ONLY JEWS CAN EVER BE GUILTY OF TRANSGRESSING THE LAW- ROM.2:14,4:15- so it helps a great deal to know who Paul was writing TO in Romans

Who is Paul writing TO in Romans? Do you think his instructions were for the whole assembly at Rome? Or was it directed at a specific group of people there? Does Paul write TO everyone when he writes to the assembly at Rome? How can we know for sure?

To find this out we need to be able to "rightly divide the word of truth" as Paul says in 2 Tim.2:15 we must. So that we do not make the kind of mistakes Peter says in 2 Peter 3:16 those do who wrest Paul's teachings to their own destruction.

So this message is not just about what Paul was teaching in Romans. But, it is also to show to whom it was being taught. This question needs to be answered so that we can know what Paul's intentions are. And yes, who it is written TO is absolutely necessary for determining this.

Because Jews vs the other nations in regard to starting points as far as witnessing goes is vastly different. Because Jews already had a covenant with God before Jesus came. And the rest of the nations(gentiles) did not.

All scripture is written FOR all people. But, not all scripture is written TO all people. A really great example is the letter TO the Hebrews. First, in the title we see exactly who it is written to, right?

And in this letter we also see over and over again references to how the things in the law were fulfilled by Jesus. And how Hebrews needed to see the difference between how they lived while under the law compared to life in the Spirit.

And in Romans if he is writing to all people in the assembly of the called out ones, God's eklesia, then what he has written will speak to circumstances experienced by all people.

But, if he is writing to a specific group of the assembly, Jew or gentile, ie people of other nations, then what he has written will speak directly to them about their specific circumstances. To show them how salvation comes to them and for them.

In a conversation I once had with a man that was certain that Paul was writing to gentiles in Romans he thought he had the evidence for this in Rom.1:13. The problem was that he misinterpreted what Paul said here to mean that he was writing to gentiles as he had done with "other gentiles". Not realizing that gentiles means nations or peoples other than Jews.

So when Paul said "that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles", he understood this to mean other gentiles like the ones he was writing to in Romans. When what Paul really meant was that now he was writing to the Jewish people just as he had to other nations(gentiles).

We see this in Paul's following statements saying, "I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also."

So clearly one can not deduce from this passage whether Paul was writing TO Jews or TO gentiles. But, as we read the rest of the letter it becomes crystal clear that this letter is written TO the Jewish brethren at Rome.

Clear because when reading the rest of Romans Paul continually makes reference to those who know the law. And to those for whom sin no longer has dominion because they are no longer under law but under grace. And those who God used the gentiles to make them jealous. These are references that can only apply to Jews. Because only Jews were ever under the law and required under penalty of law to keep it. Deut.5:1-3 and ch.28

Recognizing this the rest of Romans will now make sense. Because it becomes clear that what Paul says in the rest of Romans is directed at Jews specifically. And gentiles, or other nations, only indirectly. Making mention of gentiles only as it relates to the Jews Paul is writing to.

Here's an example showing what I mean. In Rom.2:14 Paul says, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves..." he shows he is speaking to Jews about this when he writes in vs.17, "Behold, thou art called a Jew, and retest in the law, and makest thy boast of God..." By saying things like this Paul is making the clearest indication that he is writing specifically TO Jewish believers in the assembly. And not TO gentiles.

Amazingly, we find in each chapter of his letter the same references that show clearly that this letter is directed specifically at Paul's Jewish brethren. And not to other nations. Yet many will still hold to the belief that this letter is written TO gentiles. Or at least to both Jews and gentiles. Even when Paul says most emphatically in Rom.7, "Know ye not, brethren, for I speak to them that know the law, how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?" Gentiles do not know the law because as Rom.2:14 plainly says they do not have the law.

I will now offer in evidence from Paul's letter to the Romans hi lites from each chapter so it becomes even more clear that this is the case. And that this is why Paul wrote this letter to the Jews. So that they would know what Jesus' death has done for them. Here is a set of passages I offer in evidence for this.

