Read Romans 6-8
In these three chapters, notice the theme of freedom through union with Christ. Paul writes about freedom from the tyranny of sin in Romans 6, freedom from life under the Old Testament law in Romans 7, and freedom through the Spirit of God in Romans 8.
Romans 6 After spending Romans 3–5 explaining how the righteousness of God can be accounted to sinners as a free gift through faith in Jesus Christ, Paul now feels a burden to deal with an important objection: “If forgiveness and righteousness come entirely by grace, then shouldn’t we keep on sinning, since that just means we get more grace?”
Paul answers this question by pointing to our union with Christ. “By no means!” he says. When we place our faith in Christ, we’re united to Him in His death and resurrection. Just as Christ has died to sin and been raised to new life, so we in Christ are now to count ourselves dead to sin and alive to God. As a result, the truth of what God has already accomplished in Christ changes us and causes us to live new lives unto God, freed from slavery to sin.
Romans 7 Because we’ve been united to Christ in His death, we’ve also been set free from the law. Paul uses the illustration of a marriage, where death releases one from the law of marriage (7:2–3). We now live not according to the law, but by the Spirit. However, Paul is very clear that the problem here is not that God’s law is bad. The law itself, he says, is good. It reveals what sin is.
However, our flesh responds to its law sinfully, which results in death. The problem, then, isn’t the law, but the sin that dwells in us, making us a prisoner. And yet, it’s precisely this slavery from which Christ has set us free.
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Romans 8 And so we come to this wonderful declaration: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1). God has set us free from our bondage to sin and placed us under a new “law” where we live by the Spirit, not the flesh. Something supernatural has taken place in us, such that God now dwells in us by His Spirit (8:9–11), changing us into people who put sin to death and live in the confidence that we are God’s children.
As children of God, then, we await the day when God will restore creation and bring His children to glory. But until that day, we remain confident that in spite of suffering, in spite of accusations, in spite of death, nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. The gospel transforms disciples so they can live as beloved children of God no matter the circumstances.
The Book of Romans is a masterfully written exposition on God’s grace and the righteousness that comes by grace through faith. This book (a letter) is the foundation of the entire Christian faith and has changed the hearts of many as they read and understand the wonderful truths nestled inside.
Romans 1—The Gospel Is the Power of God
Romans 1 covers Paul’s introduction to the book of Romans as well as building a case against the entire world that we were guilty before God. The reason for writing the book of Romans was to share the gospel and teach that our righteousness comes by faith in Jesus Christ apart from what we can do to earn it.
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Romans 2—God’s Righteous Judgment
Romans 2 is written to admonish the Jews that living by the law and circumcision does not make them righteous in God’s eyes. This comes as quite a shock, but Paul stresses that living by rules and regulations only brings about judgment and condemnation. Paul concludes that a true Jew is one that has experienced circumcision of the heart by the Spirit of God.
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Romans 3—Righteousness Apart From the Law
Romans 3 completes the accusation that both the Jews and the Gentiles are guilty before God. Now the prosecution can rest and the defense begin. Paul switches gears by explaining that the righteousness that the law was powerless to give us, God did by sending Jesus. He maintains that this righteousness comes by faith to all who believe in Christ Jesus apart from obeying the law.
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Romans 4—Justified by Faith
Romans 4 is proof that faith has always been the means for justification. Paul reflects back to the Old Testament patriarchs who were justified by faith, not works, to illustrate his point. Paul uses this illustration to prove that Gentiles were part of this promise given to Abraham. The whole world was blessed through him because he chose to believe God rather than his circumstances and, because of this, his faith was credited to him as righteousness.
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Romans 5—The Results of Justification by Faith
Romans 5 is powerful and instrumental in understanding that we are reconciled with God through Jesus Christ. God did not spare His own son, but graciously gave Him for us to undo what Adam did in the garden. Death came through one man’s sin, but life came more abundantly in every way through the gift of Jesus. Paul stresses that this reconciliation is not something we are waiting for, but in every sense of the word, believers are righteous, holy, and acceptable to God.
