Grace in the Book of Romans Part 1 -- By: Roy L. Aldrich

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 097:386 (Apr 1940)
Article: Grace in the Book of Romans Part 1
Author: Roy L. Aldrich

Grace in the Book of Romans
Part 1

Roy L. Aldrich


It has long been recognized that Romans has a peculiar and unique place of importance in the canon of Scripture. Martin Luther wrote:

“Forasmuch as this epistle to the Romans is a light and way unto the whole Scriptures, I think it meet that every Christian man not only know it, by rote and without any book, but also exercise himself therein evermore continually, as with the daily run of the soul.”1

Here Luther calls Romans, “a light and way unto the whole Scripture.” Others have expressed the same thought by calling it the pivotal or foundational epistle of the Word of God.

After the fall of man salvation was proclaimed by God in the promise of Gen 3:15-the seed of the woman was to bruise the head of the serpent. As the history of fallen man continues in the Old Testament, God’s salvation is again and again proclaimed; but it is never completely explained. Job desired such an explanation. He asked, “How should man be just with God?” (Job 9:2). Job did not doubt his own salvation. He knew he was saved by faith and declared, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Still Job wanted to know how a righteous God could justify sinners. Job believed the fact of salvation but he wanted to know the “how” of salvation.

The explanation that Job desired was not given to him, nor was it given to any other Old Testament saint. The

Old Testament will be examined in vain for the complete explanation of the “how” of salvation. The water of life was there for every thirsty soul, but how God could provide it for sinners was not revealed.

When the New Testament books are examined in their present order, the answer to Job’s question is not immediately given. The four gospels present a fourfold picture of our Lord, and tell of his life, death, and resurrection; but these gospels still do not explain the gospel. In them God’s salvation is proclaimed and the way of salvation is made clear, but the complete “how” of salvation does not appear. The book of Acts is a transitional book. It leads out of Judaism into the freedom of Christianity, but even in this book of evangelism there is no systematic explanation of the gospel.

Romans is next in the New Testament and here for the first time in the Bible God’s salvation is explained. Here for the first time, is found a systematic unfolding of how God can be just and the justifier of the ungodly. The books that...

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