In Max Lucado’s book, In the Grip of Grace, he says, “Romans is the grandest treatise on grace ever written.” Lucado merely echoes a long held belief that Romans is all about grace. Perhaps this lens has hindered our ability to see other points from Romans, maybe even the main one.
Although one cannot tell the importance of an issue by numbers (“love thy neighbor” is only mentioned once in the Old Testament yet is said to be the second greatest commandment), numbers can assist in determining main points.
“Grace” and other words with the “grace” root are mentioned 25 times in Romans.
Faith and belief with their derivatives are mentioned 63 times.
“Righteous” and “righteousness” are mentioned a combined 43 times (all counts based on the KJV, God’s one true holy word). (Yes, that was supposed to be funny.)
Paul has a definite point in Romans and the definite point is not a revelation of something new. Paul has over 60 Old Testament quotes in Romans.
Paul is correcting an error—how to achieve the righteousness of God—that Israel in the Old Testament completely botched and Paul is hoping to keep the New Testament Church from the same error.
To say that Paul is revealing salvation by grace as though this were something new is to show ignorance of the entire scope of the Bible’s teaching on salvation. Romans 11:1-5 makes it clear that God’s grace has always been reserving a remnant of faithful believers.
Grace is nothing new; Grace is as old as God Himself. Romans is not inventing grace, or explaining something new about grace. Paul’s point is to correct ages-old wrong thinking about faith, obedience, and righteousness.
“The obedience of faith” is Paul’s hope for the readers of Romans. Paul even says it is the point of his entire ministry–he received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all nations (1:5). Paul’s main point is the obedience of faith that leads to true righteousness.