Romans Keystones

ROMANS 15 - Thursday, 6/15

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

  • Psalm 133 - O God Our Help In Ages Past
  • Psalm 51 - O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
  • Psalm 1 - Come Thou Fount
  • Psalm 103 (verses 1-12) - Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Keystone Text: Romans 15:13 - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Spirit you may abound in hope. 

There are basically three sections in Romans 15, each ending with a “prayer-desire”. The first section is verses 1-6, having to do with putting others first, which ends with Paul’s prayer-desire in verses 5-6:

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Jesus Christ, that together you may with one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The second section is about receiving one another as Christ has received us. Paul grounds this command to welcome one another in the work of Lord Jesus Christ, who came not to be served but to serve and bring God’s saving blessing to both the Jews (v. 8) and Gentiles (v. 9) in fulfillment of scripture (v. 9-12). This section ends with Paul’s prayer-desire in verse 13:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Spirit you may abound in hope.

Finally, in the third section from verses 14-33, Paul explains his strategy in ministry and future travel plans. In ministry, Paul has one holy ambition - to preach the gospel where Jesus Christ has not yet been named (v. 18-21). What an ambition! Paul’s missionary zeal should not surprise us, because our God is a missionary God, whose stated goal is to have a people from every nation, tribe - a redeemed, worshiping people. As we near the end of this chapter, Paul opens his heart to the Roman Christians explaining why he has not yet visited them (v. 22-24) as well as his desire to come to them, not empty handed, but with great blessing (v. 29). This final section ends with another prayer-desire in the final verse:

May the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

There is a lot to cover in this chapter, so I encourage you to spend plenty of time reading and meditating on it. 


  1. What are your initial observations on Romans chapter 15?


  1. Right off the bat in verse 1, Paul uses the word “obligation” (something owed, a debt), which is the same word Paul uses in Romans 13:8 regarding love. Why is it good for us to talk about the obligation to love one another in really practical ways? 


  1. How does genuine love fundamentally enable us to glorify God “with one voice”? 


  1. We are exhorted to welcome one another as Christ has welcomed us. How has Jesus Christ welcomed us? 


  1. What does this chapter reveal to us about the missionary heart of God?


  1. Why does Paul quote four Old Testament passages about the Gentiles in verses 9-12? What patriarch and promise(s) does this point back to? 


  1. What can we learn from Paul’s ambition in ministry?


  1. How does Paul explain his delay in coming to Rome? 


  1. Why do you think Paul talked about the Gentiles being brought to obedience in verse 18 instead of the Gentiles being brought to faith (look up Romans 1:5 and 16:26)? How are obedience and faith intimately connected? 


  1. What do we see about Paul’s love for people in his expressed desire to visit the believers in Rome? What can we learn from this? 





ROMANS 14 - Thursday, 6/8

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Psalms we will sing together: 

Keystone Text: Romans 14:19 - So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. 

Romans 14 is all about unity. Unity in the body of Christ is so important. And what is particularly put forward is we should pursue unity when it comes to secondary matters, disputable matters, issues of conscience. Paul uses the examples of eating and drinking as well as observing certain days. Some can eat meat and drink wine with a clear conscience, Paul says. While others cannot. Some see no difference between this day and that. Others esteem one day above another. It’s important to keep in mind, How should we pursue unity in light of some different opinions about matters of conscience? Paul gives us some important insight here. There are two general sections that help us in this regard. Pay close attention to how Paul uses the word “faith” in this chapter. It seems clear he is not talking about personal, saving faith in Jesus Christ, but more like what verse 5 says: “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” that what he does is legit before God. 

In the first twelve verses, Paul’s message is “don’t pass judgment on your brother on such matters”. Don’t pass judgment. Each Christian needs to be fully convinced on such issues in his own mind and each will stand before his Master and be judged. So who do we think we are passing judgment on things the Lord has not called sin? And this goes both ways. The one who is “weak in faith” and the one who is strong, both alike are to not pass judgment on one another. This is a really helpful application of Mary’s encouragement several weeks back about treating each other as those who are uncondemned, since there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”.

