It has been a while since I have written on Romans. I have been chewing on probably the most two important verses of the letter (1:16-17) for many a day now. I have been also trying to determine just how much to write in these posts. I could spend many a post just on these two verses, but I think perhaps three will do.
In this first post I turn to the first phrase of verse 16. but in doing so, we must look backward to verse 15 for the context. Paul desires to come to Rome so that he might preach the Gospel to them. Paul is "eager" to get to Rome and impart his message, or rather the message of the gospel. I find two items of interest as we look backward..
first, Paul wanted to preach the Gospel to those believers at Rome.
These had already heard the Gospel and put their trust in Jesus. What did they need to have preached to them? The Gospel is not only the starting point but it is the totality of the Christian life. How often I forget the Gospel in my daily life. I must continue to look at the finished work of Christ on the Cross daily for my strength, substance, joy, peace and endurance.
Second, Paul would preach the Gospel to the unbelieving
I know that whenever Paul went he took all opportunity to tell unbelieving Jews and Gentiles of the saving grace of Jesus. This would have been the same in Rome. Paul could just imagine the audience that God would give him in such a place as Rome to preach.
Not ashamed of the Gospel
And here is the reason Paul is so eager to preach the gospel to those in Rome. this Gospel radically shook his life on that road to Damascus and he was never the same. I find several aspects of the Gospel that Paul was not ashamed of.
- It simplicity. Paul was so able to explain the Gospel in its simplest terms (1 Cor 15:1-5, Gal 6:14).
- Its folly. Paul didn't care that the gospel was foolishness to those who in the world's eyes are wise (1 Cor 1:18-19).
- Its hardships. Paul didn't care that the gospel caused him great suffering. This suffering was not only physical (2 cor 11) but also handed out by those who opposed his message.
- Its ability to cause controversy. Paul confronted even Peter directly because of Peter's denial of the Gospel truth that it is faith alone that saves and perseveres (Gal 2).
here is a modern day Paul being not ashamed of the Gospel. Franklin Graham was disinvited to speak at the pentagon for the national day of prayer Read about it here at Al Mohler's blog.
So what was it in the life of Paul that made him to be so confident in the Gospel that wherever he went, whomever he spoke to and whatever happened to him the Gospel came out of his mouth?
- the gospel totally and radically changed his life. He wanted that same experience for others.
- The Gospel is the only way to God. It must be proclaimed as such.
- Clinging to Jesus through the Gospel is the only way to live a life of worth.