We have seen that God is revealed progressively throughout the book of Romans. God is revealed in twelve situations in Romans.
First of all, Romans shows us God in His creation (1:19-20). God is invisible; yet the invisible things of God, such as His eternal power and divine nature, are clearly seen, being apprehended by means of the things created by Him.
Secondly, Romans unveils to us God in condemnation (Rom. 2). After being created, man fell and became sinful. This brought in God’s condemnation.
After this, Romans presents to us God in redemption (Rom. 3). God’s condemnation reveals man’s need of salvation, but for the righteous God to save sinful man, redemption is needed.
After redemption, God is revealed in justification (Rom. 3—4). God is righteous and He cannot be unrighteous. The redeeming death of Christ has fulfilled and satisfied God’s righteous requirements for us sinners. Hence, the redemption of Christ not only affords God the righteous ground upon which to justify those who believe in Christ’s redemption, but also God Himself is bound by His righteousness to do so.
Following this, God is seen in reconciliation (Rom. 5). We were not only sinners, but also enemies of God. God’s justification is based upon Christ’s redemption and issues in His reconciliation. Here we joy in God and enjoy God in all that He is to us.
More than this, God is realized by us in our identification with Christ (Rom. 6). God has not only reconciled us to Himself, but has also identified us with Christ. We were born in Adam, but God has transferred us from Adam into Christ. In Romans 6 God has become the God in identification, having accomplished a great work in order to make us one with Himself. God has identified us with Himself in Christ.
Romans also shows that God is experienced by us in sanctification (Rom. 6 through 8). He has made us one with Christ so that we may be sanctified not only positionally, but also dispositionally. Identification thus issues in sanctification. In sanctification, He is the God in our spirit. The very God who created us, redeemed us, and justified us is now in us! He is no longer merely objective to us, but He is very subjective. He is no longer just in the heavens, far away from us; He is now right within us, in “our spirit” (8:16).
Romans also reveals that God is enjoyed by us in glorification (Rom. 8). He has foreknown us, predestinated us, called us, and justified us. He is now sanctifying us and He will glorify us (8:29-30).
Moreover, God is further revealed to us in His love that secures our destiny (8:31-39). In justification He has made us partakers of His righteousness, in sanctification He is working His holiness into our being, and in glorification He will bring us into His glory. His love is the security of all these things.
God is also seen in His selection (Rom. 9 through 11). It is not that we have selected Him, but rather that He has selected us. His selection is our destiny. In His selection we have been destined to have a share, a portion, in Him.
Eventually, God is glorified in the Body of Christ (Rom. 12). In chapter twelve God is in the Body. He is not only God in the spirits of the believers, but God in a corporate, collective entity.
Finally, Romans unfolds to us that God is expressed in the church life (Rom. 16). The Body of Christ is spiritual and universal. It has to be expressed practically in various localities as churches. God is expressed in Christ, Christ is expressed in His Body, and the Body of Christ is expressed in the churches. As we come to Romans 16, we discover that God is in the local churches. On the one hand, God is in our spirit; on the other hand, He is in all the local churches.
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