In working my way through the book of Romans, I am amazed at the depth of the wholeness given to us in this age of grace. Romans is the foundational book of the New Testament. Essentially it is the “bottom line” of basic believing. Ephesians springs off of this bedrock. It is the humility required to walk the ‘walking worthy’ in Ephesian 4:1-3 and the understanding of how God has rescued us (quickened us) as recorded in Ephesians 2:1-5.
There are some very key words repeated over and over again in Romans. Faith/believing occurs 59 times times. Sin appears 47 times. Righteousness/righteous appears 43 times. Justify, justification, judicial sentence is used 22 times.
There is much discussion about justification and righteousness as these words come from the same root in Greek. They are intertwined and in the religious world come loaded with weighty definitions. In regards to the Old Testament Hebrew here’s a quote from Canon R.B. Gladstone in his Synonyms of the Old Testament (quoted in Charles Welch’s The Just and the Justifier):
“It is unfortunate that the English language should have grafted the Latin word justice, which is used in somewhat of a forensic sense, into a vocabulary which was already possessed of the good word righteousness, as it tends to create a distinction which has no existence in Scripture…. No distinction between the claims of justice and the claims of love is recognized in scripture…. We have no one word which can convey the idea of righteousness, and that of justification, as they are set forth in Scripture…. We see the wisdom of God in selecting Hebrew as the means of communication with His creatures, because here the ideas of righteousness, justification, and acquittal all cluster round one verbal root, and are seen to be parts of the whole.”
All these words form the inner and outer structure of Romans. In the outer structure the major theme is justification by believing and righteousness (Romans 1:1 -5:11, 9:1- 16:24). Jew, Gentile, Abraham and David are mentioned in these outer sections. The creamy caramel inner core of Romans is about the first Adam and the second Adam, Jesus Christ (5:12-8:39, 16:25-27) and the result of ‘Sin” (It means the root of sin as being alienated from God. It is used 41 times). ‘Sin’ is used 6 times in the outer sections.