In the second section, from verses 13-23, Paul’s point is that we should work to put no stumbling block before our fellow believers. So the one who is free to eat and drink must consider the weaker one out of love. This is so crucial. One may be free to do such things, but he is not free to be unloving to a weaker brother and thus cause him to stumble. I think we would agree that there is a limit. The one who is weaker in faith is not allowed to add commands (“You shall not…”) to what God has given us. However, the stronger believer is called on in some cases, to not exercise his freedom out of love for others. This is really good stuff. Take some time to meditate on the chapter and look through the questions below. 



  1. What are your initial observations on this chapter? 


  1. Why is unity in the church so important?


  1. What are some necessary ingredients for real and deep unity?


  1. What does Paul mean when he describes some as “weak in faith”? What is their weakness concerning? 


  1. How should we behave toward one another when it comes to disputable matters?


  1. What are some examples of such secondary, disputable matters?


  1. Why is judging a fellow believer in Christ on matters of eating, drinking, day observance, etc. so wrongheaded (follow Paul’s logic in v. 6-12)?


  1. How does the preeminence of love fit into the stronger believers' response to the weaker? Are there limits to what the one who is weaker in faith should expect or demand? 


  1. How does our keystone verse (v. 19) bring together the central emphasis of this chapter on unity in the body and matters of conscience?


  1. What is the significance of the last phrase: “For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” for all of our lives?





ROMANS 13 - Thursday, 6/1

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Psalms we will sing together: 

  • Psalm 3 - Before The Throne
  • Psalm 121 Amazing Grace
  • Psalm 119 (verses 9-16) - O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing
  • Psalm 103 (verses 1-12) - Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee

Keystone Text: Romans 13:8 - Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.

The thirteenth chapter of Romans lays out some very practical instructions for the Christian life. This is what a life of worship - offering our entire bodily existence as living sacrifices to God - looks like. These are the effects of the transformation of a renewed mind. And so Paul focuses on four important areas of life. 

First, we are called to submit to governing authorities. This passage must not be absolutized, since the authority of Christ alone is absolute. Nevertheless, obedience to those who rule over us in government is to be our default posture. 

Second, commands us to love our neighbor, because love fulfills the whole law. And this is why the only thing we are to owe anyone is a debt of love. It’s interesting to note that Paul draws out how practical love is by asserting commands 4-10 in the ten commandments are actually all about loving your neighbor. The law, truly understood, shows us the path of love. 

Third, our lives must be characterized by godly conduct in the light of truth. We have been brought out of the darkness of ignorance and so our lives are to reflect this. We must “cast off the works of darkness” and “walk properly as in the daytime…” 

Finally, and perhaps the summation of one through three, we are commanded to “put on Christ”. Since Paul is speaking to Christians, this seems to be something we do, not once, but continually. Put on Christ, clothe yourself with Christ, and snuff out the flesh and its desires. 



What should our default disposition be to ruling authorities? 


Why should we submit to those who rule over us in government? What are the reasons given?


Governing authorities are described as servants of God. How should they serve God’s purposes?


Paul says “Rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” Who defines good and bad conduct? 


What if governing authorities do the inverse - punish good and reward evil?


What does it mean that “we owe love to one another”?


Why must the love of our neighbor(s) be central to all our lives? 


Why does Paul enumerate some of the ten commandments and then say all “are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself?’”

In what way, then, is God’s law still binding on us?


In verses 11-13 Paul gives further reason to live a godly life. What do you think the phrases “wake from sleep” and “the night is gone, the day is at hand” elude to? 


How do we “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”?




Romans 12 - Thursday, 5/25

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Psalms we will sing together: 

Keystone Text: Romans 12:1-2 - I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

As we have made our way through the first eleven chapters of Romans, we have plowed our way through some serious, deep, and wonderful theology: union with Christ, justification, sanctification, adoption, original sin, sin, election, and more! As we move to the final section of Romans - chapter twelve through sixteen - we get to where Paul wants to lay down some serious application to what we have learned. 

