The book of Romans is considered to be one of the most
doctrinally important books of the scripture. It is
written by the Apostle Paul, who was well educated in the
Mosaic law. The Apostle Paul was, "Circumcised the
eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of
Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a
Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching
the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Phil.
3:5-6), and educated at the "feet of Gamaliel" (Acts 22:3).
He would be what we would call today a prosecuting attorney
for he was sent out by the High Priest to prosecute the
church (Acts 9:1-2). In fact, Paul was so intelligent
that the Apostle Peter wrote warning people of how difficult
his writings were (2 Pet. 3:15-16). We should take
heed to this warning and take great care in understanring the
writings of the Apostle Paul. After all, with his
great education in the Mosaic law, we need to understand his
writings in light of the Mosaic law.
Chapter one opens up with a traditional salutation.
This book is written by, "Paul, a servant of
Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated
unto the gospel of God" (Rom. 1:1-2). It
is written, "Concerning [God's] Son Jesus Christ
our Lord . . . By whom we have received grace and
apostleship" (Rom. 1:3-6). It was written,
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called
to be saints" (Rom. 1:7). Paul then
thanks God for them and their faith (Rom. 1:8-12), and then mentions his debt to both Jew and Greek
alike (Rom. 1:13-16).
Righteousness is Revealed: (Romans 1:17-31)
After mentioning his debt, Paul starts out with the
main point of the first few chapters,"For therein is the
righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written, The just shall live by faith"
(Rom. 1:17). God's righteousness is revealed
from "faith to faith" since the beginning of time.
Righteousness has never been by the works of the
law, but by faith. Paul quotes an Old
Testament prophet to support this by saying,
"the just shall live by faith" (Hab. 2:4).
Righteousness has always come by faith, but wrath
comes by the law. "For the wrath of God is
revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in
unrighteousness" (Rom. 1:18). And why did
this wrath come, "Because that which may be
known of God is manifest in them; for God hath
shewed it unto them" (Rom. 1:19). They
received God's wrath because God was manifest in
them by creation itself (Rom. 1:20). This
wrath came because though, "they knew God, they
glorified him not as God" (Rom. 1:21-23).
result of their actions is that, "God also gave
them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their
own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between
themselves" (Rom. 1:24) and unto "vile
affections" (Rom. 1:26). The uncleanness
homosexuality, and a whole list of others (Rom.
1:26-27, Rom. 1:29-31). This was given as a,
"recompense of their error which was meet."
The Greek word for "recompense" is antimisthia,
which means "requital, correspondence: - recompense"
(Strong's Concordance - G489). This is a legal
term that means, "a return or compensation for a
good or bad action" (The Free Dictionary
Online). They were getting what they deserved.
God gave them over to these vile affections because
of their own actions.
The reason for this is that they, "[knew] the
judgment of God, that they which commit such things
are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have
pleasure in them that do them" (Rom. 1:32).
This is an example of the judgment of God, which
always comes through the law. Those Paul is
writing of obviously understood God's law, but did
not practice His law. This brought upon them
the curses from the law, which are listed in Rom.
1:26-31. A simple study of the law of God will
reveal that the curses that God will bring upon
someone for not following His law are the same as
Paul listed here in Romans chapter one. For
example, Paul said God will make us prideful (Rom.
1:30); God's penal clause said He, "will break
the pride of your power" (Lev. 26:19).
