Story of the Gospel

Humbled and Justified

Chris Hall


Paul asserts that salvation is exclusively attained through the death of Christ, which can be perceived from multiple perspectives. He emphasises that salvation is obtained solely through faith, reiterating the importance of this concept. He highlights that there is no justification for human arrogance or boasting and that a right understanding of faith is necessary if we are to uphold the law.

Righteousness Through Faith

Chris Hall


All the talk of sin might seem heavy, but it all leads to Paul’s point: we have righteousness through faith in Jesus. This righteousness and forgiveness is available to all who believe in it. As all have sinned and fallen short, all are justified by grace. 

As our righteousness is through faith alone and not by our own efforts, we cannot claim that we are more righteous or godly than anyone else. God justifies all people through faith alone. This justification is a free gift of grace to all who have faith in Jesus, one which we are to praise and thank God for each day. 

A Greater Righteousness

David Walker


God is not like us. He is faithful, true, righteous and good. Some people in Rome were saying that our human sin and unrighteousness was ultimately a good thing as it would serve to highlight God’s goodness and righteousness more. This is not the right way to think!

We can’t earn our righteousness as we have all fallen short, but that’s what makes the Gospel of Jesus such good news for us. Where might we have been misunderstanding or even not realising the weight of our sin in comparison to God’s righteousness?

Circumcision of the Heart

Natalie Worsfold


Circumcision acts as a physical marker for the Jewish people of their covenantal identity: that they are called to be separate from those around them in obedience to God and His law. Paul here is making the case that outward, physical circumcision has no value if it is not partnered with inward obedience, or circumcision of the heart.

God calls us to inward obedience that sets us apart from those around us, more so than any physical act we might do. We are to set our hearts apart in full obedience to Him alone.

Integrity Under the Law

Alyssa Carey


Paul uses the law as a means of exposing the hypocrisy of the Jewish people, which culminates in the final verse of the passage: “Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised.” Ultimately, their outward appearance of obidence does not match up with what is truly going on in their lives.

How does hypocrisy play out in our lives? How does a passage like this challenge our day to day lives? Have we foregone promises we have made with God or with others that undermine our Christian convictions?

Sin and the Law

Natalie Worsfold


God judges impartially. God is concerned with the state of your heart, not the family you were born into. It is your love of God that makes you part of the family of God. Paul speaks to the Jewish people of Rome and reinforces that they are not saved simply because of their national identity but rather their personal identity. Paul is undermining their theology by equalising those who listen but do not obey the law with the gentile people. This unpicking of the 1st-century Jewish thinking helps establish Paul’s argument for salvation by faith in Christ.

The Story of Sin

David Walker


Sin plays a large role over the first three chapters. To understand the concept of grace, we must first get to grips with sin. Here, the big picture story is told of God’s wrath in response to our deliberate “turning away from God”. God’s wrath culminates in the “giv[ing] them over to sinful desires of their hearts”. Although God is both slow and reluctant to execute his wrath, we see it here in the early part of Romans in order to best understand the arguments made later epistle for the greatness of his grace; “it serves as the background to his ‘proper work’ of mercy”.1

From verses 18 to 31, the story depicts a commonly accepted view of the world to the Jewish audience, often as propaganda against the pagan world. However, Paul condemns those who wish to cast judgement on the pagan world, stating they are also worthy of judgement. God does not show partiality in grace, nor in wrath. We are all under God, and to cast judgement on others is futile, for we are all deserving of condemnation.

Not Ashamed for the Gospel

Chris Hall


The chapter starts in a familiar fashion with an introduction of the author, Paul. But in it, there is so much depth. The short introduction is an introduction to the gospel, a succinct explanation of the Christian reality (v1-7). Paul then lays out his intentions to see them face to face and his desire to “impart some spiritual gift to make you strong” (v11). The passage ends with the triumphant proclaiming of Paul’s honour and privilege to be a carrier of the gospel (v16).

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