Chapter twelve begins with an appeal based on the massive mercies of God. He says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God…” I think this is Paul’s way of saying, “In light of all that we have covered up to now in this letter of Romans, the great mercy God has shown us in Christ”, then he gives an all-encompassing commands to present “you bodies as a living sacrifice” and to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Paul is calling for a total transformation, not just in our position and standing in Christ, but also in our response to the mercy of God. 

Doug Wilson says something like, “Our theology should come out of fingers and toes”, and that’s what we see here in Romans 12. What we believe should come through in what we actually do with our hands, toes, eyes, lips, etc. The fact that God has been so merciful to us and has made us vessels of incalculable mercy, prepared beforehand for glory, should impact our lives in significant ways, such as:

  • Giving our entire selves to God as a pleasing offering. (v. 1)
  • Refusing to fit into the mold of this world, but renewing our minds in God’s truth. (v. 2)
  • Humbly using the gift(s) God has given us for the good of others in the body. (v. 3-8)
  • Cultivating the character qualities of a true Christian. (v. 9-21)


Let’s dig into this text and pray that God does his great work through his Spirit and word! Also, work on the memory text. 



Paul begins the chapter with a strong appeal based on the mercies of God. What are these mercies that we have seen so far in the book of Romans? 

Why does Paul use the language of sacrifice: “present your bodies as a living sacrifice”? 

What do you think Paul means when he says, “present your bodies”? Why is it important that our bodies are presented to God? 

How are our minds renewed, resulting in true transformation? 

Why is mercy such a potent motivation for the Christian? 

What is the body/member metaphor meant to communicate in verses 3-8?

How can you and we as a church grow in functioning as one body with many interdependent members?

Verses 9-21 show us many marks of a true Christian. What stands out among these to you? What, if anything, do you want to grow in? 

How do we approach the commands found in verses 9-21 in the strength of the Spirit instead of just another list of laws?  


The way the chapter ends is so powerful. Do not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good. What are some practical ways we can overcome evil with good? 




Romans 11 - Thursday, 5/18


  • Psalm 144 - I Sing the Mighty Power of God
  • Psalm 8 - Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  • Psalm 126 - Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
  • Psalm 46 - O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Keystone Text: Romans 11:33 - Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 

Romans 11 is a remarkable chapter as it unfolds God’s merciful and wise plan to bring in the fullness of the Gentiles as well as save “all Israel”. Even though this chapter presses upon us some truths that are difficult to receive, it reveals to us the big picture of what God has been and is up to in redemptive history. 

God grants mercy and hardens for the purpose of working out his plan to save his elect from among the Jews and Gentiles. For Paul, the outcome of God’s eternal plan is unspeakably glorious which he is why he ends with perhaps the highest doxology in the NT:

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” 35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

My prayer is that we may have the same response as we pray over, study, meditate on, and discuss this passage together. 


What impact should this chapter have on our view of the Jewish people?

Why does Paul ask if God has rejected his people in verse 1? 

Paul’s answer to the question is an emphatic “By no means!” How would you explain his answer in verses 2-6? 

What two broad categories do the Jewish people fall into in verse 7? How does this connect with what we have seen earlier in Romans? 

What is God’s purpose in Israel’s rejection (verses 11-15)? 

How does Paul see his ministry to the Gentiles as an indirect blessing to Israel? 

Why is Israel’s full inclusion important for us Gentiles? 

What are the root, wild branches, and natural branches referring to in verses 17-21?

Why is it important to hold together the two truths of God’s electing grace and our responsibility to believe and “stand fast through faith”?

Paul says, “Note then the kindness and severity of God.” Why must we remember both God’s kindness and severity?

What is the heart of the mystery Paul reveals in verses 25-26?

Why does Paul explode in joyful praise in verses 33-36?


How is free grace highlighted in the unfolding of God’s plan in Romans 11? 





Romans 10 - Thursday, 5/11


You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Keystone Text: Romans 10:17 - So faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.

