To begin to study a book in the New Testament, we should pay attention to a few essential matters which are covered in An essential introduction to Bible study of the New Testament.
With a correct understanding that salvation was accomplished by Jesus alone as recorded in the Gospels, and explained in other books of the New Testament, we can come to study this book of Romans.
Romans is a fundamental epistle as the exposition of the result of Christ’s work: His death and Resurrection.
The Romans is also an exaltation of the center of the Truth — salvation by God’s grace, not by man’s work.
In Romans, we will find the Holy Spirit carefully and thoroughly explain the result of the glorious work of grace by Jesus Christ, by which man is placed on an entirely new ground with God in reconciliation with Him, as well as the development of the counsels of God in Christ, according to which this new world is established and ordered.
In Romans, apostle Paul, under the guidance of Holy Spirit, reveals the true righteousness before God, the ground on which a man can be truly righteous before God.
But before one can come close to that wondrous righteous ground, one must come in agreement with apostle Paul’s prerequisite conclusion about man’s natural condition: no one is righteous, not even one. If we quarrel with the Holy Spirit on this basic point, we cannot possibly get much further with the book of Romans.
Having concluded that all men are sinners before God, it would suddenly become a most improbable thing for men to then become righteous before God, even receive the very righteousness of God Himself. That a sinner may become righteous before God is thus a great miracle that a man’s heart can perceive and man’s spiritual eyes can see.
Being slaves of sin and death, our only hope is a victory over Satan. It would have been a hopeless battle if it were pitched between Satan and man. Who can be the victor to save us from sin, the agent of Satan? In our lives, we have heard about victories of great heroes, but all that have been accomplished by these heroes are just victories over their fellow men or at best over his personal adverse conditions. Their victories may be inspirational to us, but one man’s victory, no matter how just and grand it may appear, is no gospel of salvation to others.
But thank God that Jesus Christ fought and won the battle on our behalf. In the gospel, we have already learned that Jesus Christ has overcome the enemy. The enemy He faced was Satan the very author of death himself. There has been no true victory other than the Victory by Jesus Christ. This is the only victory that one can trust and rely on for a matter as serious as eternity.