Formerly Saul, who persecuted the believers and devastated the church (Acts 7:58; 8:1a; Acts 8:3; 9:1). After he was saved, when he went forth to preach the gospel, his name was changed to Paul (Acts 13:9).
A slave, according to ancient custom and law, was one who was purchased by his master and over whom his master had absolute rights, even to the extent of terminating his life. Paul was such a slave of Christ. Verbs formed from this word are used several times throughout this book. One is translated serve as a slave in Rom. 6:6 and serve in Rom. 7:6, 25; 9:12; 12:11; 14:18 and Rom. 16:18. Another is translated enslaved in Rom. 6:18, 22. The noun slavery, from the same root as slave, is used in Rom. 8:15, 21.
Paul's use of this term indicates that he was not a self-appointed apostle or one hired by the Lord; rather, he was one purchased to serve God and minister to His people, not in the natural life but in the regenerated life (see Exo. 12:44; 21:6; note Matt. 20:261; note Matt. 25:143c; and note Gal. 6:171a).
Christ, equal to Messiah in Hebrew, means the anointed One (John 1:41; Dan. 9:26). This book explains how the individual Christ revealed in the four Gospels could become the corporate Christ revealed in Acts, collectively composed of Himself with all the believers. By means of the facts in the Scriptures and the experience in the Holy Spirit, Paul shows us that God's New Testament economy is to make sinners sons of God and members of Christ to constitute the Body of Christ to express Him. This book offers a full definition of this, God's goal, unfolding a general sketch and details of both the Christian life and the church life.
This book may be divided into eight sections: introduction, condemnation, justification, sanctification, glorification, selection, transformation, and conclusion. In these eight sections three major structures can be seen: salvation (1:1—5:11; 9:1—11:36), life (5:12—8:39), and building (12:1—16:27).
Called includes the thought of being appointed (cf. 1 Cor. 12:28).
I.e., a sent one (see note 1 Cor. 9:13b, par. 2).
Lit., glad tidings, good news (vv. 9, 16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25). The gospel of God, as the subject of this book, concerns Christ as the Spirit living within the believers after His resurrection. This is higher and more subjective than what was presented in the Gospels, which concern Christ only in the flesh as He lived among His disciples after His incarnation but before His death and resurrection. This book, however, reveals that Christ has resurrected and has become the life-giving Spirit (Rom. 8:9-10). He is no longer merely the Christ outside the believers, but He is now the Christ within them. Hence, the gospel in this book is the gospel of the One who is now indwelling His believers as their subjective Savior.
Verses Rom. 1:2-6 may be considered a parenthetical word explaining the gospel of God.
The Greek words hagios, hagiosune, hagiazo, and hagiasmos, used in this book, are of the same root, which fundamentally means separated, set apart. Hagios is translated holy in v. 2; 5:5; 7:12; 9:1; 11:16; 12:1; 14:17; 15:13, 16; 16:16, and saints in v. 7; 8:27; 12:13; 15:25, 26, 31; 16:15. Hagiosune is translated holiness in v. 4. Hagiazo is a verb used as a participle and is translated sanctified in Rom. 15:16. Hagiasmos is translated sanctification in Rom. 6:19, 22. Hence, to be holy is to be separated, set apart (to God). The saints are the separated ones, the ones set apart (to God). Holiness is the nature and quality of being holy. Sanctification (to God) is the practical effect, the character in activity, and the consummate state produced by being sanctified.
Out of, a literal translation of the Greek ek, is used here and again in the next verse, referring to the two sources of Christ's being: one, the seed of David, the other, the resurrection of the dead.
The seed of David implies Christ's human nature. By incarnation, the first step of Christ's process, God was brought into humanity.
Or, marked out. Before His incarnation Christ, the divine One, already was the Son of God (John 1:18; Rom. 8:3). By incarnation He put on an element, the human flesh, which had nothing to do with divinity; that part of Him needed to be sanctified and uplifted by passing through death and resurrection. By resurrection His human nature was sanctified, uplifted, and transformed. Hence, by resurrection He was designated the Son of God with His humanity (Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5). His resurrection was His designation. Now, as the Son of God, He possesses humanity as well as divinity. By incarnation He brought God into man; by resurrection He brought man into God, that is, He brought His humanity into the divine sonship. In this way the only begotten Son of God was made the firstborn Son of God, possessing both divinity and humanity. God is using such a Christ, the firstborn Son, who possesses both divinity and humanity, as the producer and as the prototype, the model, to produce His many sons (Rom. 8:29-30) — we who have believed in and received His Son. We too will be designated and revealed as the sons of God, as He was in the glory of His resurrection (Rom. 8:19, 21), and with Him we will express God.