Romans 9 ended by emphasizing the importance of human response to the gospel. This is the clear emphasis in Romans 10 as well. It is true that God chooses those whom he will save, but he uses means to bring them to saving faith. One of those means - perhaps the main is hearing the gospel. Our keystone text says, “So faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” 

The chapter begins, like chapter 9 did, with another passionate yearning from Paul for the salvation of the Israelites. He affirms their zeal for God but demonstrates that they have a significant gap in their knowledge of God and as such attempt to gain righteousness through the law rather than by faith. 

Verses 5-13 contrasts the righteousness based on the law and righteousness received by faith. The one requires a perfect obedience - the one who does the commandments shall live by them. The other - the word of faith - trusts in Jesus Christ alone. It is the confession of Christ as Lord and belief in his resurrection that truly saves. 

Finally, the last section from verses 14-21, give one of the clearest explanations of how people get saved in all the bible. It starts with a series of four rhetorical questions, and the final link is the keystone memory verse: “So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” How is a man saved? He needs to hear the gospel. The faith that saves comes by hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Brothers and sisters, let’s dig into this passage and pray that the Lord would stir in our hearts a deep desire and effectiveness in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of souls. 



What are your initial observations from Romans 10? 


Paul again expresses his desire that the Israelites would be saved. Why is it important that we see Paul eagerly longing for the salvation of a group of people who had harmed him so much? 


Paul says that they have a “zeal for God, but not according to knowledge”. What knowledge did they miss? Do you think this is relevant today? If so, how? 


What does verse 4 mean? Why is this unspeakably great news?


What is the fundamental difference between the righteousness based on the law and that which is based on faith? 


Why is the confession “Jesus is Lord” so fundamental to the Christian? How does the lordship of Christ fit with the idea of being saved by faith alone? 


Who does God bestow the riches of salvation upon according to verse 12? Why is this an important distinction to make? 

What does it mean to “call upon the Lord”? 

Why does Paul ask the series of four parallel rhetorical questions in verses 14-15? 

What is the important connection between faith and hearing the word of Christ? How does this press upon us the importance of speaking the good news? 





Romans 9 - Thursday, 5/4


  • Sing Psalm 100 (O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing)
  • Sing Psalm 3 (Before The Throne of God Above)
  • Sing Psalm 19 (O Worship The King)
  • Sing Psalm 126 (Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus)

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE


Keystone Text: Romans 9:15-16 - 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. 

Romans 8 takes us to the heights of divine revelation, in my opinion. Romans 8 causes us to soar with joy and hope and deep assurance in all that God has done for us in Christ.. Romans 9 is and always has been deeply challenging. It gives us a view of God that we would never naturally accept. It really does take the help of the Holy Spirit to shine the light of revelation and open our hearts to receive this glorious truth.

Someone much wiser than me has said that for Christians, there can be no problem passages. Once we understand what a text is teaching, our response must be one of “trembling at His word”. I think the key to understanding Romans 9 is to understand why Paul states the following in verse 6:

But it is not as though the word of God has failed. 

For Paul, when he considered the glorious salvation in Christ summed up in the golden chain of redemption (8:28-30) and enormous promise that the elect can never be condemned or separated from the love of God in Christ, it poses a problem. What about the nation of Israel who had (and still does) largely reject their Messiah? Paul longs for their salvation, which he expresses so passionately in verses 1-5. They were God’s chosen people to whom he revealed himself and from whom the Lord Jesus Christ was born according to the flesh. 

Has God’s word failed of promise? No! The answer Paul gives is something we have seen before in Romans. He said, “[because] not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel.” For the remainder of Romans 9 Paul unpacks the truth of God’s freedom in choosing whom he will save. They are called children of promise, spiritual Israel.

This is not an easy teaching to receive, and yet I do believe it is at the heart of the gospel of grace. Furthermore there is no teaching that both humbles the sinner and exalts in the grace of God more. Brothers and sisters, let’s dig in, asking for the Spirit’s help. 


What are your initial observations from Romans 9? 

What can you learn from the way Paul agonized over his lost Jewish kinsmen? 

Why does Paul refer to Isaac in verse 7 as he confirms the fact that God’s word cannot fail? What does this have to do with you? 

According to verse 11 on what basis did God choose Jacob and not Esau?

