Crash Course In Romans:
Chapter 1 informs us that all Gentiles (all people on the earth who aren’t Jewish) are under the dominance of the sin within them because they reject the amount of revelation they have about God (Rom. 1:18-32).
Chapters 2 and 3 informs the Jews that they are under the same dominance of sin because they have rejected the revelation of God given to them (most didn’t have Faith in the sacrificial system for righteousness). Chapter 3 informs the Jews that even though they were trying to keep the Law and practice morality, their “doing” good things didn’t make them righteous. It also informs us that the giving of the Law was to define and point out sin. Outside of the sacrificial part of the Law, the rest of the Law was to bring about condemnation, not salvation (Rom. 3:19-20). They weren’t supposed to turn the doing of the Law into their salvation, but instead only trust in what the Law (sacrificial system) provided. It provided the forgivness of sin (mercy) and acceptance before God (grace), by the offering of the sacrifice in Faith. The animal sacrifice was the representation of the coming Redeemer’s death on The Cross. Righteousness (right standing) with God does not come by works of the law (Rom. 3:20). Instead, righteousness with God is given according to one’s Belief and Faith (trust, reliance and dependence) in Jesus’ death on The Cross (Rom. 3:22-28).
Chapter 4 reveals that Faith and grace in the Old Covenant was the only means mankind could be in right standing with God. The only righteousness (right standing) anyone can have with God had to be imputed (Rom. 4:5-6). Imputed righteousness cannot be worked for, or it will not be given (Rom. 4:4). You cannot redeem yourself (be pleasing to God through your own merit) or gain favor with God through any type of “works”. Abraham and King David were not sinlessly perfect, but trusted in God’s redemption plan. Thus, they were forgiven and imputed righteousness (accredited a right standing with God as “Law keepers”, instead of according to their own condition which was “Law breakers”) because of their Faith in a coming Redeemer. The Law, or trying to keep it, wasn’t what made either of these men righteous. The Law hadn’t been given when Abraham was declared righteous. And, although the Law had been given and was in effect during the life of David, his “works” trying to keep it was not what made him acceptable to God. Instead, imputed righteousness (grace through Faith) was what David depended on to gain the blessing of God in his life (Rom. 4:6, Psalms 32:1-11). Redemption by Faith has always been the only Way God could redeem mankind and make them acceptable in His “sight”.
Chapter 5 declares that the imputed righteousness described in chapter 4, gives us peace with God (Rom. 5:1). It tells us that this hope and grace is the reason we can rejoice, no matter the circumstance (Rom. 5:2-6). Because of our Faith in Jesus Christ, we will be saved from the wrath of God described in chapter 1:18-32. This means the downward spiral of the sin within us becoming ever increasing, IS BROKEN! (Rom. 5:9). Jesus has reconciled all of humanity to God the Father by His death (Rom. 5:6,11). He suffered the penalty for every sin ever committed, or that will ever be committed (1 John 2:2). Our sin was imputed to Him, and He bore the penalty for it as the perfect Sacrifice for sin. And now, Jesus’ righteousness can be imputed to whosoever will BELIEVE and put their trust in Jesus’ death on The Cross to be The Solution for sin. (Rom. 5:13,18-21). This is what Paul refers to as being “hidden in Christ” (Col. 3:3).