Overarching Theme in Romans?

A former student of mine asked on his blog what readers think the overarching theme of Romans is (with the aim of preparing a series of sermons from Romans on that theme). I suggested God’s inclusiveness and impartiality. What would others suggest?

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  • Anonymous

    God hates sin, and he hates sinners, but he’s also predestined people to be sinners, and thus, has predestined them to hell.  They only way to escape hell is to have “faith in Christ”, whatever that means.  Of course, God has predestined those who have faith in Christ to go to heaven.  When I was an evangelical/fundamentalist Christian, I used to love Romans. Now, I see it for what it is.  I know this isn’t the most sophisticated description of the main theme(s) of Romans, but are these not important concepts that are taught in this epistle?

    • BOB

       No, they aren’t.  The day you can really see what Paul is saying is the day you truly cease to be an evangelical/fundamentalist.

  • Geoff Hudson

    Who would have thought that the great theological treatise of the Epistle to the Romans was originally written for a contemporary world of multitudinous spirits?   Such a world would have suited the rabbis who were at home in it (see the article on Demonology in the Jewish Encyclopedia, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com.  Even the two spirits appear in the epistle.  These are the two spirits that God gives to everyone in different measures.  There is the spirit of truth or light, and the spirit of deceit or falsehood or darkness. 

    1.18.The [wrath] {Spirit} of God is being revealed from heaven against all the [godlessness and] wickedness of [men] {priests} who suppress the {spirit of} truth by their [wickedness] {spirit of deceit},
    1.19.since [what may be known about] {the Spirit of} God is plain to them,

    [because God has made it plain to them]. 
    1.20.For since the creation of the world, God’s
    [invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature -]
    {Spirit} [have] {has} been clearly [seen] {heard}, being understood from what he has [made] {spoken}, so that [men] {priests} are without excuse.
    1.21.For although they [knew] {heard the Spirit of} God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their [thinking] {spirits of truth} became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 
    1.22.Although they claimed to be wise, they became foolish   
    1.23.and exchanged the glory of the [immortal] {Spirit of} God for [images] {sacrifices}
    [made to look like mortal man and]
    {of} birds and animals [and reptiles].

  • http://www.simon-cozens.org/ Simon Cozens

    Jews and Greeks are in the same boat, so neither should be acting superior to the other.

  • Bob MacDonald

    The overall theme is in the first and last words: the obedience of faith. (1:5, 16:26) 
    A secondary frame in the whole letter is ‘do not judge’ (2:1, 14:4,10,13,22) . 

  • Nijay Gupta

    God acts, Christ redeems and re-claims, the Spirit indwells and empowers, the Church unites to accomplish the will of God. 

    Something something, apocalyptic, something something, “covenantal righteousness of God”…

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    “something something apocalyptic something something” – LOVE IT!

  • http://twitter.com/RodATJr Rodney Thomas

    I would say Christus Victor as the sign of God’s impartial love and election of Christ. :-)

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath
  • http://lowerwisdom.com JSA

    The theme of Romans is election, predestination, reprobation, and God’s sovereignty. :-)

  • OK

    I think he already ceased to be an evangelical/fundamentalist, that’s why such response.