The thematic relation between Romans, chapters 1-3
The book of Romans is a letter of Paul to the people in Rome who were the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul was the servant of Jesus Christ who had been sent to spread the good news. The central message of the book of Romans is the Gospel (the word of God). In chapter(1:2-5) Paul introduces the word that he wants to preach as the gospel of Jesus who in his human nature was a descendant of David with whom the spirit of Holiness was declared to be the son of God. The people of Rome who were already believers of the word of God had to be preached to since if they would not hear it often they could not understand it as well. The Word of God was misinterpreted in the sinful nature of humankind when applying to our own lives and that of others hence the need of Paul’s Gospel to the Gentiles and the Jews. Primarily, Paul’s message was the plan of salvation which was universal and righteous (Chapter 1:16-17).
In Paul’s message the main audience was the congregation of the church in Rome which constituted the Gentiles and the Jews. In chapter one, Paul is addressing the Gentiles (1:18-32) and giving them the reasons why he wants to preach the gospel to them. He reveals to them God’s anger against mankind because of their sinful nature despite Gods revelations. In chapter two (1-16), he talks of Gods Righteous judgment against the Jews because of their stubbornness and non-repentance nature despite being in possession of Gods laws. In chapter 2:17-28 and chapter 3:9-20, Paul is addressing both the Gentiles and the Jews, and informing the Jews who brag that they are the Gods’ law keepers yet they do not uphold it that God will bring Judgment against all, either Jews or the Gentiles without favoring either side as He is always justified. He also taught them God’s faithfulness that God is always justified and will bring judgment against the Jews and the Gentiles who are under sin.
In the book of Romans chapters 1-2 Paul has talked about the relationship between the important messages of sin, law and judgment, which makes the two chapters similar. In this chapters Paul is talking about the righteousness of God and the sinful nature of human being. He shows that Human beings are all sinners whether having been given the law as a guide of what to practice like the Jews or having God’s natural revelation to them. He shows not only the unrighteousness of man but also he emphasizes the need of man to be righteous irrespective of the kind of the revelation. In Chapter 3, Paul summarizes this righteousness and teaches that one need to be righteous by being faithful and as it is written that man by faith is justified other than keeping the law only (3:17).
Though the two chapters talks of righteousness, in chapter 1:24-28, God’s wrath is shown as it talks of them being “given over” because of their heart desires. Since they have not been doing what God revealed to them naturally, the wrath they are experiencing is unnatural because of their sins. In chapter two, they do not know they are under sin since their wrath is to come in future (2:5) so they have time to change their ways to that which is dictated in the laws they observe. Chapter three is about both the Gentiles and the Jews that righteousness is not an option but the only way by being faithful through Jesus Christ for one to be redeemed by the grace of Jesus Christ (3:23-24).
Paul summarizes by saying that its all about ones faith that we shall be seen as justified or not.
International Bible Society, The Bible: New International Version