Personal Greetings and Final Remarks

Read: Romans 16

The letter closes with a reminder of the strength that God gives to his people through the gospel. We are involved in the great struggle between God and Satan and good and evil. That great struggle is both inside of us and all around us. The good news is that God strengthens his people – he brings about the obedience of faith. The struggle is real. The struggle is hard. But God in Christ gives the strength to persevere and to overcome and he brings about the obedience of faith. That is the encouragement.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Encouragement, Harmony and Concluding Remarks

Read: Romans 15

The Christian life is profoundly corporate. We live in a time that is profoundly individualistic, but that is very much contrary to the teaching and the emphasis and the concern of the Scriptures and of the gospel. Being a believer in Jesus has an individual aspect to it that is vital, of course. We must believe as individuals and we must have a personal relationship with the Lord. But from a biblical perspective it is never just about me and Jesus. By believing in Jesus we become members of his body and that had huge implications for the nature of the Christian life.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Strong and the Weak

Read: Romans 14

This chapter deals with a very specific way of treating one other with love within the Christian community. The different opinions that are under consideration are not equally valid. One is right, and the other is wrong. Paul uses the distinction between some who are strong and others who are weak in this chapter. The opinions of the strong in this chapter of objectively correct while the opinions of the weak are objectively incorrect. But at the same time the differences of opinion are not over things that are part of core-orthodoxy or core-morality.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Our Responsibility to Government and General Exhortations

Read: Romans 13

The transformation that is the result of salvation in Christ, is from a life that is empty and self-centered to a life that is full and other-centered. The way of life that is concerned only with self is the way of death and being truly alive and joyful according to the Bible is to learn to sacrifice for God and others. Remember the opening line of this section. We are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. That is not a bad thing. That is not a punishment. It is rather what it means to be truly alive. It is life as it was meant to be lived. It is the way of joy and satisfaction. It is a huge part of what salvation means.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

The Christian Life

Read: Romans 12

In Christianity the exhortations to the Christian lifestyle are motivated by grace. The exhortations come after forgiveness and after the grace of release from the slavery to sin. They are motivated by forgiveness already given. They are enabled by the renewing power already given. They are motivated by love and thanksgiving and not by fear.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

God Has Not Rejected Israel

Read: Romans 11

So if we take the long view of the history of God’s plan for the salvation of the world, we have a long period of time when the Jews are set apart in order to be a blessing to the rest of the world and we have a long period of time in which many of the Gentiles are saved to make the Jews jealous and this this will one day result in the Jews coming to salvation in Christ in a big way so that Paul can say, “And in this way all Israel will be saved….”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Believing, Confessing, Preaching and Hearing

In the formality of setting aside preachers and in the formality of preaching by those officially set apart, the greatness and the power of the king are emphasized as well as the submissive attitude of the hearers. Behind the official preaching of the word is God himself and the message comes with his authority. The congregation is gathered before the king to receive his word. And that is the context in which faith is normally born and grows. Faith is not something that we discover. It is a response to a message from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. And it is a message of good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Christ the End of the Law

Read: Romans 10

But what Paul is emphasizing here is the fact that one of the key purposes of God’s law is to lead us to Christ and Paul expresses that here by saying that Christ is the end of the law. God’s law shows us how sinful we are so that we will see that we need Christ’s righteousness in order to be saved. And if we understand that clearly and we are trusting in Christ, we can sing, “It is well with my soul.” That is a wonderful practical result of understanding the different ways the law is intended to function in the lives of believers.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

God’s Sovereign Prerogative in Salvation and Damnation

Read: Romans 9

Our God is a surprising God. He does not conform to our ideas of how a God should act and pursue his purposes. And much of what he does is designed to humble us, to put us in our place and to prick the bubble of our pretentiousness and our pride. The way of salvation that God has designed is offensive to us in many ways. This is by design. The way of salvation through Jesus is designed to be a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra

Life in the Spirit, Future Glory and God’s Everlasting Love

Read: Romans 8

An unsaved person, who is ruled by his sinful nature, sets his mind on the things of the flesh. A saved person, because of the work of the Holy Spirit within him, sets his mind on the things of the Spirit. This is an important self-examination verse. Indeed, this is an important self-examination section because Paul is describing the difference between a person who is not saved – that is still in the flesh – and a person who is saved - who is being changed by the Holy Spirit.
— Rev. Jerry Hamstra