Romans 1 - Introduction:
The subject matter of the Sixth Chapter of Romans, as given to us by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, is without a doubt the single most important teaching in the entirety of the Word of God, as it regards victorious Christian living. In fact, it is impossible for the Believer to live a consistent, overcoming Christian life, victorious over the world, the flesh, and the Devil, without properly understanding the Sixth Chapter of Romans. Tragically, precious few Christians understand this Chapter.
HOW TO LIVE FOR GOD
Less than one percent of the Bible is given over to the great principle of “How to be Saved.” To be sure, what is given on this all-important subject is clear, concise, and to the point (Jn. 3:16; 7:37–38; 10:10; Rom. 10:9–10, 13; Rev. 22:17; etc.). That means over ninety-nine percent is given to us, as it regards instructions, on how to live for God once we have given our hearts to the Lord. In fact, it doesn’t really take much to be saved. The Holy Spirit through Paul said, “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Of course, in that is incorporated the principle of believing on Christ (Rom. 10:11).
But once a person gives their heart to Christ, then the task of properly living for God becomes the all-important aspect of life and living. The Bible deals with this in every capacity, taking us step by step through progressive revelation, until we come to the finished work. One might say, and be Scripturally correct, that all the teaching of the Word of God, as it regards victorious living, is wrapped up in the Sixth Chapter of Romans. In that Chapter, the Holy Spirit through Paul brings it all together. In fact, a proper chronology of the Epistle to the Romans proclaims this in no uncertain terms.
THE BOOK OF ROMANS
The First Chapter of Romans establishes the terrible, lost condition of the Gentile world.
Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the Jewish question. It was to these indigenous people, incidentally raised up exclusively by the Lord, to whom the great promise of Redemption was given. Paul declares that they need a Redeemer exactly as the Gentiles. That Redeemer is Christ, as promised by their Prophets, and unless the Jews accept Christ, they will be eternally lost—the same as the Gentiles. So, in Chapters 1 through 3 of Romans, Paul establishes the fact that the entirety of humanity is totally depraved, and all because of the Fall. There is no way that man can save himself. So, within man, there is no hope for the fallen sons of Adam’s lost race. But then, in Chapters 4 and 5 of Romans, the Holy Spirit through Paul shows us the answer to this dilemma. It is “Justification by Faith.” In these two Chapters, Paul laboriously points out that Salvation is never by works, but always by Faith. The central theme of these two Chapters is: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for Righteousness” (Rom. 4:3). In fact, Paul is quoting Genesis 15:6.
Actually, Paul uses two men from Old Testament times to prove his point. He uses Abraham to establish the fact that Salvation comes by Faith, and Faith only. And he uses David to establish the fact that our maintaining Salvation comes, as well, by Faith. When Paul speaks of “Faith,” without exception, he is speaking of Faith in Christ and what Christ did for us at the Cross.
After the great Salvation principle is established, which is by Faith, we then go to Chapter 6, which tells us how to live for God, which will be the Chapter of our study.
If we do not properly learn and obey the teaching of Chapter 6, we are doomed to repeat Chapter 7 all over again, which is the personal story of Paul, as he attempted to live for God without understanding the principles of Chapter 6. To his credit, there was no one else in the world at that time who understood the principle of Grace through Faith. In fact, that great Truth, the meaning of the New Covenant, was actually given to Paul. At any rate, Paul concluded Chapter 7 by saying, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). This is the experience of a man, even Paul, who doesn’t understand Romans 6. Of course, when Paul wrote Romans 7, he very well then understood Romans 6, but he is showing us what happens to the Believer who doesn’t understand the great principle of Faith.
We then go to Romans 8, which tells us “What” the Holy Spirit will do in our lives, once we understand “How” He works, which is the teaching of Chapter 6. Someone has well said that Romans 6 presents the “Mechanics of the Holy Spirit,” which tells us “How” He works, while Romans 8 presents to us the “Dynamics of the Holy Spirit,” which tells us, as stated, “What” He does for us, once we learn “How” He does it.
