The letter to the Romans is not one that we can be casually read or skimmed over. There are deep sayings, teachings, or doctrines found within. Romans was written by the Apostle Paul on his third missionary journey (probably from Corinth) when he was heading back to Jerusalem with money, he had collected from the Gentile churches throughout Asia to take back to the Church in Judea. It is a doctrinal book, and as Martin Luther wrote, it is the “purest Gospel”. It is at its core the Apostle Paul’s theology which is deeply rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is believed to provide the fullest extent of Paul’s theology, but it is not necessarily his complete theology.
If I may mansplain for a moment, theology means study of the nature of God and religious belief. There are multiple themes throughout this letter, so it is difficult to pinpoint one specific theme, but it is widely accepted that theme is the gospel or God’s plan or act of salvation to those who believe & God’s judgment to those who reject it. However, the theme is not just about knowing about the Gospel, it was also Paul’s vision to see the gospel spread throughout the world. According to the ESV Study Bible, “A closer look at Romans reveals another purpose as well (other than the Gospel). Paul wanted the Christians in Rome to rally around his gospel so that Rome would become the base of operations by which he could proclaim the gospel in Spain (15:22–24). If Roman Christians did not agree with Paul's gospel message, especially on the issues being debated among Jews and Gentiles, then they would not support his proposed mission to Spain. Paul needed to explain the gospel in some detail so that the Christians in Rome would become the base from which he could proclaim the gospel in new regions.”
Romans 1:1 - 7
Vs: 1 – 7: Three key statements in this passage…
Paul’s second key statement is that he is called to be an Apostle (his power). The words “called Apostle” are defined as one who is divinely selected by decree of God to be a delegate or messenger. Paul is not a self-appointed Apostle. He is a God appointed Apostle. Being called as an Apostle was imperative to Paul’s ongoing service. He needed to establish his authority to affirm what he is doing was not by the appointment of man, but by the appointment of God.
Paul’s third key statement was that he was set apart for the Gospel (his purpose). According to Acts 13:2 - 3 Paul was appointed or set apart for the purpose of sharing the Good News. The gospel (Good News) was a promise from the beginning and was delivered by the prophets of the Holy Scripture. The Gospel was promised since the beginning of time. We can go back to Genesis 3 and see the salvation message proclaimed by God after Adam and Eve fell in the garden. The Gospel is the message and hope of the O.T. and all the prophets and the forefathers of faith as they eagerly anticipated the fulfillment of the promise foretold to them 1,000’s of years before they came to pass in Jesus Christ. We will look more closely at the message of the gospel shortly.
Vs: 8 – 15: Paul continues as he thanks God for the believers in Rome. Since there were believers in Rome the word was starting to get around about this body of Christ followers and his prayer is for God to provide a way for him to come visit them. If you recall God had hindered Paul from going to Rome, yet he believed wholeheartedly God wanted him to go there (which eventually he did in chains). So why did Paul want to visit Rome? It was purposeful and precise
The Gospel: Nothing to be Ashamed Of
We now get to the theme of this letter namely the Gospel.
Vs 16: Paul declares, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel… Why do you think Paul declares this so boldly? Paul was in some ways “prideful” or “boastful” of the Gospel. The cross of Christ and the Gospel were considered by many outsiders (and even today) to be foolishness. It was considered a crutch, or superstitions, or a fairy tale or just plain idiotic. People who followed the cross were thus considered fools as well.
The word Gospel is derived from the Greek word Euaggeleion (Yoo-ang-ghel-ee-on) which means good tidings or good news. The glad tidings of the kingdom of God that is still to come and also the good news of Jesus the Messiah. Central themes of the Gospel – Ultimately it is salvation through Christ
Many Christians have the idea of salvation wrong. They think that the Gospel is a “get out of hell free” card or is a “fire protection” policy. It is more than being saved from eternal death. It is the guarantee of a fruitful and abundant life on earth and the inheritance of future glory (eternal life). Salvation is for everyone who believes. Saving faith or putting complete faith and trust in God who justifies sinners through the cross of Chris“To the Jew first and also to the Greek” – Salvation (through the Gospel) is for everyone (Jews and Greeks) however this verse means the Gospel was first given to the Jews originally and eventually was made available to Gentiles.
The Gospel and the Righteousness of God
Not only does the Gospel show the power of God unto salvation but also in this Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed. Righteousness – This is an attribute which means all that is right. The Gospel brings light to or uncovers the faithfulness, goodness, kindness, grace, mercy justice and proper(ness) of God. There is no wrong, evil or injustice in Him. God’s righteousness is unveiled from faith for faith.
From faith – God’s faithfulness (he keeps his promises). For faith – The faith of an individual (believing unto salvation) This ultimately means nothing but faith can make us right with God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Since in the Gospel God’s faithfulness is shown and our faith is sustained the end result is living by faith. We are made right with God by the Gospel thus we live by faith. The word live means made alive or enjoy life. We are made alive and enjoy life through faith.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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