“In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,” truly a dying world, we have a great faith and hope in our God. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord…We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus…Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Verse 15: The Gospel from Beginning to End
In this first section of the letter Paul identifies four things that he wants to accomplish in Rome:
1) v11 impart some spiritual gift
2) v12 encourage by the mutual faith
3) v13 have some fruit among the Romans
4) v15 preach the gospel
Paul was the “Apostle to the Gentiles” and he was eager to preach the Gospel to the predominately Gentile church in Rome. Follow the thought of “you”:
V7 “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints”
V8 “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all”
V11 “I long to see you”
V15 “I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome”
*Who is the “you” that he wants to preach the Gospel to? The Christians
Since Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to those who had already heard the message and believed we can reason several things:
1) The Gospel involves more than initial conversion
2) The Gospel has an integral part of the Christian’s life from beginning to end
3) The Gospel is deeper than the simple message “God loves you”
4) As one person says, “The gospel includes every aspect of Christian existence.”
The Gospel changes, empowers, encourages, teaches, and influences us forever.
5) The Gospel unites Christians (which the Romans needed)
*Remember that famous verse in 1 Cor 2:2 where Paul says, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
Paul wanted to strengthen believers in their faith. And what is our faith in?
Christ and Him crucified! “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21). Our faith in that atoning, substitutionary work must constantly be renewed and reinforced.
*Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to the believers in Rome like he would new converts.
Verse 16: For it is the Power of God
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel”: Paul employs a figure of speech used to ‘lessen a thing in order to increase it.’ He uses a negative word (“not”) in order to grab the reader’s attention which intensifies his main point. What Paul is saying in an intense fashion is, “I count the Gospel my highest honor.” He is honored to proclaim the Gospel and to suffer for it with full confidence in its power. The Gospel is literally, “good news.” Though we are hard-pressed by this world and despite persecution from the evil one, we are the children of God. “Whoever believes [in Christ] will not be put to shame.”
But this shame issue is important. Remember what Jesus said in Mark 8:38 --
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
Paul would not and could not be ashamed of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation in Him.
Salvation most often refers to the eschatological sense which will only be realized at the Judgment when we will escape the wrath of God, but there is also the sense in the NT that salvation is realized in the present. It impacts our lives today. It matters what you think about death, judgment, and eternity. These things impact our decisions and actions. We are saved from many things here and now such as guilt, heavy burdens, this present wicked age, works of the law, hopelessness and we will ultimately be saved from the wrath of God to come.
Punishment and Hell do not await us who believe.
You see, the Gospel is the power of God that “results in” salvation.
You want to be saved? You need the power of God – The Gospel
In 1 Cor 1:18 the Apostle says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The message of the cross…is the power of God.
The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ who is declared in v4 as the “Son of God with power.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God and that power is available “for EVERYONE who BELIEVES.” The Romans needed to hear that there is unity in Christ… You see, “The Gospel unleashes God’s power so that people [anyone, Jew and Gentile, red, yellow, black, and white], by embracing it, can be rescued from the disastrous effects of sin, being pronounced ‘righteous’ in God’s sight,” though we are not! The Gospel says that Christ has attained righteousness and He freely offers it to all who believe – those who will receive it.
You want to be right in the eyes of God? The Bible says that God takes Jesus’ righteousness and gives it to you if you trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection. “It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
We must note, the Gospel is universal yet particular: “to the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
Verse 17: The Righteousness of God
In the Gospel the righteousness of God is manifest made real. “Righteousness of God” is significant to Romans study because besides 2 Cor 5:21, it is only used in this letter.
*It is an act of God and our status because of it.
The Jews continually looked for the righteousness of God in their behalf as the OT Prophets and Psalmists predicted. Paul announces the coming of the righteousness of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He emphasizes two aspects of this righteousness that weren’t widely accepted:
1. God’s righteousness is an entirely gracious act, only experienced by faith.
2. Anyone, Jew or Gentile, can and need to experience it.
“Faith to faith”:
1. From faith in the Law to Faith in the Gospel
2. The Faith of the Preacher and the Faith of the Hearer
3. The Reference of the Growth of Faith in an individual
4. First faith = God’s faithfulness and Second Faith = Faith of an individual
5. Righteousness is received by faith and has faith, not works
*Probably for emphasis (faith, nothing but faith)
“The just shall live by faith” which is quoted here from Habakkuk is a key Biblical theme.
“Abraham believed and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
We need the power of God actively working in our lives to accomplish salvation for us.
“The Gospel unleashes God’s power so that people, by embracing it, can be rescued from the disastrous effects of sin, being pronounced ‘righteous’ in God’s sight,” – saved from this present wicked age and the wrath that is to come on those who are outside of Christ.
The power of God working in us is a promise of Scripture if we will continue in the faith:
1) “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
2) “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ…”
Receive the Gospel…Believe the Gospel…Feed on the Gospel…Trust in Christ…Do not be ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!