Paul's Letter to the Romans
Paul's gospel: The message of Jesus as Son of God sent to call everyone to "obedience through faith".
Paul's theology of grace, sin, and repentance:
I. Chapters 1 and 2: How do people know what they should do? What happens when they don't?
1. God is angry when people behave badly.
2. God's ways and wishes are obvious to everyone because God created the world.
3. There will be a last judgment and people will pay for their evil deeds.
4. Everyone will be judged, the Gentile "apart from the law" and the Jew "under the law".
5. It's helpful to have the Torah as guide but only if you live by its rules.
II. Chapter 3: Why the Torah is insufficient for righteousness and the new model for obtaining it
1. Everyone acts badly.
2. The Torah shows humans what to do but none of them can do it, so all it provides is the knowledge of what constitutes wrong-doing.
3. But now God's righteousness has been demonstrated "apart from the law".
4. Since everyone is incapable of acting well, God has provided them with the gift (grace) of righteousness.
5. This gift is obtained by Christ's atoning sacrifice and followers' belief in its power.
6. Faith is more important than actions.
7. Humans cannot save themselves.
III. Chapter 4: Hey, we're all Jews anyway, in a manner of speaking
1. Abraham's belief in God counted as righteousness (since there wasn't a Torah yet) even before his circumcision
2. So in a way, Abraham is the ancestor of all those who believe and aren't circumcised (i.e., Gentiles)
IV. Chapter 5: Justification through faith in Christ
1. Even though we are unworthy, Christ died "for us"
2. Through Jesus's death we are reconciled with God.
3. Why do we need reconciliation?
4. Through Adam "sin" entered the world: sin as a power enslaving humans and causing death.
5. It caused a great rift between humans and God.
6. But through the righteousness of one man, Christ, sin has now been overthrown.
7. In between came the Torah, which could enumerate sins but not cause people not to do them.
8. The more the sins, the greater the grace conferred by God.
V. Chapter 6: Does that mean we can do whatever we want?
1. We are symbolically buried with Jesus so that we might rise as he did into a new life.
2. Death and resurrection a metaphor for "doing things the old way" and the possibility of a new model for living.
3. This is the meaning of baptism.
4. Christians are dead to sin and must live blameless lives
5. Christians are also "dead to the law"
VI. Chapter 7: Does that mean the law causes sinfulness?
1. Law = knowledge of bad behavior (sin)
2. Law is good, and tells you what you should do
3. But something in us is predisposed to act badly anyway
4. So, even though the law is good, it leads to "sin and death"