Pastor Falck is the former pastor at St. Luke’s in Grand Rapids and former vacancy pastor at St. Mark’s. Though retired, he continues to write devotions and we are pleased to be able to share them here. This page is dedicated to his new series on the book of Romans. You can email him with feedback or to get on his mailing list, his email is: mhfalck7
Editor’s Note: You can also view our archive of sermons on Romans by Pastor Nitz here. And, you might consider The People’s Commentary on Romans. (Pastor Nitz recommends the People’s Bible commentaries)
PAUL’S LETTER TO THE ROMANS
Why Romans? Why not one of the Gospels? Well, for one – the earliest writings that preached Christ to the early Church were probably the letters (epistles) of Paul. The gospels seem to have come later. The gospels record events in the life of Christ. They are certainly worth our study. But in fact, the “gospel” may be more clearly presented in Romans and Galatians (mini-Romans) than anywhere else. Paul spoke and wrote about “my gospel.” He meant his entire preaching, but the center of it was the gospel. Yes there was law to condemn sin and work fear and prepare hearts for the gospel. But the law is used well when it leads us to the cross and the empty tomb, which are our gospel hope.
What is the gospel, then? It is the good news (this is what “gospel” means) that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. God could save the human race in no other way than to take on human flesh and pay the penalty for sin in His own human body. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike, and no book in the Bible preaches this message and what it means for our faith and life any better than Romans.
In this way the gospel is much more thoroughly presented in this epistle than in the “gospels” that present the details and historical account of the real life deeds and death of Him who is the heart of the gospel message – Jesus of Nazareth. With my next devotion we will begin our journey together through Romans with the very first verse of chapter one. If there are any theological minds who want to share their feedback on this work, please do.
Meanwhile, this is how God chose to present His message – through a real man named Paul to real flesh and blood people in the great city of Rome. They are not so different from us 21 centuries later.
Click on sections of the outline below to view past devotions for that section. The most recent devotions will also be listed directly below the outline.
B. Received through Faith (3:27-4:25)
1. The principal established (3:27-31)
2. The principal illustrated (ch. 4)
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. – Romans 3:27-28
What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” – Romans 4:1-3
Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. – Romans 4:4-5
David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him” – Romans 4:6,7
Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. – Romans 4:9-11
So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. – Romans 4:11-12
It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15 because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. – Romans 4:13-15