Instead, our walk stems from our wealth in Christ; our practice comes from our position in Him.

The message of Christianity was unique among the Roman pantheon of gods. Those gods were essentially glorified humans, faults and all—and the faults were the gods’ most celebrated attributes. But the God of the Bible is righteous and holy and cannot abide with sin. Unlike those gods, He is moral and demands perfection, leading to the need for the good news of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Salvation

One of the key themes in the book of Romans is that of salvation. It looks at the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and the presence of sin—both for unbelievers and for believers. For those who do not believe, sin reigns and will lead to death. But those who believe in Christ are free from sin. They have the righteousness of Christ and are no longer condemned.

Romans begins with the bad news from the start: Every person, whether Jew or Gentile, has sinned and suppressed the knowledge of God. But this bad news paves the way for the good news of salvation. We need to know our hopeless situation before we can grasp the beauty and glory of God’s mercy.

When our sin is imputed to Christ, and His righteousness is imputed to us, God calls us to a new life. We are to be conformed to the image of Christ more and more every day, living our our faith.

Romans 1: A Practical Theology

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