Read Romans 1:1-17
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation
of everyone who believes, first for the Jews, then for the Gentile. For in the
gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness
that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written:
“The righteous will live by faith.”
Going Deeper: As you read the opening paragraphs of Paul’s letter to the Romans, you immediately recognize the apostle’s emphasis on “the gospel.” In the first seventeen verses of this introductory section alone, the word “gospel” is used six times. “Gospel” is not only the theme of these first few verses, it is not just the touchstone of the entire letter, it is ground zero for Paul’s life. The Apostle Paul is simply enthralled with the gospel!
And why not? It was Paul’s Damascus Road encounter with the Subject of the Gospels that radically and instantaneously transformed his life from Jewish zealot to zealous Christ-follower. (Acts 9:1-6) Overnight, Paul went from pious Jew and persecutor of Christians to preacher of the Christian message. No wonder Paul declared, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” If the gospel could save a religious thug like Paul, then that same righteousness from God could certainly be revealed to anybody and everybody!
But just what is “the gospel”? The word itself comes from the Greek word, euangelion, which means “good message” … the good news! And what good news it was to Paul, and to everyone who hears and believes it, for through the resurrected son of God, Jesus Christ, Almighty God has revealed that his very righteousness can be imputed to thoroughly and hopelessly sinful mankind, thus bringing even the worst sinner into a right relationship with God himself. Good news? You bet, for nothing less than eternal salvation is imparted to people worthy only of eternal damnation.
Furthermore, this imputed righteousness that brings eternal salvation is free of charge to sinful man. Man can do nothing to earn it, and can never be holy and good enough to deserve it. This, too, is good news. You see, God’s righteousness covers man’s sin at the expense of another—Jesus. And it is only by faith—another key term in Paul’s letter, used in these opening words four times—that God’s righteousness is received. Simply by believing, accepting, receiving and submitting to the gospel—both the Subject and the Predicate, the person and work of Jesus Christ—one is thoroughly saved for time and eternity. Not by works, not by human righteousness, but by personally accepting God’s righteousness through Jesus’s death and resurrection does faith catalyze the grace of God that produces salvation. It is therefore by faith that the righteous will live—in both the active sense of receiving salvation and walking with Christ and passive sense of being brought into eternal life once this life ends.
And that, indeed, is good news—the Gospel—the best news you will ever receive.
Now that is nothing to be ashamed of! In fact, it is something to be proud of, and to proclaim near and far at every chance we get. For that good news has made you right with God, and it is the only message that will bring salvation to those who were once as you and I were—thoroughly and hopelessly sinful and inexorably bound for a Christless eternity.
If you haven’t shared this good news with anyone lately, maybe you should today. Just unabashedly tell them your story—no matter who it is that God puts in front of you. Even the worst, most resistant, and unlikely sinner falls into the category of “everyone who believes,” which simply means that they, too, can be saved!
So go ahead and deliver some good news. Who knows, you might be telling it to the next Apostle Paul.
“Salvation is from our side a choice; from the divine side it is a seizing upon,
an apprehending, a conquest by the Most High God. Our accepting
and willing are reactions rather than actions.”
This Week’s Assignment:
- Memorize Romans 1:16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.”
- Meditate on what it means and what it took to have personally received a righteousness from God.
- Make a commitment to share “your” gospel with one person this week. Ask God to lead you into a spiritual conversation with the person of His choosing.