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Romans 6—Freedom from Sin
Romans 6 eloquently teaches that when we are born again, sin’s power is broken in our lives. Paul maintains that we are freed from sin and made alive to God through Jesus Christ. Our sinful nature was crucified with Him when we were baptized into his death. Now through Jesus, we have received the gift of God, which is eternal life.
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Romans 7—Married to Christ
Romans 7 shows us the contrast between living bound to the law and living by the Spirit of God. We are no longer in bondage as slaves and are now free to belong to God. The struggle with sin may still be evident, but Paul maintains we have no obligation to succumb to it. We are instructed to live by the Spirit and bear fruit according to our new nature.
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Romans 8—Life in the Spirit
Romans 8 shows how to live by the Spirit and let peace rule in our hearts. The Holy Spirit within us continually testifies to us that we are children of God. He gives us assurance with God to convince us that nothing will ever separate us from His love. This is a passage of hope because we know our future is bright in Christ.
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Romans 9—Children of the Promise through Faith in Christ
Romans 9 teaches us that it is not natural children that are God’s children, but rather children of the promise. The promise comes through faith in Christ not by works of the Law. He uses the example of the Israelites, who pursued righteousness by the law without obtaining it, and Gentiles, who pursued it by faith and obtained righteousness through Jesus Christ. Chapter 9 is a sobering call that faith in Christ alone saves us.
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Romans 10—The Word of Faith
Romans 10 teaches the word of faith. By confessing with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and by believing this in our hearts, we are saved—nothing more, nothing less. Christ is the end of the law so we can be justified and made righteous by faith in Jesus alone. Faith comes by hearing this gospel message and responding to it. Paul encourages us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
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Romans 11—A Remnant of Israel
Romans 11 discusses that, although Israel as a whole rejected Jesus as the Messiah, there is still a remnant chosen by grace. Their dismissal of Jesus has blessed the world because this salvation message was then opened to the Gentiles. However, they have not fallen beyond recovery, and in the end Israel will be saved through faith. God’s plan includes bestowing mercy upon all mankind.
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Romans 12—Living Sacrifices
Romans 12 encourages us to be living sacrifices in view of the mercy we have received in Christ Jesus. We do this through renewing our minds to the truth of God’s word, serving and blessing the body of Christ through our gifts and above all by loving and being devoted to one another. Romans 12 is a call to live a life of peace, faithfully serving the Lord in all things and overcoming the evil of the world by faith.
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Romans 13—Submission to Authorities
Romans 13 is a charge to clothe ourselves with Christ Jesus and live as His children in this present world. We are to submit to authorities and to pay respect where it is due. We are to wake up and serve the Lord out of love by showing others the light of the gospel.
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Romans 14—The Weak and the Strong
Romans 14 encourages us to consider everything we do as if we are doing it for the Lord. It is a call to do what leads to peace and mutual edification within the body of Christ. We are not to condemn or look down on those who are weaker in faith, but be fully convinced of what is acceptable in our own minds, as everything that does not come from faith is sin.
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Romans 15—Unity among Believers
Romans 15 stresses unity within the body of believers. We are to take the encouragement from the scriptures and Christ as our example in how we live accepting one another. Paul reminds us that we are competent ministers of the gospel taking in and internalizing the amazing grace that was covered in the previous chapters. Now it is our job to share it with others.
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Romans 16—Commendations and Greetings
Romans 16 is Paul's final farewell and instruction to the believers in Rome. He is affectionate toward them and gives final coaching to watch out for false doctrines and teachings and those who would cause division among them. He reminds them that Satan will soon be crushed under their feet and that His gospel is able to hold them until the day of Jesus.
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As you can see, this is an amazing book and will bless all who read, understand, and enjoy this wonderful message of Jesus. May you be blessed and inspired as you read and study the book of Romans.
I’d love to hear from you!
Share your favorite passage from Romans or an insight you’ve had from studying this letter in the comments below!
Original article published May 12, 2010.