A Run through Romans 1 – 11
Disclaimer: This summary misses many wonderful themes and passages in Romans, and is only intended as a skim along the surface. Feel free to make it your own by adding/adjusting sections that you think deserve better representation. (For instance, the brilliance of chapter 6 is hardly mentioned!) Some of the verse references apply to a passage in general rather than one specific verse. If the reader is stirred to re-read Romans (in large chunks), then this attempt at a summary has achieved its purpose.
Paul has been set apart by God as an apostle for the gospel (1:1).
This gospel concerns (centres on) the Lord Jesus Christ, who was a descendant of King David (v3), but who was also revealed as the Son of God through his resurrection from the dead (1:4).
The good news of Jesus is more than up for the task of saving both Jews and non-Jews (1:16). Indeed, apart from Jesus, there is only bad news, since all men stand condemned.
Their problem is not that they don’t know God; their problem is that they do know him and they suppress what they know (1:18). They refuse to honour him and refuse to render thanks to him (1:21). Every son of Adam is therefore without excuse (2:1), and that goes for those who have never heard God’s name (2:12), and for those who know it only too well (2:23). They have, every one of them, turned their backs on God (3:12) and cherished their sin.
But the righteousness of God against sin has been revealed in the most surprising way (3:21); he sent his innocent Son into the broken world as a gift of sheer mercy and grace. Jesus absorbed God’s judgement against sin in his own death (3:25), and every man, woman, and child is now summoned to come to him in faith that they might have their guilt removed (3:26), be at peace with God (5:1), and stand before him on the basis of grace (5:3).
No one gets to take any credit for this. Jesus did it all while we were still in our sin (5:8). And while we were busy sinning, he was busy obeying, and doing so as our representative (5:15). He rose as the head and starting point of a new human race (5:19), a free people who have been delivered from the penalty of sin (5:21), the power of sin (6:7), and in the end, will be delivered from the very presence of sin (6:22).
They live without any condemnation hanging over them (8:1), and, animated by God’s own Spirit, they now call Him Father (8:15), secure in the ironclad promise that they will never be torn from him, for salvation means salvation (8:28), and whom God calls, he calls to glory (8:30).
We might squirm at this prerogative of God’s (9:14), but we would do well to hold our tongues, bow our heads, and confess that we don’t have the necessary qualifications to advise God about how he should go about saving us (9:20). He has determined to bring salvation through Jesus Christ (10:4), and the message is the same for every person: confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved. (10:9).
This is the most beautiful news ever to fall upon the ears of men (10:15), and the more ears it falls on, the better, for faith comes by hearing (10:17).
God has unfolded the story of his redeeming love over many centuries, with many puzzling twists and turns (11:1), but the upshot is that no-one can claim a monopoly on salvation except God (11:22). All that is left for us is to marvel in humble gratitude. We will never understand the majesty and scope of what God has been up to (11:25), but we know enough to declare it to be sheer mercy, and all glorious (11:33). In the gospel, God has achieved nothing short of the redemption and healing of the entire cosmos, which, by the way, includes me and you (11:36).