The Book of Romans was written by the apostle Paul from the city of Corinth in approximately AD 56. At the time of his writing, he had yet to visit Rome, though he greatly desired to do so. It was not until approximately AD 61 that he was able to “visit” Rome, and then, only as a prisoner under house arrest for two years. He was released in AD 63 and finally was rearrested and executed there in AD 68.
This grandest of Paul’s epistles, teaches us many great lessons, but perhaps the greatest principle it teaches us is the fact that man is justified by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul’s main focus in writing this epistle to the church at Rome is to emphasize this point. The doctrine of justification is developed throughout the first eleven chapters of the book. The remainder of the book deals with our life as a Christian, once we have been justified. Romans chapter 1 begins with Paul’s introduction and with an inspiring statement about the Gospel’s power for salvation. Paul then goes into great detail throughout the entire book to expound upon the Gospel’s good news of salvation and justification by faith in Jesus Christ.
Justification Is Necessary: Chapters 1-4
After Paul gives his opening address, he gets right down to business with the remainder of chapter 1 to show how the Gentiles are in sin and are in need of justification and salvation. Having established that the Gentiles are in sin, Paul in chapter 2 goes on to explain that the Jews also are in condemnation and in sin because of their unbelief in the Gospel. In chapter 3, Paul concludes that no one is righteous, if they are seeking justification on their own terms. He states that all have sinned, both Jews and Gentiles, and that all mankind is in need of justification on because of their sins.
The Jew’s religion (at this point it was no longer the religion of God) had devolved into a system of salvation by works. They believed that in the...