Romans, Chapters 9 through 11 are mostly misunderstood by virtually the entirety of Christendom. They think that Paul is dealing with Prophecy, as it regards the Jews.
While some Prophecy is definitely included in those three Chapters, that is not the intent of the Holy Spirit in giving us that particular teaching. What the Holy Spirit is saying through the Apostle, as it regards those three Chapters, is:
If the Church ignores what is taught in Romans 6, which means that it rejects God’s prescribed order of victorious living, the Church will come to the same sad end as did Israel. Israel went about attempting to “establish their own righteousness,” and would not “submit themselves unto the Righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). As a result, they completely lost their way. So the Holy Spirit through the Apostle is telling us that if the Church does the same thing as did Israel, which means to reject Christ and what He has done for us at the Cross, that the Church will be cut off exactly as was Israel. Paul said to them:
“Well; because of unbelief they (Israel) were broken off, and you (the Church) stand by faith (Faith in Christ and what Christ did for us at the Cross). Be not highminded, but fear:
“For if God spared not the natural branches (Israel), take heed lest He also spare not you.”
He then said, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity (because of their unbelief in Christ and the Cross); but toward you (the Church) goodness, if (the condition) you continue in His goodness (which, again, is Christ and the Cross): otherwise, you also shall be cut off” (Rom. 11:20–22).
The truth is, the Church, at least as it regards the institution, has already been cut off. While there definitely is a “Remnant” that is truly living for God, as with Israel of old, that “Remnant” is small (Rom. 9:27).
The seven Messages that Jesus gave to the seven Churches of Asia portray the entirety of the Church Age from the time of its inception on the Day of Pentecost to the close of that Dispensation. The Message of Christ to the Church at Laodicea presents the last stage of the Church, in fact, the time in which we now live. In other words, the Laodicean Church is the apostatized Church, and pertains to the modern Church of this day. Jesus said of this Church:
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot.
“So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of My mouth (vomit you up).
“Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:15–17).
At the beginning of the Church Age, Christ is pictured as standing in the very “midst” of the Churches (Rev. 1:12–13). At the close of the Church Age, which is the Age we now live in, He is pictured as being outside the Church, in effect, trying to get in. He said:
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Rev. 3:20).
So presently, instead of the Lord dealing with the institutionalized Church, He, instead, is dealing with individuals, hence Him saying, “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”
Therefore, for all practical purposes, at least as an institutionalized body, the Church has been cut off, exactly as Israel of old. It is all because of a rejection of Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross. And we must remember, Christ must never be separated from the Cross, hence Paul saying, “We preach Christ Crucified” (I Cor. 1:23).
Romans 12 through the conclusion of the Epistle deals with the practical aspects of Christianity, in other words, what the Christian will do as it regards living for the Lord, once he knows and understands God’s prescribed order, which is Christ and Him Crucified.
In fact, the only way that the Believer can “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service” is by being “transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, Will of God” (Rom. 12:1–2).
Any time the word “sacrifice” is used in the capacity that it is used in Romans 12:1, it is speaking, without exception, of the Sacrifice of Christ. In other words, we can be a “living sacrifice” only as our Faith is constantly placed in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross. This is what Jesus was speaking of when He said:
“If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself (not asceticism, but rather the denial of our own abilities), and take up his Cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23).
Jesus says here that we must look away from ourselves, looking entirely to Him and what He did for us at the Cross, thereby taking upon ourselves the benefits of the Cross, even on a daily basis. Only by this manner can we properly live for God.
JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED: THE STORY OF THE BIBLE
In fact, the entirety of the story of the Bible, all the way from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, is the story of Christ and Him Crucified.
The first three Chapters of the Bible tell of man’s Creation and his Fall. The balance of the entirety of the Bible proclaims the story of man’s Redemption. That Redemption is exclusively in Christ and the Cross. It is pictured in the Sacrifices, beginning in Genesis 4. In fact, almost immediately after the Fall, the Lord said to Satan through the serpent, “And I will put enmity (hatred) between you (Satan) and the woman (in other words, Satan hates the female gender of humanity), and between your seed (all of humanity without God), and her Seed (Who is Christ); it (He, meaning Christ), shall bruise your head (speaks of what Christ would do to Satan at the Cross, which would take back the stolen dominion), and you shall bruise His heel (the sufferings of the Cross)” (Gen. 3:14; Col. 2:14–15).