This book tells us that God's full salvation is to make sinners (Rom. 3:23), even His enemies (Rom. 5:10), the sons of God (Rom. 8:14). Through resurrection God designated Christ, who became flesh to be the seed of David, as His Son, that His Son, who is the mingling of divinity and humanity, might be the base and pattern for His making sinners His many sons. It is in the resurrection of His Son, i.e., in the resurrected Son, that God is producing many sons (1 Pet. 1:3) as the many brothers of the Firstborn (Rom. 8:29), who was resurrected from the dead, and as the members of His Firstborn to constitute the Body of His Firstborn (Rom. 12:5), which is His fullness (Eph. 1:23), His corporate expression.
The Spirit of holiness here is in contrast to the flesh in v. 3. As the flesh in v. 3 refers to the human nature of Christ in the flesh, so the Spirit in this verse does not refer to the person of the Holy Spirit of God but to the divine essence of Christ. This divine essence of Christ, being God the Spirit Himself (John 4:24), the divinity of Christ, is of holiness, full of the nature and quality of being holy.
See note Rom. 1:23.
See note Rom. 1:33. Out of here should be linked to designated in the first part of this verse. Christ was designated the Son of God out of the resurrection of the dead.
I.e., sending forth, or mission.
God's unique commandment in this age, the age of grace, is that man should believe into His Son, the Lord Jesus. Whoever believes into Him will be saved; whoever does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed into Him (John 3:18). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of the sin of not believing into the Lord (John 16:8-9), of not obeying God's unique commandment. When we believe into the Lord, we have the obedience of faith, and the result is grace and peace (v. 7).
In the New Testament the complete gospel according to God's New Testament revelation is the content of the faith, with the two natures of Christ, who is both God and man, and the redemptive work accomplished through His death and resurrection as its center (see note 1 Tim. 1:11, par. 2). To obey this faith is to turn from all pagan religions and philosophies unto this faith, believing and receiving it.
Christ's name denotes His person, Himself. On behalf of His name denotes for Him, for His sake, for His interests.
God calls us for the purpose of bringing us into Christ that we may belong to Him. All the fullness of God is in Christ (Col. 2:9; 1:19). When we are brought into Him and belong to Him, we partake of all the fullness of God. Of His fullness we have received all that is of God, even grace upon grace (John 1:16). This matter is covered in detail in the first eight chapters of this book (cf. Rom. 8:9).
See note Rom. 1:23.
Not the Spirit of God but Paul's regenerated spirit. The spirit is different from the heart, soul, mind, emotion, will, or natural life. Christ and the Spirit are with the believers in their regenerated human spirit (2 Tim. 4:22; Rom. 8:16). In this book Paul stressed that whatever we are (Rom. 5:2:29; 8:5-6, 9), whatever we have (Rom. 8:10, 16), and whatever we do toward God (v. 9; 7:6; 8:4, 13; 12:11) must be in this spirit. Paul served God in his regenerated spirit by the indwelling Christ, the life-giving Spirit, not in his soul by the power and ability of the soul. This is the first important item in his preaching of the gospel.
See note 1 Cor. 14:112.
Denoting a powerful force that can break through any obstacle. This power is the resurrected Christ Himself, who is the life-giving Spirit, and it is unto salvation to everyone who believes.
To save the believing ones not only from God's condemnation and from eternal perdition but also from their natural life and their self, that they may be sanctified, transformed, and built up with others as the one Body of Christ to be His fullness and expression (Eph. 1:23).
In John 3:16 God's love is the source and motive of God's salvation. In Eph. 2:5, 8 God's grace is the means of God's salvation. Here God's righteousness is the power of God's salvation. God's righteousness, which is solid and steadfast, is the foundation of His throne (Psa. 89:14) and the base on which His kingdom is built (Rom. 14:17). Legally, both love and grace can fluctuate, but righteousness cannot. It is even more so with God's righteousness. It is God's righteousness, not ours, that is revealed in the gospel of God. Hence, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
Out of faith indicates that faith is the source and the foundation of the revelation of God's righteousness; to faith indicates that faith is the receiver and container that receives and retains God's righteousness. If we have this faith, God's righteousness will be made visible to us and will be laid hold of by us.
