Much thought went into what we should call our study from Romans. Integrity is an English word that comes from the Latin word integer which means "whole, or complete."When something has integrity, we mean that it is "sound, or sturdy." Disintegration means "to fall apart." When we speak of the integrity of God, we mean God is upright, sound, and completely holy (a Greek synonym) when He relates to that which He has created. Nobody can ever lodge a complaint against God such as, "That's not right!" or "You have treated me unjustly!" No, God is a God of complete integrity.
He is full of integrity...
- when He judges those who never worship Him (Romans 1).
- when He condemns those faithful to their religion (Romans 2).
- when He pronounces everyone a sinner (Romans 3).
- when He holds you accountable for Adam's sin (Romans 4).
- when He saves a sinner through Christ's righteousness (Romans 5).
- when He gives new life, eternal life, to a sinner (Romans 6).
- when He frees a sinner from the law of God (Romans 7).
- when He places His Spirit in the life of a sinner (Romans 8).
Whatever God does, He does with integrity. He never makes a mistake. He never fails. Therefore when you read Romans, you are really reading a life-changing letter. You are reading the details of what God does in and through a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- This letter has been used by God to change thousands of lives.
People like Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley, just to name a few have come to faith in Jesus Christ through reading or hearing the words of Romans. One of the requirements for Romans to be placed into the canon on the New Testament was that personal testimonies of conversions to faith in Jesus Christ when reading Romans had to be heard by the pastors at the meeting deciding on the canon (A.D. 350).
- This letter has been used by God to change Christians' views of Him.
By nature, people love to be in control. By nature, we like the idea that we are the "master of our destiny" and "lord of our universe." Romans teaches us that not only are we not those things, we are created by a God that does as He pleases—always. Nothing thwarts the purposes of God—even in the area of salvation. He is Lord.
- This letter has been used by God to change Christians' relationships.
The first half of the book is doctrinal. The latter half is practical. Paul will address how we relate to those in authority, to fellow Christians, and even to our enemies. We must not get the cart before the horse by emphasizing Christian duty before Christian doctrine. We will never understand what it means to rightly relate to our fellow man until we know how to rightly relate to God. Next week we begin!