On Easter Sunday, I preached on Romans 8:18-30.
There wasn't time in that service to set those glorious verses in their full context in the book of Romans.
But I obviously made sure I was clear on the argument through the letter, so that what I said about Romans 8:18-30 was not something completely different than what I would have said if I'd paid careful attention to context.
So, here is a very quick tour of Romans 1-8, for anyone looking for a bit of context for some part of the letter.
- Romans 1:1-3:20 — All humanity is under God's wrath for our sin, rejecting his rightful authority.
- Romans 3:21-31 — God gave his son to face justice and wrath for our sin, so that God can justly acquit us.
- Romans 4 — We receive this gift by faith, as exemplified by Abraham.
- Romans 5:1-11 — Even as we suffer now, we have a wonderful hope of glory.
- Romans 5:12-21 — We are now part of a new humanity, with Jesus not Adam as our head.
- Romans 6 — The fact God's grace abounds does not mean we sin all the more. Rather, we are now slaves to God instead of slaves to sin.
- Romans 7 — Yet we still live in bodies that do not do as we want.
- Romans 8:1-17 — We do have the Spirit, who confirms we are God's children, and works to conform us to God's likeness.
Any kind of summary is at risk of over-simplification, and this is no exception. That's a risk worth taking on occasion, because we can see the whole much more clearly when we summarise suitably briefly.
That brings us to the second half of Romans 8, which is there to tell us that God will certainly finish his work in us. Specifically, we can be sure that God will bring to completion:
- … the gift of his Spirit within us (Romans 8:18-27)
- … the predestined purposes of God (Romans 8:28-30)
- … the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-39)
With Trinitarian shape, Paul reassures us that what God did in Jesus, and does as he justifies us and gives us his Spirit to transform us, will certainly be brought to completion.