Ch.2 "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:...Behold, thou art called a Jew, and retest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,"

(You who are called a Jew is the audience Paul wrote this letter to in Rome. Gentiles are not Jews.)

Ch.3 "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God… for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

(What purpose would it serve for Paul tell Gentiles who were never under the law of circumcision about it's advantages?)

Ch.4 "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?"

(According to the flesh Abraham was the great grandfather to the Israelites who were under the law)

Ch.5 "For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

(Gentiles were never under the law)

Ch.6 "You are not under law but under grace".

(Gentiles were never under the law)

Ch.6 "The wages of sin is death(OT) but the gift of God is eternal life"(NT).

(Gentiles never received the wages of sin and death. This is what the law gave for those who were under it. And Gentiles were never under the law)

Ch.7 "For I speak to them who know the law) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?"

(The Gentile was never under the dominion of the law)

Ch.8 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus(NT) has set you free from the law of sin and death(OT)".

(Gentiles were always free from the law)

Ch.9 "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"

("Us" is "Jews only")

Ch.10 "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved....For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."

(Since the Gentiles were never under the law why would Paul need to say they were not under it anymore?)

Ch.11 "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy."

(Paul here told Israelites why the gospel was also given to the Gentiles)

Ch.13 "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

(These commandments were never given to Gentiles- Deut.5:1-3)

Ch.14 "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."

(The Gentile never thought in terms of clean and unclean)

Ch.15 "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers."

(What profit is there for the Gentile to know this? This is what Jesus told the woman that wanted to receive something from Him when He said He came only for Israelites. Mt.15:24)

With these in mind there can be no doubt as to the audience that Paul was writing TO in Rome. That this audience was his Jewish brethren. And while what he wrote here is instructive FOR all believers. It is written specifically TO Israelites to help THEM see how only by coming out from under the OT law can they receive the life that is only found in the NT.

This is important to know. Because when gentiles realize that Romans was not written TO them they can see that Paul was never placing them under the law. Let me repeat this. This is important to know. Because when gentiles realize that Romans was not written TO them they can see that Paul was never placing them under the law. 

So any application we gentiles might derive for ourselves from this letter must be as these instructions would apply to someone who has never been nor ever will be held to account by God for keeping the law.

And how because of Christ, rather than only Jews having a covenant with God, both Jew and gentile have access to God's grace for deliverance from death to life. From mortality to immortality. From being only natural, flesh and blood, a living soul,. To being a living spirit like Jesus was when He came 2000 years ago.

Paul shows us this in Eph.2. Where if we will rightly divide the word of truth we will see that Paul is writing to the Jew first. Then to the gentile. Then to both.

TO Jews he says,

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."-(because they were under the law)

And in vs.11-13 speaking now specifically to gentiles he says, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise(which was the law because gentiles were never under the law), having no hope, and without God in the world:

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off(afar off as other nations who had no covenant with God) are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

And now in vs.14-18 speaking to both Jews and gentiles Paul says, "For he is our peace, who hath made both(Jews as well as gentiles/other nations) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."

So this is Paul's message if we will learn to rightly divide the word of truth. That Jews who are by nature children of wrath because they were under the law will turn from righteousness that comes through the law to the righteousness that is by faith without works. And that the gentile, other nations, who were and never will be under the law will turn from idols to trust in the true and living God. And that because the wall that is the law that separated the Jew from the gentile is broken down these are both made one new man, a living spirit, when they trust in Jesus.

So if we will confess Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that He is raised from the dead we shall be saved. Rom.10:9,10. And if we will turn from idols to serve the living and true God we will be saved. 1 Thes.1:9

Do this and you will have eternal life. Do this and you will be immortal. Do this and you will become a spiritual being. And therefore child of God and heir to His kingdom. Do this... and I will see you there or in the air!

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