Paul knows the questions people are going to ask. The first one is “Is there injustice with God?” Why do people (including us) ask this question? 

Paul’s short answer regarding the justice of God is “By no means!” How would you explain his reason in verses 15-18?

The second question (actually two questions) that always gets asked is “Why does God find fault? For who can resist his will?” He gives his answer in verses 20-29. How would you summarize Paul’s answer? 

Paul describes the Gentiles as having attained righteousness by faith though they did not pursue it and yet Israel failed to attain righteousness through the law. What implication(s) do you think Paul is drawing out in relation to his teaching in 9:6b-29?






ROMANS 8 - Thursday, 4/27


  • Sing Psalm 144 (I Sing the Mighty Power of God)
  • Sing Psalm 8 (Come Thou Found of Every Blessing)
  • Sing Psalm 119 - verses 9-16 (Amazing Grace)
  • Sing Psalm 110 (O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing)

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Keystone Text: Romans 8:1 - There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

We have come to, in my view, the most epic chapter in the bible. Romans 8 provides some of the richest promises in all the bible, along with clarity on life in the Spirit for life right now. 

Romans 8 is realistic about suffering, yet reveals the glorious hope we have in Christ to carry us through. Romans 8 overflows with assurance, beginning with “there is no condemnation” and ending with “nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God”, for those who are “in Christ Jesus. 

Please read, re-read, and ask for the help of the Spirit to mine the treasures found in Romans 8. Below are some study questions to help in your meditation.




Why is verses 1-2 such a relief coming out of chapter 7? 

Earlier we talked about how Christ has fulfilled the righteousness requirements of the law for us. What does it mean in verse 4 for the righteous requirement of the law to be fulfilled “in us” versus “for us”?

Why is the mindset so important? 

Compare and contrast the mind set on the flesh and the mind set on the Spirit. What stands out? 

Chapters 6-8 make it plain that we are not to make peace with sin, but rather go to war against it. How do we put to death the deeds of the body (verse 13)? 

Why is it important that we fight sin? (Notice how verses 13 and 14 connect with the word “for” at the beginning of verse 14).

What do you find encouraging about the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in verses 15-17? 

How does the Holy Spirit’s work in you deepen your assurance of God’s love and salvation? 

What do you think Paul is driving at in the section from verses 18-25?

Verses 29-30 have been called the “golden chain of redemption”. Why is this such a precious couple of verses? How does verse 31 make more sense in the context of the golden chain of redemption? 

According to verse 34, why can there be no condemnation for God’s elect? 

Think about how astounding the love of Christ is from verses 35-39. How is it possible to be more than conquerors in trials and suffering through the love of Christ? 




ROMANS 7 - Thursday, 4/20


  • Sing Psalm 110 (O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing)
  • Sing Psalm 8 (Come Thou Found of Every Blessing)
  • Sing Psalm 119 - verses 9-16 (Amazing Grace)
  • Sing Psalm 46 (O God Our Help In Ages Past)

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Keystone Text: Romans 7:24-25a - Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 6 is such a key chapter in the bible on sanctification in helping us understand that sanctification does not begin with our effort, but with our union with Christ. Because we are united to Christ in his death and resurrection, we must now consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then the effort comes. As new creatures in Christ, we are to present our members as instruments for righteousness. Romans 7 continues the theme of sanctification, and adds an important aspect. Here’s how the chapter breaks down:

We have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that we might be joined to him for the purpose that we might bear fruit for God. (v. 1-4)

Before we were Christians, the law aroused our sinful passions which produced death. Now, however, we are freed from the law so that we serve in the strength of the Spirit and not according to the letter. (v. 5-6)

We need to understand the law is not bad or sinful. No way! The law is good, righteous, and holy. The problem is remaining sin that dwells in the believer. The law reveals this sin and also arouses it within us, producing death. (v. 7-13)

The believer is someone who has been made new but still battles the flesh or sinful nature. We still have remaining sin within us, which is why Paul can say things like, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not is what I keep doing” and “I see a war waging in my members against the law of my mind…” Paul clearly is a man who at times experiences great battles with indwelling sin. (v. 14-23)

This intense battle leads Paul to cry out for deliverance from the body of death; the body that still experiences the effects of the fall and has remaining sin in it. The body whose members are engaged in the warfare against indwelling sin and are to be presented as slaves to righteousness. Our keystone text is glorious, because Paul knows who our Deliverer is:

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!



