â€śI am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.â€ť (Romans 1:14â€“15, ESV)
As one seeks to deliver any message on holy writ, it is necessary to understand the historical context in which the biblical text was written. In the case of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul writes to the Church founded in Rome in and about AD 57 giving instruction to a church of both Jews and Gentile believers. Unlike 1 and 2 Corinthians which follow, Paul is not addressing specific problems within the Church. Rather, he is offering what has been termed a â€śtreatiseâ€ť on the Gospel; a full, deliberate and systematic treatment of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul accomplishes what he states is his desire for the Church at Rome; to preach the gospel to them. The structure of this exposition follows a five-fold layout; the Doctrine of Sin, Doctrine of Salvation, Doctrine of Sanctification, Doctrine of Sovereignty and the Doctrine of Service. Each of these five sections builds comprehensively upon what precedes and moves the reader from the darkness of human depravity to the selflessness of Christian faith. Each section formally begins with a position or propositional question and is followed by a thorough exposition of biblical doctrine which addresses each circumstance. The letter itself is given in a systematic fashion and must be delivered accordingly to ensure the true integrity of its message; it is in fact a letter custom made for expositional delivery. To this end attention will be turned to begin where Paul began; the Doctrine of Sin.
Paulâ€™s Doctrine Of Sin
Paul begins his first section of exposition to the Roman Church by bringing all men under the condemnation of sin. Although Paul does not immediately say this, he does expressly state that the wrath of God is revealed against sin. This use of the word â€śrevealedâ€ť (Ἀποκαλύπτεται) could be taken eschatologically but that does not seem to be consistent with Paulâ€™s purpose in writing; Paul does not teach directly on the last days anywhere else in Romans. What seems to be more in keeping with Paulâ€™s intended purpose is to â€śexpositâ€ť or reveal the truths about Godâ€™s dealing with ungodliness within mankind. For the universality of the gospel message to be properly applied later on, Paul must show that the depravity of mankind is equally universal. He does this as he exposes the truth of God that all men are by nature sinners.