Paul said God would turn them over unto
"fornication" (Rom. 1:29); God's penal clause
said we will, "betroth a wife, and another man
shall lie with her" (Deut. 28:30). Paul
said they would be "without understanding"
(Rom. 1:31), but the Psalms teach that, "a good
understanding have all they that do his
commandments" (Psalm 111:10). A study of
the penalties of the Mosaic law compared to the list
Paul provides clearly shows that this is a result of
the curse of the law. Each one is either a
direct curse or the result of a curse from God's
law. Those Paul is speaking of are receiving
exactly as the law promised. In fact, the next chapter plainly tells
The Judgment of God: (Romans 2:1-10)
Romans chapter two, Paul makes the point that we need to be
careful of what we judge. It is
"inexcusable" when we judge another, because we
are guilty of the same (Rom. 2:1). When we
judge others we are condemning ourselves because we
are guilty as well, but, "the judgment of God is
according to truth against them which commit such
things" (Rom. 2:2). Paul clarifies his
position later in chapter twelve when he says,
"avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto
wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will
repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19). It
is not our place to judge another, but God is the
Judge of all people. This, however, does not
mean there is nothing we should do when we are
wronged. There is a way we can affect a remedy
according to the Mosaic law. The Messiah
clearly taught to confront our brother if he
"trespass against thee" (Matt. 18:15). We
are to go to him by ourselves. If he does not
repent we are to bring one or two with us as
"witnesses" (Deut. 19:15, Matt. 18:16). If
he still does not repent, even after the church has
heard the matter, he is to become as a "heathen"
unto you. The purpose of this is to allow for
repentance, which the Mosaic law endorses.
properly understood, the Mosaic law allows for
repentance. The Mosaic law works very similar
to our court system. When a trespass was made
against someone, that person could take them to
court (or the Temple - Ex. 18:21-22). However,
this was not necessary if the brother would turn in
repentance, which is what the Messiah was speaking
of in Matt. 18:15-17. God even said the same
when He said, "For I desired mercy, and not
sacrifice" (Hos. 6:6). When someone was
brought to the Temple before the rulers of Israel,
the party with the grievance would owe a heave
offering as payment for their service, and the party
who was found guilty would owe a sacrifice.
God, when He said he desired, "mercy, and not
sacrifice" was saying he wanted His people to
forgive each other their trespasses, but repentance
was always first. For more on how the
sacrificial system works please watch my
Those that, "judgest them which do such things,
and doest the same" will not escape the
judgment of God (Rom. 2:3). This is the same
as despising, "the riches of his goodness
and forbearance and longsuffering" (Rom. 2:4). If
God is "longsuffering" towards our sin, shouldn't we
be "longsuffering" towards our brother's sins?
The result of God's "goodness" is that it leads to
"repentance" (Rom. 2:4). This should be our
goals as well. Our goodness and longsuffering
towards our brother, especially when we have been
wronged, is designed to lead them to repentance.
Instead of taking our brother immediately to
court/temple, we should seek them out and give them
the opportunity to repent first. Going to
court/temple should always be a last resort.
If our, "hardness and impenitent heart" leads us to
judge our brother, we are building up wrath for
ourselves on the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5, 8-9).
After all, there is a day coming where God will,
"render to every man according to his deeds" (Rom.
2:6) and to those who, "by patient continuance in
well doing seek for glory and honour and
immortality" He will give eternal life (Rom. 2:7,
The Importance of Doing the Law: (Romans 2:11-29)
This next section is hard for most people to accept.
Keep in mind, the main point is that God is not a
respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11). Why, because,
"as many as have sinned without law shall also
perish without law: and as many as have sinned in
the law shall be judged by the law" (Rom.
2:12). God is a just judge and will judge all
accordingly. Whether you knew the law, or not,
God's judgment will be righteous. "For not
the hearers of the law are just before God, but the
doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom.
2:13). It does not matter whether or not you
knew God's law, what matters is that you practiced
God's law. We are still expected to practice
the law of God today. Just as James said,
"be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving your own selves" (James 1:22).
The example given is a Gentile who did the things of
the law. This demonstrated that they have the
law in their hearts (Rom. 2:14-15). "In
the day when God shall judge the secrets of men"
(Rom. 2:16), these Gentiles will be judged as having
followed God's law. But the Jew, that rests in
the law, and has been instructed in the law, and
teaches the law, and has the knowledge of the law,
does not teach the law to themselves and dishonors
God (Rom. 2:17-23). Though they know the law,
they do not practice the law and "the name of
God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through [them]"
(Rom. 2:24). The Jews who know the law, but
don't practice the law, blashpeme God through their
disobedience. The Gentile who does not know
the law, but still practiced those things that were
in the law, shall be judged as one who has the law
in their hearts.
