Through the Bible in One Year

Day 247

Romans 1:8-17

Yesterday, we saw Paul introduce himself to the Roman church.  And in that brief introduction of himself Paul briefly outlined the who of the Gospel.  And, now today we are going to conclude Paul’s introduction to the Roman church.  We are, also, going to see, just like yesterday, Paul give a another brief outline of the Gospel, but this time he is going to outline the what of the Gospel.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”—Romans 1:8-17

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.—1:8-10

Paul’s ministry involves not only preaching the Good News and founding churches but also persevering in prayer for them.  This is not something only for apostles; Paul urges believers to pray for ministers like himself (Romans 15:31) and gives wider instruction: pray for all the Lord’s people (Ephesians 6:18).

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.—1:11-15

Paul had planned to visit the Romans earlier.  Because he had been taken up with extensive proclamation of the Good News in areas east of Rome, however, he had not been able to visit.  Eventually, Paul’s prayer was answered in an unexpected way: he was sent to Rome as a prisoner.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed —a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”—1:16-17

In Romans 1:3-4 Paul outlined the who of the Gospel: it is about Jesus, who is both the son of David and the Son of God.  Now Paul sums up the what of the Gospel.  Paul gives a compressed summary of the Good News, cramming into two verses what he will expand on in the following chapters.  The Gospel’s nature is the “power of God.”  The same power in the creation of the world or in raising Jesus from the dead it at work when we feeble human beings share the Gospel.  Its reach is global.  Though Jews (who heard the Gospel first) and Gentiles may sound to us like only two nations, they represent all nations.  “Gentile” here means anyone who is not a Jew.  There is no part of the world too obscure or too lost for the Good News.  The means of receiving this Good News is believing—trusting God and believing God’s promises about Jesus.

In addition to the Gospel’s nature, reach and means, Romans 1:16-17 spells out three effects.  One effect is righteousness.  Paul will expand on this later, but in brief, “righteousness” refers to the status of having obeyed all of God’s requirements (Deuteronomy 6:25).  The miracle of the Good News is that though outside of Christ we are ungodly sinners, God views us as righteous: our status is as if we had completely fulfilled God’s will (Romans 4:5).  The root word for “righteousness” is the same as the verb “justify.”  God has already given us this justified status.

A second effect is salvation.  Though in theology and common Christian language “salvation” is quite a general term, Paul usually means it in a more specific sense.  He normally means by it not what God has done for us but what God will do.  The next two references to the word in the letter come in Romans 5:9-10, where Paul says that “we will” be saved from God’s wrath.  Salvation in the Bible is salvation from something, and when we appreciate that it is being saved from God’s just anger against us, we see how wonderful it is.

The final effect is confidence, which comes from this knowledge that God will save us in the end from the coming judgement.  Paul says he has no reason to be ashamed (1:16a).  He and we may have short-term concerns, but ultimately we have assurance of God’s love, protection and gift of eternal life (2 Timothy 1:12).  Paul has that confidence not because he is an apostle but because he is a Christian.  He says he is confident not because God appointed him as a chosen vessel but because the Gospel is the power of salvation.  Therefore, we can have that same confidence.

Romans 1:17 closes with a guarantee.  Paul grounds from the Old Testament the truth that Christians have righteousness from God through believing: “The righteous will live  by faith” (citing Habakkuk 2:4).  Paul has already stated that the Good News was promised through the Old Testament prophets (Romans 1:2), but this is Paul’s first specific quotation from the Old Testament in Romans.  The doctrine of justification by faith is not Paul’s idea but was announced by God centuries before Paul.  And that is where we will pick up tomorrow as we move into the first doctrinal section of Paul’s letter to the Roman church.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

Ecclesiastes 10-12, 2 Corinthians 8:1-15, Psalm 49:1-20 and Proverbs 22:20-21

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation

Make a monthly donation

Make a yearly donation

Choose an amount

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount

$

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

Your contribution is appreciated.

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Leave a Reply