How to be put right with God

Rom. 1:1-7     In the introduction, Paul recalls his commission to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, including his readers in Rome.

Rom. 1:8-15   He apologises for being prevented from visiting them, and says how much he longs to visit the believers in Rome.

Rom. 1:16-32 Paul explains the power of his message: “The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself – that it begins and ends with faith” (Romans 1:17).

Rom. 2:1-29   He says that, in the last days, God will judge all people. He will pour out his anger on the selfish and sinful, but will reward those who turn away from evil with eternal life.

Rom. 3:1-20   Paul explains that no one can be put right with God merely by keeping the Jewish law. “The law only shows us our sin” (Romans 3:20).

Rom. 3:21-31 Paul reveals God’s way of putting people right with himself – by having faith in Jesus Christ.

 

The Pantheon Temple, Rome

Paul tells the people of Rome how to be put right with God

 

Justification by Grace through Faith

In his Letter to the Romans, Paul explains that no-one can be put right with God by trying to keep the minutiae of the Jewish law. Even the Ten Commandments, while providing good guidelines for a godly life, are too difficult for anyone to keep all of the time (see Exodus 20:1-17).

Coveting your neighbour’s house (or anything else that belongs to your neighbour) is still a widespread ‘sin’ in affluent Western societies today. Unfortunately, everyone ‘sins’ by falling short of God’s standards, and no-one can ever earn the right to spend eternity in the loving presence of God (see Romans 3:23). 

But Paul has the answer: “God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:22). Jesus died in our place to take away our sins. “God gave him as a way to forgive sin through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death” (Romans 3:25).

This act of unmerited love (‘grace’) is a free gift from God that no-one deserves (see Romans 3:24), and to claim ‘justification’ (being put right with God), we need a living faith in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. The Holy Spirit, who then comes to live in us, takes away our desire to do wrong and encourages us to spread God’s love to others.

This amazing way of entering a new and living relationship with God is referred to by theologians as ‘justification by grace through faith’.

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