To write about Paul’s letter to the Romans is not an easy responsibility, and I have delayed it for many years. When I wrote the Institutes rfBiblical Law, I had kept my convictions in some abeyance for many years. This was not for lack of any belief in the validity of the law. As an Armenian whose family background was in a very old and conservative part of Van Province, I grew up into an acceptance of God’s law as man’s way of life. I have always found it strange that people who call themselves Christians can be so casual in dismissing God’s law. Diet is a minor aspect of the law, but even here G o d calls the unclean animals an abomination, i.e., filth, a religiously banned, abhorred and idolattous thing. However, I waited many years before writing on the law.
I have be= no less certain that the meaning of Rnmans has only be= scratched heretofore, but I have waited until I have aged more than a little before saying so. I do not disagree with the liberating power of the Reformation interpretation, but I believe that it provides simply the beginning of our understanding of Rnmans, not its conclusion. I have waited many years, because time often (and, hopefully in my case) gives more understanding, learning, and patience, and I ttust I have gained, by God’s grace, a measure of these.
The great problem in the church’s interpretation of Scripture has been its ecclesiastical orientation, as though God speaks only to the church, and commands only the church. The Lord God speaks in and through His word to the whole man, to every man, and to every area of life and thought. The Bible is God’s word for man in his family life, in church, state, school, business, the arts and sciences, law, economics, politics, and all things else. We cannot claim to affirm God’s sovereignty, or believe in the lordship of Jesus Christ, if we limit God’s word to the church. This is box theology, and it is blasphemous. To assume that the triune Creator of all things is in His word and Person only relevant to the church is to deny His lordship or sovereignty.
If we turn loose the whole word of God onto the church and the world, we shall see with joy its power and glory. This is the purpose of my brief comments on Romans.