What is Paul communicating about our relationship to the law using the marriage analogy in verses 1-4? 

What glorious effects are produced when we die to the law and are joined to another [husband], namely Jesus Christ? (v. 4-6)

What does it mean to be dead to the law or not under the law? 

Is Paul’s view of the law positive or negative? What problem does the law present to us? 


Does the law have any continuing validity in our lives? If so, what?


What is “sin” (look up Genesis 4:7)? Why is it important to acknowledge the reality of sin and not just individual sins? 

How does “sin seize an opportunity through the law”?


In verses 15-23, does Paul refer to himself as a regenerate man or is this a description of his life before he came to faith in Christ? What in the text leads you to this conclusion?

Why is it important that we understand the way Paul describes himself as a “divided man” in verses 15-23?

Why does Paul cry out for deliverance from “this body of death” at the end of the chapter? What does this tell us about 1) our salvation and 2) our ongoing battle against sin? 





ROMANS 6 - Thursday, 4/13


  • Sing Psalm 144 (I Sing the Mighty Power of God)
  • Sing Psalm 8 (Come Thou Found of Every Blessing)
  • Sing Psalm 119 - verses 1-8 (Amazing Grace)
  • SingPsalm 100 (O For A Thounsand Tongues To Sing)

You can also download a PDF copy of the study guide HERE

Keystone Text: Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Romans 5 was a chapter about the full assurance we have in salvation. Through justification, we have peace with God, access into the grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Justification guarantees and assures us that nothing can come between us and God’s desired end for us.

Though we were once joined to Adam and received from him sin, condemnation, and death. Now through faith, we are joined to Christ. Just as through one act of Adam’s disobedience, we received all that belongs to that man, so now through one act of Christ’s obedience, we receive all that belongs to our Lord - all the benefits of salvation. 

The way chapter 5 ends can and has led to misunderstanding. This is what I mean. If the law causes sin to increase, yet the increase of sin causes grace to abound all the more, it raises a serious question: Isn’t this going to lead to loose, sinful living - a lawlessness? Romans 6 answers this question. But first it asks the question:

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?

If grace abounds all the more where sin abounds, why should a man not be free to sin and be happy in his sin? Paul’s answer has to do with our union with Christ in his death and resurrection. If you are united to Christ in his death, you have died to sin and thus have been freed from sin. Not  freed from the enslaving power of sin. You are no longer a slave to sin (v. 6-7). You once were a slave of sin, but not anymore. But there is more. You have also been united with Christ in his resurrection in which you have received newness of life. So now as new people in Christ, we are to present ourselves to God as alive from the dead and the members of your body to God as instruments for righteousness. 

Then Paul asks another question in verse 15, which he then answers in the remainder of the chapter. Since we are not under law but under grace should we continue to sin? No way! Again in union with Christ, the Christian has experienced a change of allegiances - he has a new Master. Whereas we were once slaves to sin… and obeyed its commands. Now we are slaves to righteousness and are to obey the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the path of sanctification which leads to eternal life. In fact, this is the only path that leads to God’s gracious gift of eternal life. 



How is the process of sanctification presented in Romans 6?

What is the old self and where does it get its animating power? What is the newness of life we now have and what is its power source? 

What does it mean to be dead to sin? 

What does it mean to be “under law” versus “under grace”?

Why is it important to hear the promise: “sin shall not have dominion over you” and also heed the command: “let not sin reign in your mortal body”?

Why is the order important of presenting “yourselves to God” first, then “present your members to God as instruments for righteousness”? (v. 13)

When you feel defeated in your battle with sin, how does it encourage you that “sin will have no dominion over you”?

Give an example of how to “present your members as slaves of righteousness”. 

Why must we travel on the road if we are going to reach the destination of eternal life? 