Almost immediately after that great prediction given by Jehovah, the Bible says: “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21).
These “coats of skins” required animals being killed, which was a type, even then, of what Christ would do for us at the Cross. These “coats of skins” were to take the place of the apron of “fig leaves,” which Adam and Eve had themselves devised to cover their nakedness (Gen. 3:7). Regrettably, man has been attempting to cover his spiritual nakedness from then until now with “fig leaves,” which are always devices of his own ingenuity and making, which God can never accept. The Lord can only accept Christ and Him Crucified.
We find the Sacrificial System beginning in Chapter 4 of Genesis, and continuing all the way through the entirety of Old Testament times. In fact, the Sacrificial System was the very heart of the Mosaic Law, with the System symbolically portraying what Christ would do for us at the Cross. The entirety of the Tabernacle System, which Paul used as an example in Hebrews, pictured Christ in its totality, in His Atoning, Mediatorial, and Intercessory Work. Actually, there is almost no symbolism of the Resurrection given in the entirety of this description, with virtually all pertaining to the Cross. In fact, in the entirety of the Book of Hebrews, which is an explanation of our Salvation and Sanctification according to Old Testament typology, only one mention is made of the Resurrection, with the entirety of the Book given over to the Cross. Paul said, “Now (since the Cross) the God of peace, Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus (the Resurrection), that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant (the Cross),
“Make you perfect in every good work to do His Will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Heb. 13:20–21).
This is in no way meant to demean the Resurrection, which is of all significance, even as we will deal with later, but, still, it was at the Cross where our Redemption was effected, and totally at the Cross, hence the great emphasis.
ST. JOHN CHAPTER ONE
We find the entirety of the story of the Bible given to us in capsule form in the First Chapter of St. John. The great Apostle said:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word (the Lord Jesus Christ, the Living Word) was with God, and the Word was God (Christ is God, the Second Member of the Godhead, one might say)” (Jn. 1:1).
So, we learn from this particular Verse that the “Lord Jesus Christ” and the “Word” are One and the same. This, in effect, tells us that the “Written Word” and the “Living Word” are, in essence, the same.
Now we learn something else about the Living Word. The Holy Spirit through John said:
“And the Word (the Lord Jesus Christ) was made flesh (the Incarnation), and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) full of Grace and Truth” (Jn. 1:14).
So we learn that this “Word” became “flesh.” Now we will learn why the “Word” became “flesh.” John the Baptist said:
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).
So we learn that the “Word” became “flesh” in order to go to the “Cross” that the “sin of the world” might be “taken away.” God cannot die, so, in order to die, God would have to become flesh, which was the answer to the dilemma of the human race.
If it is to be noticed, John referred to Christ as the “Lamb of God,” because Christ was the fulfillment of all the millions of sacrifices of lambs that had been offered up during Old Testament times. So, in these three Verses (Jn. 1: 1, 14, 29), we have the story of the entirety of the Word of God. It is “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified” (I Cor. I Cor. 1:23).
THE GREAT ATTACK AGAINST THE CROSS
Satan has attacked Christ and the Cross from the very beginning. In fact, most of his energy is spent in this direction. He does that because he knows that what Jesus did at the Cross is the only answer for lost, dying humanity.
Almost always those attacks have come from within the Church. In Paul’s day, it was in the form of Judaism, which pertained to Christian Jews attempting to add Law to Christ and the Cross. In fact, much of Paul’s writings dealt with this very subject. The entirety of the Book of Galatians deals with this problem.
Almost immediately after that, the ugly head of Gnosticism began to arise in the Church, with Paul dealing with this in Colossians, and John the Beloved dealing with it in his First Epistle.
