God's Wonderful News
14I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. 15So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
6Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: 8But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; 10But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: 11For there is no respect of persons with God.
21But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Paul, the author of the Book of Romans, had a great burden for the people who lived in Rome, and chose to carry the Gospel to them but as he thought of Rome and their lifestyle he wondered, would the Gospel work there… would the Gospel be accepted.
The administrative headquarters of the Roman Empire was in Rome. There were wealthy, distinguished and noble people living there. The city of Rome had conquered and now ruled the world. Though the center of learning and culture, the city was at the same time the cesspool of sin.
Paul realized that Rome might well be antagonistic toward him and his message and his Lord. He thought of all the wrath and scorn that could fall upon him for the preaching of the cross would be foolishness to them.
Yet, at the same time, he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, …for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth… Romans 1:16.
The words not only sum up the heart of the apostle Paul toward Christ’s Gospel, but they express a truth that ought to be central to all believers. Like Paul we ought to glory in the Gospel.
The reason for this should be obvious. The Gospel is God’s wonderful news that reveals both His love for us and the details of His all-encompassing plan to bring about our salvation.
Apart from this Gospel we would be separated from God, facing certain judgment and utterly without hope. Nothing else but the redemptive blood of Christ could have changed these circumstances.
The result is that in redeeming us God has freed us from both the bondage of sin and the punishment for sin, so we have a wonderful treasure, truth, to share with the world and a tremendous responsibility to share it.
To Paul the Gospel was exceedingly precious. Its message declared the very thing that man most needed to hear, “the way back to God.” God longs to see His beloved children back in right relationship with Himself and He has made a way for this to happen through the sacrifice of His beloved Son.
Only love beyond comprehension could motivate such a sacrifice, and it is precisely this love which is at the very heart of His Gospel. The Bible declares in
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Throughout His dealings with humanity, God has made faith a requirement before manifesting His power. One thing is clear: when people believe, God works. Faith ignites the Gospel’s power.
A basic Biblical principle is that if we possess any calling, talent or ability, we are to regard it as a trust, and we are obligated to use it for the glory of God and the welfare of others through service. So, that’s what Paul was doing. God had anointed Him to carry the message of salvation.
1Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: 7To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s go back to verses 1-7 of Romans Chapter 1. What are Paul’s credentials?
1. Paul is a servant of Jesus Christ, verse 1.
The word Paul uses for servant would be meaningful to the Romans, because it is the word slave. There were an estimated million slaves in the Roman Empire, and a slave was looked upon as a piece of property, not a person. In loving devotion Paul had enslaved himself to Christ to be His servant and obey His will.
2. Paul is an apostle, verse 1. This word means “one who is sent by authority with a mission.” One of the requirements for an apostle was the experience of seeing the risen Christ.
1 Corinthians 9:1-2
1Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.
Paul, called Saul earlier, saw Christ when he was on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:1-9, and it was then that Christ called him to be His apostle to the Gentiles.
1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me? 5And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
3. Paul is a preacher of the Gospel.
When Paul was a Jewish Rabbi, he was separated as a Pharisee unto the laws and traditions of the Jews. When he yielded to Christ, he was separated to the Gospel and its ministry. He received a message from God.
4. Paul is a missionary to the Gentiles.
Paul’s special commission was to take the Gospel to the Gentiles and this is why he was planning to go to Rome, the very capital of the Roman Empire.
When Paul wrote this letter, he experienced imprisonment and even ship-wreck before arriving in Rome. He asked the believers in Rome to pray for him as he contemplated this trip, and it’s a good thing that they did pray.
5. Paul had the heart of a pastor. He carried a burden and felt that he had a debt to pay to people who were lost in their sin, lacking understanding of Truth.
How could Paul be ashamed of the gospel? The message had come from God and was centered in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is the power of God. Why be ashamed of power?
Power is the one thing that Rome boasted of the most. The fear of Rome hovered over the then known world like a cloud. They had Roman legions stationed all over the known world.
With all his military power, Rome was still a weak nation. No wonder Paul was not ashamed. He was taking to sinful Rome the one message that had the power to change men’s lives.
He had seen the Gospel work in other wicked cities such as Corinth and Ephesus and he was confident that the Gospel would work in Rome. It had transformed his own life and now it could transform the life of others. Paul then knew that no one was excluded from the opportunity of being saved. Christ’s commission was recorded in
Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Eternal life in Christ in one gift that is suitable for all people, no matter what their need may be or what their station in life.
A thought: God does not alter the plan of salvation, but He can alter the sinner so that the robe of righteousness will fit “the sinner.”
Paul’s statement in Romans 2:11, above, (For there is no respect of persons with God) would shock the Jew for he considered himself deserving of special treatment because he was chosen by God, but Paul explained how the Jewish law only made the guilt of Israel that much greater.
In the Old Testament God consistently judged both the sins of His chosen nation Israel and those of the nations which surrounded her. When Israel sinned God lovingly called her to repent and was extremely patient toward her rebellion.
There came a time, however, when the nation had to be punished. God’s holiness required it. He sent the Assyrians and later the Babylonians to be agents of His judgment. Even though He preserved a remnant through captivity, those who rebelled were destroyed.
God has not changed, nor will He ever change. He will always stand against sin and rebellion. What God has promised He will most certainly do.
People often categorize sin according to how it offends them personally. While we separate sins into categories, God is impartial. To Him, all sin is offensive and worthy of judgment.
Sin constitutes rebellion before God no matter what form it takes. God has a remedy for man’s problem (sin) and it is Jesus’ blood.
In dying for us, Jesus brought acceptance instead of wrath, instead of the judgment that we deserved. God has given us eternal life through faith in His Son’s atoning work…available to all who repent of sin and invite Him to be Savior and Lord of their lives.
The result is that in redeeming us God has freed us from both the bondage of sin and the punishment of sin.