If eternal life is a free gift, how can sanctification play such an important part in reaching that destination since sanctification includes serious effort? 



ROMANS 5 - Thursday, 4/6 

You can also download a PDF copy of this study guide HERE

Keystone Text: Romans 5:8 - But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

The fifth chapter begins with “Therefore” signaling us that Paul is summing up an argument - presumably the central teaching of chapters 1-4. Remember the book began with the key verse in the entire book of Romans about the power of the gospel to save all who believe. Then Paul started on a large section (1:18-3:20) outlining God’s righteousness revealed in his law as well as his judgment against sin. All, both Jews (those who received the law) and Gentiles (those without the law), are under sin and thus exposed to God’s righteous judgment. 

Next, beginning in 3:21, Paul shows how God’s righteousness is also revealed apart from the law, namely in God’s great act of justifying sinners who trust in Jesus Christ alone. This has taken us through chapter 4 which is entirely about justification sola fide, “by faith alone”. In terms of justification, our works only receive wages, which would mean death. God justifies the ungodly who turn in faith to Jesus Christ. 

So the “therefore” in Romans 5:1 is wrapping up 1:18-4:25, which I think is clear.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Chapter 5 has two main sections: verses 1-11 and 12-21. Verses 1-11 outline the blessings of justification. The first is we have peace and reconciliation with God, whereas before we were at war with Him. The second blessing is hope. Not pie in the sky when we die. But a hope strengthened through adversity which produces endurance and character. A third blessing is the indwelling Holy Spirit - the down payment of the fulness of our future hope. 

Verses 12-21 are spectacular and meant to give us such rich assurance due to our union with Christ. These verses draw out the truth that there are fundamentally two humanities in the world - those who are “in Adam” and those who are “in Christ”. Those who are in Adam receive only what Adam can give which is sin, condemnation, and death. Those who are in Christ, on the other hand, receive what he gives, namely grace, righteousness, and eternal life. The point near the end of the chapter is meant to draw us upward in exultation and praise in the power of Christ’s gloriously superior obedience versus Adam’s failure and disobedience. 


How does justification by faith apart from works give us peace with God? 

Why is it important to recognize that “peace with God” precedes the “peace of God”, though you cannot completely separate the two?

What is hope? Why does hope necessarily follow justification by faith? 

Paul says the reason hope does not put us to shame is because God’s love has been poured into our hearts by the indwelling Holy Spirit. What is the connection of hope (future) and the indwelling Spirit (present)? 

What does the Holy Spirit reveal to us and in us about the love of God? (look at verses 6-8, 10)

The word reconciliation is brought into the discussion. Justification is more of a legal term. How do we normally use the word reconciliation? Why is this an important aspect of the gospel? 

How is Adam a type of “the one who was to come” (the Lord Jesus Christ)? 


Verses 15-17 give us two contrasts to Adam’s work and that of Christ. What important takeaways do you see from what Paul says? 

How does it impact you that in and through Christ grace abounds toward you? 

Toward the end of the chapter, Paul uses the word “reign” twice (v. 17, 21). One refers to those “who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness”, namely Christians. The other refers to grace itself reigning. What is Paul wanting to drive home?


Psalm list for this Thursday: 




ROMANS 4 - Covered on Thursday, 3/30

Keystone Text: Romans 4:3 - For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

As we move into Romans 4, Abraham comes into view for a few interconnected reasons. First, he too was justified by faith. Second, he is the father of all who believe, not just Jews, because he was counted righteous before the sign and seal of circumcision was given. So we too are children of Abraham. Three, Abraham is important because of the promise made to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. 

Of course, we know that the blessing of Abraham comes to the nations through his offspring, our Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the first child of Abraham, Isaac was a child of promise (“called into existence”), every additional spiritual child of Abraham is a child according to promise and called from death to life. 

Near the beginning and end of the chapter, it affirms Abraham was counted righteous by faith. And we can be assured that we too will be counted righteous in Christ by faith. 

Study Questions

What do you observe in Romans 4 (repeated words, phrases, or connections to previous chapters)?

Why is Abraham brought into the discussion? 

The word “counted” (ESV) /

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