After that, the Church itself became Satan’s great effort. Little by little, the Apostolic Church, which is portrayed in the Book of Acts, gradually apostatized until the rudiments of what we now know as the Catholic Church were the result. It was A.D. 602 when the Bishop of Rome was first referred to as the “Pope.” So it took approximately 600 years for the Church to completely apostatize, which means that the Church took the place of Christ and the Cross, which was one of Satan’s greatest efforts, and which continues unto this day. In fact, all of these things that Satan energized continue unto this present hour.
The Reformation brought the Church and the world out of the Dark Ages, but then, Satan’s great effort was “legalism.” Into the “Church,” and I speak of the apostatized Church, legalism crept in little by little.
WORD OF FAITH DOCTRINE
Beginning in about the 1960’s, the Word of Faith doctrine began to take hold, and continues unto this hour. It has impacted the Church possibly as no other false doctrine. It openly attacks the Cross, claiming that it was “the worst defeat in human history.” In fact, in most of the Churches, which go under that particular banner, and they number into the tens of thousands, they will not even sing any songs concerning the Blood, the Cross, etc., referring to such as “defeatist terminology.”
The central doctrine of the Word of Faith message is the “Jesus Died Spiritually Doctrine.” In simple terms, this means that the Cross was of no consequence whatsoever. In fact, they teach that Jesus became one with Satan on the Cross, actually becoming demon-possessed. They claim that He died as a lost sinner and thereby went to the burning side of Hell, where He writhed in agony for three days and nights, tortured by demons, etc. And then, they continue to teach, at the end of the three days and nights of torture, God the Father said, “It is enough,” and Jesus was then “born again,” exactly as any sinner is Born-Again, and raised from the dead.
They teach that man’s salvation actually was consummated in Hell, of all places. As stated, they completely demean the Cross, referring to it also as “past miseries.”
As ought to be obvious, the entirety of this fiasco, and a fiasco it is, is a fabrication from beginning to end. In other words, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that even remotely addresses itself to such.
In this scenario, they teach that the “Resurrection” is the capstone of Christianity. In fact, they tell Christians to shun the Cross, and tell Preachers not to preach the Cross. They say that preaching the Cross will bring only death (Kenneth Hagin’s monthly magazine, April 2002). That is strange, when Paul said: “For Christ sent me not to baptize (Water Baptism: Paul is not meaning to denigrate Water Baptism, but rather to put it in its proper place), but to preach the Gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the Cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (I Cor. 1:17). If it is to be noticed, the Apostle did not say, “Lest the Resurrection of Christ should be made of none effect.”
He then said: “For the preaching of the Cross …” (he did not say, “For the preaching of the Resurrection …”) (I Cor. 1:18).
Pure and simple, the “Word of Faith” doctrine is not of the Lord, because it’s not Biblical. Its emphasis is on fabrications made up by man, which actually had their beginnings with E. W. Kenyon, and its birth by Satan.
Following the Word of Faith doctrine, which has done so much damage to the modern Church, we now have (2004) the “Purpose Driven Life” Apostasy, along with the “Government of Twelve,” etc. In fact, the “Purpose Driven Life” Apostasy has taken the Church world by storm, infiltrating every particular Denomination, at least those of which I am aware, even including Catholicism, and even the business world.
Without going into detail, all of these things are wrong, simply because they have attempted to replace Christ and the Cross with something else. In fact, when one pulls off the face or facade of these things, whatever they might be, whatever name they go under, always and without exception one finds a departure from the Cross of Christ.
So, if some think that I place too much emphasis on the Cross, I reply by stating that it’s impossible to place too much emphasis on the Cross, considering that the entirety of the story of the Bible is the story of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. And if I seem to place too much emphasis upon this all-important aspect of Christianity, and, to be sure, the central theme of Christianity is “Christ and Him Crucified,” it is only because the pendulum has swung so far the wrong way, that extra weight has to be added to the other end of the fulcrum to bring everything back into proper balance.
My introduction has been long, but I felt it was necessary in order to set the stage for the Sixth Chapter of Romans, which is simply the most important Chapter in the entirety of the Bible, at least as it refers to the Believer’s Sanctification.