Christian Worldview

Blue World

Romans teaches what human beings are really like and what they need, what God has done to provide a way of escape from our separation from Him, and what a lifestyle that grows out of a Christian worldview might look like.[1] The book of Romans is an occasional letter and not designed to cover a systematic theology[2], however, Paul does presents the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a very systematic fashion. The design of the apostle in writing to the Romans appears to have been: to answer the unbelieving, and to teach the believing Jew; to confirm the Christian and to convert the idolatrous Gentile; and to show the Gentile convert as equal with the Jewish, in respect of his religious condition, and his rank in the Divine favor.[3] This essay will defend the biblical worldview in contemporary culture while interacting with the book of Romans in the areas of creation, sin, salvation, eschatology, ethics, and theology.

Creation

From the very beginning of the book of Romans, Paul states in Romans 1:20 that creation is a witness that God exists and man is in need of Him; “For since the creation of the world His [God] invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Creation reveals much about God. Just like the end product of a craftsman reveals the person, God can be seen in nature (His creation); in this world God can be seen as Paul’s argument states in Romans 1:20.[4] Nature should prompt man to worship the creator. Paul’s words in Romans 1 infer that the revelation of God in nature should have prompted men to worship God; however, instead men chose to worship the creation.[5] The revelation of God in nature is not sufficient to save a man, but when rejected, it is sufficient to condemn him.[6] As in the days of Paul, the current society’s worldview of creation results in the worship of creation and not the creator. Today’s society has morphed the natural man to woman sexual relationship and corrupted it saying man to man or woman to woman sexual relationships are as “normal” as men to woman relationships. Romans 1:20 concludes saying, “so that men [and women] are without excuse.” Instead of people turning toward God because creation; creation will end up showing how guilty humanity truly is.[7]

Sin

The idea of sin in the biblical worldview means to miss the mark or target. A rough definition of sin is anything that replaces God in a person’s life (i.e. money, drugs, sex, self, etc.). Paul believes that sin is revealed by the law of God, but the Holy Spirit enlightens the mind to truly see what righteousness the law demands (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 7:7-20).[8] The origin of sin can be traced back to Adam and Eve and their revolt against God.[9] Romans 5:12 says it best; “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” No passage in the New Testament has had an influence on theology as Romans 5:12.[10] The book of Romans lays out how sin entered this world and the consequences of it to mankind. Paul writes in Romans 3:23 that “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Because man has sinned, each person must pay the sin debt. Paul says that the price that must be paid is death; Romans 6:23a says, “For the wages of sin is death.” Paul wants to show the seriousness of what Adam (the one man in Romans 5:12) did when he fell. He also wants to show that God has made a way for man to overcome the consequences of sin, and this is found in the last half of Romans 6:23; 6:23b says, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus Christ paid the debt that humanity rightfully owes.

Salvation

Romans 6:23b states that eternal life is in Christ Jesus our Lord. The mission of Jesus Christ was to come to be the ultimate sin offering; Roman 8:3 says, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh.”[11] In Romans 1:17 (For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”), Paul introduces the concept of justification by faith but he expands his thoughts in Romans 3:21-23 saying that salvation is based solely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and that the work of the law has nothing to do with salvation. The righteousness of God is available only through faith, and God’s righteousness comes through faith in Jesus Christ.[12] When a sinner-through faith-accepts the work of Jesus Christ, he receives the righteousness of God. Another word for conversion is redemption and after redemption, man becomes sanctified. Sanctification is the progress by which a new born Christian grows into the likeness of Jesus Christ.[13] The process of sanctification is dependent on the Holy Spirit; Paul says in Romans 8:13 that “If by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” Paul is saying in this passage that by the Spirit newly redeemed people are able to grow into the likeness of Christ.[14]

Eschatology

The doctrine of the last things is eschatology. Part of the idea of the last things is that God is working to bring about a new age, and this new age began when Christ rose from the grave.[15] Paul speaks on God’s ultimate goal for man in Romans 8. In Romans 8:28 (. . . God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.), Paul makes a general statement concerning God’s sovereignty and its goal with respect to the Christian. God’s sovereignty assures Christians He is working all things together for their ultimate good. Romans 8:29 expands what Paul has said in verse 28, for in this verse, he sums up God’s eternal purpose for the saints established in eternity past; of God’s goal of glorifying Himself, through His saints who become like Christ. In verse 30, Paul describes the outworking of God’s program for individual saints.[16] With the idea that God began a new age that started when Jesus rose from the dead, the book of Romans shows God’s plan in redeeming mankind. The book of Romans contains important theological concepts which show God’s ultimate goals for man: the righteousness of God, justification, the shift in salvation history, faith, sin, redemption, grace, propitiation, forgiveness, and the justice of God.[17]

