The Apostle Paul was deeply upset with some of the members of the church in Rome, because they were teaching that you couldn’t be a follower of Jesus
if you didn’t obey the laws of Moses – the laws which God had told the Jews they were to observe once they were his people. The Jewish Christians were
saying that if you broke the law of Moses, or if you didn’t observe the
traditions and rituals of Judaism – if you weren’t circumcised – then you were not saved.
The letter to the Romans is Paul’s argument that they have so totally
misunderstood the gospel of Jesus Christ that they are storing up
condemnation for themselves! How come? Because the law they insisted the
non-Jewish Christians had to follow is the very law that they had never been
able to keep themselves. In fact, he says, the law was never meant to save
people – God gave the law so that people would realise how far short we fall
of his perfect and good standards. The law is meant to drive us towards God
in recognition that we can’t earn his approval, but must humbly depend on his
The good news of Jesus is that God is loving and merciful! He promised in
the Old Testament to provide the means for anyone who trusts him to be
welcomed into his nation, into loving relationship with him. The good news of
Jesus is that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection are the means God was
talking about. Jesus took on all our sins, our failure to meet God’s standards,
and he took them to the cross, where they were all put to death with him.
Romans 6:1-11 says that if you have been baptised into Jesus, his death is
your death – the old you, with all of your sin, died with him, and it can’t be
counted against you any more.
But that’s not a reason to wallow in sin, to live it up and sin even more! It’s a
reason to leave sin behind for good, and live the new life that Jesus bought for
you – you are now alive with Christ, alive to God, so live a life that honours