Romans in a nutshell by Andrew Errington

Posted: September 10, 2012 by J in Bible

I liked this summary of Paul’s letter to the Romans so much, that I stole it off Andrew’s blog.

I reckon a summary like this that actually gives a coherent reading of the letter, is a huge achievement. There’s many, many hours of study and reading and thought behind this little paper. There’s a lot of greek skill involved too.

Check it out, it’s gold.

Romans in a nutshell
1:1–17 You want to hear some good news? It’s found in Jesus, the Saviour King. In him and his story God has acted to save people like you and me precisely by being righteous.
1:18–32 But first some bad news. God is justly furious at human wickedness, especially human failure to honour him as Creator; and unfortunately, people have no excuse.
2:1–11 Those who see this and cast judgment, though, are equally without excuse, because no partiality on God’s part will alter his judgment according to how lives have been lived.
2:12–29 There is, that is to say, no a priori distinction between Jews and Gentiles: judgment is by works. So the mere realities of circumcision and possession of the Law do not save of themselves!
3:1–8 That doesn’t mean the Jews have no privilege at all. Yet they are not thereby safe. Stay posted on this one!
3:9–20 What this amounts to is that when it comes to ultimate judgment, the Jews have no advantage, for all are under sin. No one, even and indeed especially (!) those under the Law, is righteous before God.
3:21–26 But the good news is: God’s righteousness, by which through the atoning death of Christ he is both just and justifies everyone who has faith in Jesus.
3:27–31 But emphatically, this means there is no room for Jewish boasting about their status before God. having God on your side is not a Jewish prerogative!
4:1–25 This truth is in fact in accordance with the experience of the great father of israel, Abraham. He was justified by faith, not works, making it a work of God’s grace.
5:1–11 The truth, therefore, is that we are justified by the grace that flows from God’s astonishing love. Reconciled to God through Jesus, we are given a sure hope for a secure future.
5:12–21 What Jesus has done, in fact, is no less than to create a whole new life-and-grace-governed humanity, of which the old, condemnation-and-death-bound humanity is a pale reflection.
6:1–14 Does this mean actual sin in our lives doesn’t matter now? No way! We have died and been raised again with Christ and so are in a whole new situation, under grace, not law.
6:15–23 But does sin matter if we’re under grace? Of course it does! To go on in sin would be to literally self-destruct and completely undo the trajectory we’re on to life and holiness.
7:1–25 The Law, therefore, no longer calls the shots. Though in itself it was a good thing, it belonged to the time of enslavement under sin. Indeed its purpose was precisely to reveal sin for what it was, a corrupting, insidious power that destroys the integrity of the human subject and draws her deathwards.
8:1–17 But that time of condemnation has passed for Christians, because God has condemned sin in the humanity of Jesus Christ, his Son so that his people might live in a new way, by the Spirit rather than the flesh, on a wonderful trajectory that ends in the glory of sonship and inheritance.
8:18–39 And that changes everything about life in the present: we groan and suffer, but all without fear, and with deep assurance of God’s love and goodness, because we know he has chosen us.
9:1–29 But what about God’s original chosen people, the Jews? We need to slow down a bit. First, it’s not as though God had ever said every blood descendant of Abraham would be saved. Mysterious though it seems, and hard to stomach as it may be, we’ve always known God chooses.
9:30–10:21 Second, the fact is, the Jews are rejecting God’s actual saving work, which is to save everyone who has faith in his Son Jesus. This means the Jews (and everyone else) needs to be told about him (though we mustn’t pretend they haven’t heard at all — there is real rejection going on).
11:1–36 But third, this doesn’t mean God has rejected his people. There are Jewish Christians now, perhaps many, and moreover, the mission to the Gentiles will eventually lead to Jewish inclusion. God hasn’t given up on the Jews: the Olive Tree of Israel will flourish again and it will be glorious.
12:1–21 In the present, therefore, we who belong to Christ have a new way to live life: love. Love that honours God, rejoices in others, serves their needs, and patiently endures.
13:1–14 And we who know Jesus can engage with our world in a new way, happy to respect authority and joyful in loving our neighbours. We know things are different to what people mostly think.
14:1–15:6 As for relationships with other Christians, there is no place for pride. Opinions will differ, but that must not undo us: judgment belongs to God, each of his people matters to him, and he has entrusted us to each other.
15:7–13 In particular, this means the end of Jew–Gentile hostility. In God’s purposes the two groups are linked through Jesus; both matter.
15:14–33 So, therefore, do Paul’s plans for mission to the Gentiles on the one hand, and aid for the poor in Jerusalem on the other.
16:1–27 Keep going, be careful, and be hopeful. Isn’t the news about God’s work in Jesus to save all nations wonderful!

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