Ethics

A layman’s definition of ethics is conducting one’s affairs properly. Paul does address this in Romans 12:1 -15:13 by touching on key areas where Christians need to display a new way of living.[18] Paul addresses general areas of Christian obedience in 12:1-13:14, and touches on a dispute in the church between weak and strong in 14:1-15:13.[19] In the midst of 12:1-15:13, Paul gives the way Christians are able to change or transform their way of living which is found in 12:2 (but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.). By renew the mind in Christ, a person has a new orientation that leads their lives and this new orientation affects their behavior and motives.[20]

Theology

The concept of theology is basically the study of God; His nature and attributes.[21] The book of Romans is based on occasional and not systemic theology; however, Paul does speak on the nature of God and his attributes employing basic theological pattern of Atonement by God, Peace with God, and Dedication to God, as a theological argument is weaved from the beginning of God’s work until the end.[22] The righteousness of God is covered in Romans chapters 3 and 4.[23] Chapters 12-16 lays out the application of the new covenant relationship through Jesus Christ; with chapter 12 discussing the application in the assembly through the spiritual gifts offered in love, chapter 13 broadens the application to submission in love, and chapter 14 applies the law of love in doubtful things and focusing on having the mind of Christ.[24]

The center of the biblical worldview is God and His relationship with His people through the blood of Christ. The center of the worldly worldview is man and how everything affects him (good, bad, or indifferent). Paul mentions the two views in Romans calling them the flesh (worldly worldview) and the Spirit (biblical worldview).[25] The book of Romans lays out the old era verse the new; the old based on the Mosaic Law and the new based on God’s grace provided by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. The Law leads to damnation and spiritual death, while grace leads to justification and sanctification.

 

Bibliography

Barclay, William. The Letter to the Romans. Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1977.

Deffinbaugh, Robert L. “God’s Eternal Decree.” Bible.org. August 18, 2004. https://bible.org/seriespage/18-god%E2%80%99s-eternal-decree-romans-829

 

Deffinbaugh, Robert L. “Nature’s Part in God’s Perfect Plan (Psalm 19; Romans 8:18-25; Isaiah 65:17-25).” Bible.org. May 17, 2004. https://bible.org/seriespage/natures-part-gods-perfect-plan-psalm-19-romans-818-25-isaiah-6517-25

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994.

Henry, Matthew. “Matthew Henry Commentary on Romans.”Biblestudytools.com. N.A. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/romans/

Malick, David. “An Introduction To The Book Of Romans.” Bible.org. July 7, 2004. https://bible.org/article/introduction-book-romans

 

Moo, Douglas J.. The NIV Application Commentary Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.

Silva, Moises. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Douglas J. Moo, The New Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 16.

[2] Ibid, 20.

[3] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Romans. (christnotes.org, 2014), http://www.christnotes.org/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=45&c=0).

[4] William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans. (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1977), 27.

[5] Robert L. Deffinbaugh, “Nature’s Part in God’s Perfect Plan (Psalm 19; Romans 8:18-25; Isaiah 65:17-25),” Bible.org, May 17, 2004. https://bible.org/seriespage/natures-part-gods-perfect-plan-psalm-19-romans-818-25-isaiah-6517-25

[6] Ibid.

[7] Douglas J. Moo, The New Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 60.

[8] Moises Silva, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1367.

[9] Ibid.

[10] William Barclay, The Letter to the Romans. (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1977), 78.

[11] Moises Silva, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1368.

[12] Douglas J. Moo, The New Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 126.

[13] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 746.

[14] Ibid, 754.

[15] Moises Silva, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 433.

[16] Robert L. Deffinbaugh, “God’s Eternal Decree, Bible.org, August 18, 2004. https://bible.org/seriespage/18-god%E2%80%99s-eternal-decree-romans-829

[17] Douglas J. Moo, The New Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 125.

[18] Ibid, 393.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid, 395.

[21] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994), 21.

[22] David Malick, “An Introduction To The Book Of Romans,” Bible.org, July 7, 2004. https://bible.org/article/introduction-book-romans

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Douglas J. Moo, The New Application Commentary: Romans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000), 248-249.

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