"For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep
the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy
circumcision is made uncircumcision" (Rom.
2:24). Though circumcision is one of the laws
of God, and should be followed, this is not the only
requirement necessary to practice God's law.
Circumcision is a sign of the Mosaic Covenant.
This was a decision that the parents made on the
eighth day of the child's life and not a decision
that was made as an adult. Just because your
parents made this decision for you does not make you
a follower of God's law. Once you become of
age you need to practice this law on your own.
You can no longer rely on your parent's decision for
you. If, as an adult, you choose not to follow
God's law, your circumcision will be counted as
uncircumcision (Rom. 2:25). The same is true
for the uncircumcised. If, though not raised
in God's law, an uncircumcised chooses to do what is
written in God's law, his uncircumcision will be
counted as circumcision (Rom. 2:26). "For
he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is
that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh;
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and
circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit,
and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men,
but of God" (Rom. 2:27-28). This calls to
memory how Israel got it's first king. The
people chose a man named Saul, who was impressive in
his appearance, but God picked a man named David,
who was impressive in his heart. God told
Samuel, "Look not on his countenance, or on the
height of his stature; because I have refused him:
for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh
on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on
the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7). This principle
has not changed. God still looks upon our
heart, and not our outward appearance, even when
considering His law.
This brings up an interesting point concerning God's
law. Circumcision is definitely a law of God
and should be followed, but the law specifically
said to do so on the eighth day (Gen. 17:12, Lev.
12:3). Is a Gentile, who was not circumcised
on the eighth day, required to get circumcised as an
adult? After all, Abraham was circumcised as
an adult (Gen. 17:24) and Joshua, "circumcise[d]
again" all the adult males at God's order (Josh.
5:2). This question was answered in Acts 15.
There were those among the
Jews who believed circumcision and keeping the law
was necessary for salvation (Acts
15:5). The Apostles and elders came together to
discuss this matter (Acts
15:6). The answer to the question was
given by Peter in
Acts 15:7-11. The proof of the Gentile's
salvation before circumcision is that of the Holy
15:8). The Holy Spirit was the evidence of
their salvation, which they had. Why then
should they, "tempt God" and put a, "yoke
upon the neck of the disciples, which neither
[their] fathers nor [they] were able to bear" (Acts
15:10)? James stood up to answer this
question by citing the Prophets (Acts
15:14-18) and concluding, "trouble not them,
which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But
that we write unto them, that they abstain from
pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from
things strangled, and from blood" (Acts
15:19-20). James, being level headed,
suggested not to start the Gentiles off with
circumcision, but with the idolatry laws, adultery
laws, and dietary laws. It is not that
circumcision is a bad thing, but was specifically to
be done on the eighth day. One could argue,
since this day was missed, when should they do so as
an adult? The scripture is not clear. If
an adult wants to do so, perhaps it should be
considered a private matter and no one else's
business. The adult in question should make up
his own mind and we should not judge their decision.
Some have argued that since Joshua circumcised the
uncircumcised adult males to prepare them for
passover (Josh. 5:8-10), new converts should be
allowed one passover without being circumcised, then
the next one they are to be circumcised. This
gives each male the time to make this personal
decision, but I find it hard to make a strong
argument for this from scripture, though it does
offer a solution. Either way, I don't see it
as anyone's business but the male in question, and I
doubt anyone will be checking all males during
The book of Romans can be very complicated.
Paul spends much time explaining righteousness,
judgment, the law, justification, sanctification,
etc. His purpose is not to get rid of any of
them, but rather to put them in their proper place.
Each topic throughout this book is a valid topic of
the scriptures, but has not been understood in the
proper context. Paul is trying to clarify
their context and put them in the right place. To continue this study
in Romans chapter three please click