Romans 1:16-17 Part 1: The reasons for the eagerness

I think Romans 1:16-17 has been my favorite part of Romans thus far in my time studying it. Paul leaves off in v. 14-15 speaking of his obligation to preach the gospel. Sure, ANYONE would be eager if his obligation was to serve a king with a message that would incur wrath to the people and to himself if not adhered to (see analogy in previous post). However, Paul gives us a second reason for his eagerness to preach, and it proves that his desire is not only out of obedience and submission to God, but also out of full assurance of the message.

“So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

“For” can be read as “because” (both the same word in greek) so Paul is saying,

“Why am I eager to preach the gospel? Because I am not ashamed of it! Why am I not ashamed of it? Because I am convinced that the gospel is God’s powerful means (and his ONLY means) to rescue mankind!”
(my emphasis)

And that rescue or salvation, is not referring to becoming a Christian, but to STAYING a Christian! The salvation that happens as we are rescued on the last Day from the sinful, decaying world to the kingdom God is preparing! This is third reason for his eagerness to preach to Christians (as well as Christians): to impart the message that the Christian life is a life of obedience of faith, from the day of your conversion until your last breath. The Gospel is the instrument God uses to pay our debts and make us right with him (justify us), and persevere us in holiness and increasing love for the King (sanctification) until the end. Check it out in v. 17:

For in it (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 shall live by faith.

 

God you are provoking in me a great love and eagerness for the Gospel to be proclaimed in my home, in Shelby Park, in the World. I know you are only going to reveal more and more how unworthy I am to be loved by you & someday reign with you in the Kingdom–let alone free from a drop of your wrath! I know that my own resume would never cut it, and I need your righteousness to be revealed and given to me. I’m not fully sure what your righteousness really is or why it is the power behind the gospel, but I want to know, and I want to receive it empty-handed. Help humble me Jesus! Amen.

Romans 1:8-15 The eagerness to preach the gospel

The beginning of Romans is like the introductory paragraph of this gospel of grace, culminating in its ultimate purpose: The obedience of faith (Romans 1:5). Christopher Ash defines this phrase as “bowing a knee in trusting submission to Jesus the Lord, both at the start and all through the Christian life.” This, Paul writes, is for the sake of His name and glory being revealed on the Earth (1:6).

So you would think Paul would go right into expounding his 10 points on “How the Gospel leads us to Obedience of Faith,” but instead he gets all emotional on us, expressing his longing and desire to see the church in Rome, mutually encourage each other, and preach the gospel to them. Paul is teaching us that gospel-FACT should lead to gospel-EAGERNESS for the sharing of faith in community and to the world.

Paul, in this scripture, is an example to us of how we, as gospel-FACT carriers, ought to live in relation to others:

1.He REMINDS his church that MANY are encountering and submitting to the Lord in obedience of faith through the Gospel that they have been proclaiming (v.8). Even with the great responsibility and agenda Paul has been called to, he took the time to point out the ways God is using them in the world to encourage them to keep pressing on in their ministry.

2. He longs to share his faith with them, and them with him (v.11-12). He knows that when we share our faith in community, Jesus is made much of and the church is unified. Instead, when we boast in our accomplishments and works, we puff ourselves up, often leading to envy and strife within the body.

3. Paul’s longs and prays to “reap a harvest” (v.13) of lives changing- both in people converting to faith through the grace of the gospel, and growth in godliness through obedience of faith. Isaiah 5:1-7 describes the harvest: how it belongs to the Lord, created for a specific purpose, growing in justice and righteousness. He seems to desire that for the church and for the rest of the gentile world.

4. Lastly, Paul feels an obligation to preach the gospel to everyone (v.14-15). “Like a city being conquered by a new king, ” Ash describes, “the herald is entrusted to proclaim the new king’s victory and offer of his pardon. The herald owes it to the citizens to tell them quickly, or else they will incur the wrath of the king by not bowing a knee to him and accepting his pardon.” We as believers are called to preach the gospel and be heard by all who are offered the grace of God through faith in Jesus’ death and atonement. Paul likewise, wants to preach to all without distinction, whether wise or foolish, so that any who come empty-handed by faith, will be saved from wrath.

 

Jesus may your prayer in John 17 be powerful and effective in our lives. Let the great truth of your work through the gospel and coming kingdom, make us people who respond in emotion and action. May we be people who build up the church to press ON to holiness and OUT to the world who does not know you. Amen.

Romans 1:1-7 The W’s of the Gospel

In first grade, questions words such as- Who, What, When, Where, Why, Which, How- are extremely important when teaching young learners to write with purpose and detail. Sometimes when a child brings me their story for a conference, we will read it together and it will have tons of gaps and holes and the only way I can understand the story is by asking them questions about what happened. I will then ask them to go back and ask themselves if they have included all those important W’s so that a reader can make a “movie in their brain” of exactly what is going on in their story when they are not there to verbally explain it to the reader.

What a surprise it was to see Paul doing this in Romans 1! When I started my summer study of Romans a few weeks ago, it was important for me to have a good introduction so that I could know exactly what Paul was going to write about.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

What? The Gospel (v.1)
When? Promised beforehand (v.2)
How? Through the Prophets and the holy Scriptures
Who? Concerning Jesus, the Son of God, decadent of David. (v.3)
Because of? His spirit of Holiness and resurrection from the dead. (v.4)
Why? For the obedience of faith in all the nations, for the sake of his name. (v.5)

Christopher Ash defines the “obedience of faith”/the WHY of the gospel as, “bowing the knee in trusting submission to Jesus the Lord, both at the start and all through the Christian life.” If this is the purpose of the gospel for all the world, and if this is what brings glory to Jesus, I am confident the rest of Romans will lead me further into this thesis and bring me to a place of bowing, trusting submission to the will, rule, and love of Jesus for my whole life.