The Way - Day 123 (Romans 16)

Daily Reading:
Romans 16
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
What is one new truth you have learned about your salvation or about the character of God as you've read through Romans? What changes in attitude or action might you need to take as a result of what you've learned?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 42:1-2
OPTION 2: Proverbs 17:27-28
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:3-4
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Romans 16 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Romans 16
As this wonderful letter to the Christians at Rome concludes, we must take time to reflect back on Paul's teaching regarding the gospel (death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sin). His letter is one of the most detailed treatments of the gospel throughout Scripture and provides a greater understanding to those who will receive and believe it as truth. There were three aspects of salvation which Paul uncovers for our benefit: all are sinners deserving of God's wrath (1:18-3:20), all sinners can be declared righteous (justified) through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (3:21-5:21), and all those who have been declared righteous through Christ are in the process of becoming righteous (sanctification) in their daily life (6:1-8:39). After informing his readers of these three aspects of salvation, Paul illustrates the sovereign work of God in salvation by using the nation of Israel as an example (9:1-11:36). Following an extensive treatment of God's sovereignty in salvation, Paul returns to the last aspect of salvation which is the process of sanctification. This process is a battle between the old, sinful flesh and the new, righteous man through Jesus Christ - resisting sin and obeying God's ways. Romans 12-15 characterizes the one who has been made righteous through Jesus Christ: serves God with spiritual gifts (12:3-8), has right behavior (12:9-21), submits to government authority (13:1-7), loves others (13:8-10), resists the flesh while submitting to God (13:11-14), and finds unity amongst diversity (14:1-15:13).
In Paul's concluding words to the believers at Rome, he provides a large list of people to whom he wishes to express love and appreciation. First of all, he mentions Phoebe (a servant in the church at Cenchrea) who was the one who delivered this letter to the believers at Rome. Paul asked that they "receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also" (16:1-2). Aquila and Priscilla, co-workers with Paul, are also mentioned because they "risked their own necks for my life" (16:3-5a). Although we are not certain of the details surrounding this precarious situation, it appears that this couple experienced a harrowing experience in order to protect Paul.

Next, Paul extends his greetings to an extensive list of people in Romans 16:5b-16 and then stops in the midst of this list to give them a warning against tolerating divisive people:
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:17-20)

After this brief warning, Paul resumes by sending greetings to the believers at Rome from people such as Timothy and others (16:21-24). And then he closes out this letter with a benediction which gives glory and praise to God for revealing the mystery that salvation is brought to the Jews as well as the Gentiles (16:25-27). Although salvation was promised to the Gentiles in the Old Testament Scriptures, the truth of those prophecies was not fully realized until now and Paul was grateful that he had a part in delivering the gospel to the Gentiles.

The letter written to the Roman Christians should cause those who read it to rejoice in the salvation offered to all who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9-10, 12-13 is a worthy way to conclude our study in Paul's letter to the Roman believers:

...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

Dear God, thank You that salvation is a gift to all those who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ. May I never forget that Your mercy was clearly demonstrated by sending Your only Son, Jesus, to provide the righteousness I needed to be saved. Now may I live my life in righteousness.