“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.'” Romans 1:16-17
Romans begins with Paul writing to the Church of Rome, one he had yet to visit. Paul gives them a clear picture of his qualifications. He describes himself as a slave of Christ Jesus, called by Christ, himself, as an apostle, and singled out to preach the good news (v. 1). He demonstrated an authority that could only come from the Lord. He spoke of promises by the prophets in the Old Testament concerning the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who was a descendant of David, according to the flesh, and was declared the Son of God, who was raised from the dead (vs. 2-4).
Here we see an introduction to the doctrine of Christology. Christ was 100% man and 100% God. It speaks of His humanity and His deity at the same time. A Biblical understanding of who Jesus Christ is, is significant because many religions claim to believe in Jesus Christ, yet it’s not the Jesus of the Bible they believe in. We must have a clear understanding that Christ was fully man and fully God. The whole book of Romans is full of doctrine, but there is no coincidence that it starts out with the doctrine of Christology. If we cannot get this doctrine correct, all other doctrine falls short.
Paul was expressing his thanks to those called as saints in the Church of Rome. The news of their faith had spread and was being reported throughout the world (v. 8). Paul prayed that it would be God’s will that he would finally get to travel to Rome and spend time with them. He wanted to strengthen them by imparting spiritual gifts, as well as mutually encourage each other in the faith (vs. 11-12). Sitting under a pastor or elder that preaches Biblical truth and fellowshipping with other believers is crucial to our spiritual walk. We were not meant to live this Christian life by ourselves. We are members of the body of Christ—we need to encourage and build each other up.
Paul was obligated to preach the Good News to Greeks and barbarians, both to the wise and foolish. He had a mission to preach to everyone, regardless of social, ethnic, or economic status (vs. 14-15).
Everyone needs the Gospel. As we go about our daily life, every single person we interact with needs to hear the Gospel. I pray often the Lord gives us saints a boldness to share the Good News with those around us. Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes. God’s righteousness is revealed in the Gospel. We are guilty sinners and cannot stand before God as we are. It’s necessary that He declares us righteous through His Son to be in right standing before Him, and then we shall live this righteousness by faith (vs. 16-17).
This chapter ends with Paul showing the need for salvation, by pointing out sin and the wrath of God that awaits all humankind in their godlessness and unrighteousness. To put it plainly, Paul shows us the bad news before presenting the good news! God’s invisible attributes are evident in creation, so there is no excuse. There is no such person as an atheist, though many people claim to be one. They have no excuse, because evidence of God is clearly seen in nature around them. Their thinking is nonsense, and they have become fools, exchanging the glory of God for other things (vs. 18-23).
God delivered sinful men over to the cravings of their hearts, which are wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). He delivers them over to degrading passions and worthless minds to do what is morally wrong: homosexuality, unrighteousness, evil, greed, wickedness, envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. Gossip, slander, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. They know full well God’s just sentence, deserving of death those who practice these things and applaud others who practice them (vs. 26-32). God’s wrath condemns the sinner, and that sinner has deliberately refused to acknowledge God.
All people need salvation from God’s wrath against sin. We are depraved outside of Christ. This first chapter of Romans, Paul presents the necessary deliverance sinners need to stand righteous before God through Christ, instead of facing God’s terrible, yet justified, wrath.