As Paul begins his letter to the Romans, he makes his purpose clear—his desire is to unite the church, both Jew and Gentile, through the gospel. Their understanding of the good news about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection is vital to their growth as believers and effectiveness as the body of Christ in the world.
In this passage, Paul begins his exposition of the gospel by first deconstructing the misplaced hopes of both the Gentiles and the Jews in his audience. We, also, must realize that our hope cannot be in our culture’s narrative of personal freedom or our drive to make things right. The only true hope that brings freedom and life is in the finished work of Jesus Christ and submitting joyfully to his authority.
As Paul addresses the Jews of the early Roman church, he exposes their false righteousness. They identify more with the law and their holy history as God’s chosen people than with the person and work of Jesus. This misplaced hope and identity obscures the gospel, limits their unity with other believers, inhibits their ministry, and perpetuates hypocrisy. We must examine our hearts and be sure our identity is solely in the saving work of Christ rather than any other source of righteousness.
In this passage, Paul reinforces the sinful nature of all humanity. However, he also pivots to the hope we have in Jesus. In his mercy, God has made a way for mankind to be made right with him through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. We must be willing to abandon our systems of worth and false righteousness and place our faith in Christ alone to receive the saving grace of the gospel.
Paul continues undermining the overconfidence of the Jewish believers in Rome, showing them through Abraham’s example that saving grace comes through faith alone. Just as the Jews cannot trust in circumcision or the law, so we also must abandon any form of false righteousness. Instead, like Abraham, our faith in Christ should be personal, contrary, and unwavering.
In this passage, Paul unpacks the hope we have in Jesus. While we were his enemies, God made a way for us to be reconciled to him through the sacrificial death of his Son. When we embrace this reality through faith, we have strength to endure trials, rejoice in the face of difficulties, and look forward with confident hope to a future glory with God.
Adam’s sin brought death to all of us, and we live in the reality of a broken world. However, through God’s gracious gift, Jesus has conquered the power of death and gives us the opportunity, through faith, to be made right with God and live in freedom and hope in the new reality of his grace.
In this passage, Paul addresses one of the great tensions for the believer. While we are dead to sin’s power and alive in Christ, we still live in a fallen world and struggle with sin. Paul encourages believers to engage this idea with hope, choosing to give ourselves to righteous living and resting in the truth that Jesus’ death empowers a journey of life change.
As Paul continues to explain how a believer is transformed by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, he unpacks the role of the law. While the law is good and holy, it serves to highlight our natural depravity and powerlessness before sin. Only through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can we experience life change and gain victory over sin. We not only have the ability but great power to live out a life of obedience.
One of the great themes in Romans is the choice we all must make—will we be controlled by sin or righteousness? In this passage, Paul is clear that believers are no longer under condemnation when they choose life in Christ. This is a daily choice to die to self, turn from sin, and submit to the direction of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As members of the body of Christ, we can expect to share in the sufferings of Jesus. We also know that one day, we will share in his glory. This creates tension between our present sufferings and future splendor. Only by the Holy Spirit in us can we endure the tension, cling to hope, and be moved towards glory.
In this passage, Paul reminds us of the assurance of our salvation and sanctification. No matter the depth of our pain and suffering, we are "more than conquerors" through Christ who loves us and gave himself for us. Whatever this life brings, we can endure with real hope trusting that God is, and will always be, for us and for our good.
We often approach Romans 9 with a list of questions regarding God’s justice and sovereignty, but Paul’s goal for this passage is to highlight God’s power and redemptive purpose, which has always been to extend mercy to a broken and sinful world. He reminds us that God is far above our understanding and calls us to humble ourselves under his sovereignty. Even in the midst of our questions, we can trust God’s good character, receive the mercy he gives freely, and devote our lives to following Christ.
The relationship between sovereignty and responsibility often creates tension in our convictions about humanity and fairness. Instead of inviting us to understand, God simply asks us to trust. Although he has sent this message of salvation countless times to the Jews, they have rejected him, clinging to their own way of getting right with God. Paul makes it clear that anyone who calls on him, including Gentiles, will be saved.
Continuing his argument from the last two chapters, Paul expounds on God’s trustworthiness. Not only has God faithfully preserved a remnant of believing Jews, but in his kindness, he has grafted Gentiles into his salvation story. As Gentiles, Paul warns us not to be arrogant, because just as Israel was cut off for their lack of trust, we too should be wary of hard hearts. Our focus and confidence should be in God's abounding grace and ability to fully accomplish his promise to bring people to himself.
In this passage, Paul urges believers to respond in worship with self-sacrificing obedience to the mercy shown to us through Jesus Christ. Romans 12 calls us to a counter-cultural, changed life—one that is renewed by the truth of Scripture, serves the body of Christ through unique gifts, is devoted to Christ and his church, and faithfully serves the Lord in all things.
Following through the end of chapter 12, Paul compellingly illustrates what our lives will look like when we genuinely offer them as holy sacrifices. In verses 9–13, he describes how we can actively give of ourselves in relation to others, and verses 14–21 provide a framework for how we should relate to those who oppose us. He reminds us that because of the mercy God has so graciously provided, we can love others without hypocrisy, trust God’s perfect justice when we are offended, and conquer evil by doing good in the world.
In this passage, Paul encourages believers to live in submission to God by yielding to human authorities, loving our neighbors as we love ourselves, and throwing off any works of darkness that hinder us from living in the light of Christ in anticipation of his return.
In this passage, Paul calls for unity in the church despite differing nonessential opinions. For the weak in faith, those still trusting in religious systems, Paul encourages them to not impose their convictions on others. For the strong, those who feel freedom in Christ, he encourages them to accept, not correct, the weak and to be willing to sacrifice their freedoms to avoid causing spiritual harm to another. United by our desire to honor Christ, we can live in harmony with each other by setting aside judgment and laying down our rights for the benefit of others.
In this passage, Paul reflects on what he has shared with the Roman believers and on his future plans. He encourages them to be strong in their faith, give generously to fellow believers, support his mission to spread the gospel, and trust God in all things.
At the end of his letter to the believers at Rome, Paul lists the names of many who have come alongside him and poured their lives into the mission of God’s kingdom. Through their acts of generosity, risk, and sacrifice, they embody what it means to be engaged in discipleship. We should likewise be giving our lives away for others in the context of the local church.
These daily readings will help prepare you for the upcoming teaching you will hear this weekend at Grace Church. These passages will create some context for the sermon by showing you Scriptures the teacher might be quoting and some passages that contain related ideas. Our hope is that as you follow this reading plan, it will help you become more defined and directed by Scripture.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.
...give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.
WEEK 1: Opening Salutation, Prayer, and Purpose
WEEK 2: Darkened, Shamed, and Deprived of Truth
WEEK 3: False Righteousness
WEEK 4: God's Covenant Justice
WEEK 5: God's Promise and Our Faith
WEEK 6: Reconciled by His Death, Saved by His Life
WEEK 7: The Reign of Grace
WEEK 8: From Death to Life
WEEK 9: The Law and Sin
WEEK 10: In Christ: No Condemnation
WEEK 11: In Christ: Coming Glory
WEEK 12: In Christ: United
WEEK 13: In Christ: Elected
WEEK 14: The Mercy of God
WEEK 15: Judgment and Mercy
WEEK 16: Gifts and Service
WEEK 17: Enemies and Vengeance
WEEK 18: Submission and Love
WEEK 19: Seeking Unity Through Love
WEEK 20: A Gospel Ambition
WEEK 21: On Mission Together