Romans 1:16For 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. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."
In chapter 1 we come to what most commentators call the theme of the great letter.
To be honest, I cannot capture all that these two verses imply- but I did enjoy having many of the following points drilled home.
"Not ashamed" is a strange way of phrasing this to me. But if you think about it, our culture pushes us into the shadows of shame if we cling to the message of the cross of Christ. The attack of the post-modern culture is to marginalize, trivialize, attack, and ridicule the things of God. Paul was bold in his embrace of Christ. Things were not different for Christian's then, if anything it was worse. The 1st century Christian faced being kicked out of their trade guild, imprisonment, starvation, persecution, and execution. Think how many times Paul was beaten, stoned, left for dead, put in prison- so for him to say he is not ashamed... wow.
"the gospel' means literally good news. Great news! And Paul never leaves the gospel. Sometimes we relegate the gospel to a children's lesson. You sing "Jesus loves me" and move on to issues or doctrine. But Paul preaches the gospel, all the time, in every ocassion, to all people. The gospel is his 'go' juice!
Power of God- I was talking to our chemistry and physics teachers yesterday and they were talking about how physics has uncovered how energy can produce an electron. These two godly scientists see no problem in science and Theism. They said that chemistry and physics has no problem with God, it's the biologists that are closed and clouded. But they said that if you calculated all the 'known matter" (not counting dark matter or unknown matter)- the amount of energy it would take to 'create' all we have now is almost unmeasurable and surely incomprehensible. We have no clue how powerful God is- and His power is manifest in LOVE.
"First Jew-then Gentile"- I'm pretty confident that this is pointing to the linear pattern of God revealing this message through history. It is the story of a promise- a covenant- whereby God prepared us for this glorious story through Abraham, Moses, David----- all the way to today. We will discuss the Nation of Israel later.
"From faith to faith (some versions have faith first to last)"- there a three different interpretations of this. I believe it will be unpacked by his argument that it has ALWAYS been by faith and never merited by works.
"revealed" - the first of two important "apocalypse" - I will refer to this next time.
"The righteous will live by faith"- This is a reference back to Habakkuk 2:4- and the best application of this is that the Hebrews did not seperate faith from faithfulness. The righteous WILL live by faith- this is what we do! This is how we live. This is our normal path.
Have you been gripped by the gospel? Is it your passion and power? Do you unashamedly cling to it and are you excited to share it- no matter the cost?
Over the next few weeks, may God solidly secure this glorious message to our hearts!
So here is the grand theme. The gospel will be unpacked (Romans 3:21-31) and applied. Questions will be anticipated and answered. This was Paul's passion! We look forward to the wonderful message.