The righteousness of God justifies us that we may have God's life (Rom. 5:18) and live by it. In this way this life will sanctify and transform us thoroughly. This book covers mainly our being justified (1:1—5:11; 9:1—11:36), our having life (5:12—8:39), and our living properly by this life (12:1—16:27). Since this verse also stresses these three points, it may be considered an abstract of the entire book.
See note Gal. 2:205.
This book begins with man's fall (in contrast to Ephesians, which begins with God's selection and predestination in eternity past); continues through Christ's redemption, God's justification, sanctification, transformation, conformation, and glorification; and, finally, touches the mystery of God in eternity past (Rom. 16:25).
In the preceding verse the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel to faith; here, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. This shows a contrast between the revelation of God's righteousness and the revelation of God's wrath. Originally, the wrath of God was revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. However, since the gospel of God has come, the scene has changed. Now the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel to our faith.
Implying against, or in opposition to.
To hold down means to suppress. From the beginning mankind did not respect the truth of God but suppressed it unrighteously.
The truth here refers to the first true thing, the first reality, concerning man and God in the universe. This reality is the sure fact that God and His existence are proved by the creation, and it is the definite fact that men, being without excuse, can know God by the creation. This great reality, this great truth, should cause men to know God and thereby to glorify Him and thank Him (v. 21). However, instead of dealing properly with this reality, this truth, according to righteousness, in which God delights, men held down the truth in unrighteousness, which God hates, and did not approve of knowing God (v. 28). Therefore, they despised and rejected God, changing the glory of God into idols (vv. 21-23) and casting off self-restraint to fall without limit (vv. 24-32), so that they were given up, abandoned, by God (vv. 24, 26, 28).
Gk. theiotes, denoting God's attributes, which are the special features, the characteristics, as the outward manifestations of God's nature or substance. It is different from theotes in Col. 2:9, which denotes God's Godhead and person. The characteristics of God's nature can be verified through the created things; however, the created things cannot manifest God's Godhead and person. Only the living person of Jesus Christ, the Word who is God and who declares God (John 1:1, 18), can express God's Godhead and person, that is, the very God, God Himself. Here, in this chapter, the apostle Paul speaks of the created things verifying God's existence, but what is verified are only the attributes and characteristics of God. In Col. 2:9 he speaks of Christ as the embodiment of God, and what is expressed is the Godhead and God's person, that is, God Himself.
Man can perceive the invisible things of God by observing the visible things created by Him. Both the eternal power of God and the divine characteristics that express God's intrinsic nature are manifested in God's creation. For example, the abundance of light in the universe shows that light is a divine characteristic, a divine attribute of the divine nature (James 1:17). The same is true of beauty and life.
In this chapter Paul's presentation of God's creation and man's step-by-step fall is undoubtedly based on the historical facts as recorded in Gen. ch. 1—19 and in subsequent books of the Old Testament. First, vv. 19-20 speak concerning God's creation; then vv. 21-25 cover the fall of Adam and progress through the age of the flood to the worshipping of idols at Babel. Verses Rom. 1:26-27 progress further, from Babel to the shameful lusts of Sodom, and vv. 28-32 go on from Sodom to every kind of wickedness in the Old Testament time.
Vain reasonings are the basic element in the daily life of fallen mankind. See note Eph. 4:173e.
To change the glory of God into anything else is to forsake Him and to make an idol.
The same expression is used also in vv. 26, 28. The result of man's giving up God is man's being given up by Him. Those who give up God force God to give them up. According to this chapter God gives people up to three things: uncleanness (v. 24), passions of dishonor (v. 26), and a disapproved mind (v. 28). The consequence of such a giving up is fornication (vv. 24, 26-27), which violates a governing and controlling principle and brings in confusion. Every kind of evil issues from this fornication (vv. 29-32).
The truth of God is the reality of God. God is true and real. What He is, is a reality. But the idols are false. Whatever they are is a lie.
Or, righteous requirement, as in Rom. 8:4 that is, the requirement of God's righteous will. Hence, this phrase also refers to the judgment that is out of God's will (Rev. 15:4), or to statutes with judgments, that is, ordinances (Rom. 2:26; Luke 1:6), or to the righteous act that meets God's requirement (Rom. 5:18).