General Idea: The Benediction; Paul then wraps up his greetings and warnings by praying for the Church, as he extols them to honor God's glory. This is a beautiful poetic discourse of blessings to his fellow laborers in Christ with gratitude and praise to God!
A. This passage is a Benediction, which means a pronouncement of a blessing. This was a very important act in Biblical times; a blessing is a powerful event that people look forward to, and that has deep meanings and implications associated with it. This passage is an especially long one, which causes a stir among scholars who debate over its authenticity. (That I believe is silly. They apparently just do not have anything better to do!)
1. V. 25: The word "establish" is only used twice in Romans, the other being at the beginning (1:11). Paul expresses a desire to visit the Romans that he might impart some "spiritual gift" to them so that they would be "established."
2. Now he praises God who is able to do it! God used the gospel, which is the preaching of Jesus Christ, to establish the Roman believers.
a. My gospel is not a different gospel from Paul or anyone else, but refers to how Paul received it by direct revelation (Gal 1:12).
b. Paul speaks of his message as a "mystery" (11:25; Eph. 3:2-12) because God's complete plan of salvation was at first hidden but now is being revealed; all are united in the one body of Christ (Eph. 3:1-13). This also was an answer for the Jewish Romans who debated whether the Gentiles should receive the Gospel. This would thereby unite the Jew with the Gentile and fulfill the Abrahamic blessing in Gen. 12.
c. V. 27. to God be glory is the ultimate purpose and meaning of all things we do!
B. One of our chief goals in the Christian faith is to find our Gifts and Call, and then do it in faith and obedience, all with joy and passion!
C. What more could be said? "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which we have kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen."
To Know Christ and make Him Known!
1. Do you like mysteries? What about the mystery in the Word?
2. Have you ever received a formal blessing from someone such as a Priest or a Father? If so, how did you feel?
3. What did you think about the Gospel of Romans? Was it a "mystery" to you before this study? (Many people fear it, thinking it is too complicated or too hard to understand)
4. Do you feel you have learned enough to better understand God, His truth, and who you are in Christ?
5. Do you feel confident enough to explain His truth to people who ask you?
6. Do you think theology is important? Why, or why not?
7. How can you establish your faith better and deeper?
8. Is the Gospel your Gospel?
9. Why is to God be the glory the ultimate purpose and meaning for all things we do?
10. When you are going through either good times or bad, are you able to praise God who is able to do it?
11. Now that you have studied Romans, what is your chief goal in your Christian faith? Has it changed from before? Solidified? Or…?
12. For your final application, reread the entire book in an easy to understand translation such as the New Living Translation. If you can, try to read it in one setting or at least in one day. Does it read better now for you since you have studied it? Do you see truth that you had missed? Has God spoken to you through His Word? If so, what are you going to do about it now?
To Know Christ and Make Him Known!
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Theological Thought: Why is Theology Important? Many Christians today are proclaiming that theology is not important or needed; all we need to do is to love Jesus. We have a big problem in the church today as doctrine disappears from the pulpit and the airways, and is replaced by what "feels good" or what we feel is needed. When theology disappears from the church and its leaders, we will have a "free for all" of what we think is truth. All that will accomplish is dishonesty, and an erosion of His conviction. The situation will be created where God takes a backseat to the god of the self as the central focus of our faith, and that will carve a road to hell. We as a church, or as a single practicing Christian, will be unable to think wisely about our culture, who we are in Christ, or who He is and what He did. Instead, we will take in what feels good, leaving God and His ways behind us. We will be reveling in the irrational, while Christ stands at the door and knocks Because of the noise of our Will, we will not open the door!
So, is it true all we have to do is love Jesus? Who is Jesus? Once you ask the question, "who is God," you have ventured into theology. As Christians, we are not to start our faith as theologians, nor replace faith with theology. We do not start out as Calvinists or Armenians, whatever theological system of the day or of your church. We must start with accepting God as Lord and Savior. In so doing, we accept God's Word. Through His Word, we divine His truth and means. This is what theology is! It is not the necessary, the starting, or the ending. It is the understanding and the application of His truth. If you say theology is not important, then God is not important, because theology is studying and knowing and understanding God, who He is, His attributes, and such. To deny theology necessitates denying God too!
Remember, Paul wrote the Gospel of Romans under the interspersion and directive of God to proclaim the truth of who Christ was and is. In so doing, he explained the plan of salvation, the role of the church, the inclusion of the Gentile world, and the importance of sharing our faith. Thus, our study of this book is very important as the foundation for our knowledge of doctrine and truth. This is theology! Understanding the Bible is theology!
A church without theology is a church without God, as theology is about knowing who God is and what He has done for us! A theology without a sovereign God is simply not an option for the church or our daily faith, because we will replace Him with idols, (anything that takes the place of God, from a totem pole to money, is an idol) or ourselves!
Therefore, theology, good theology, is a logical system of truth that is rationally defused from what the Scriptures clearly teach. We are never to read in what is not there or just believe in something because that is how we grew up or have been taught. We begin as Bible believing Christians who crave to put the Bible first and above all desires, feelings, or schemes of thought.
Over the years, through many years of learning and struggle, I have slowly accepted the Calvinistic teachings on the five points of T.U.L.I.P as Biblical and therefore true. I did not start out that way. I was firmly an Armenian and Holiness for many years, even through seminary. Only after years of study, especially in the book of Romans, have I yielded to the Reformed Method of understanding. Not because I grew up in it, which I did, not because I went to a Reformed seminary, which I did, but because of coming face to face with truth by deepening my conviction, and by careful study of God's Word. This quest has not been without fellow truth seekers, others of diverse backgrounds who sought the truth and came to the same conclusion. These include Augustine, Luther, Tyndale, Latimer, Knox, Wishart, Perkins, Rutherford, Bunyan, Owen, Charnock, Goodwin, Flavel, Watson, Henry, Watts, Edwards, Whitefield, Newton, Spurgeon, and of course Calvin. For more information, see my article on "Calvinism from the Critics."
© 1998, 2002 R.J. Krejcir Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.com