Romans 1:1-17: Introducing the Gospel
March 1, 2023
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Numbers 1-2, Psalm 48, Matthew 21:23-32, Romans 1:1-17
We come now to the Book of Romans—a book so deep that to cover the first 17 verses in one short devotional feels tantamount to sacrilege. But there is much that we can learn from these 17 verses, nonetheless.
First, that the gospel of Jesus Christ calls all nations to the “obedience of faith.” This is how Paul begins and ends the letter (cf. Romans 16:26). What Paul means by this phrase is the kind of faith that is not merely “making a decision” but is a real submission to God as King and Lord of our lives. The gospel is by faith alone, and that faith is the “obedience of faith.” When we say we trust in God, we are also saying that we trust him to rule our lives.
Second, that the reason why Paul is writing to the Romans is to remind them of this gospel that they might be an effective launching pad for reaching all nations. See Romans 15:15-16. He is writing a bold reminder of the gospel of God for the sake of all nations. When we say we follow the gospel, we are also saying that we are a part of a movement whose goal is to reach people to follow Christ too.
Third, we learn that we are not to be ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for everyone who believes. Where is the power of God? In the gospel. Where is salvation found? Through believing in the gospel. Therefore, we are not to be ashamed of this gospel. We who believe in Christ and understand the gospel have the greatest power ever known to man, the very power of God. Let us most definitely not be ashamed, but instead be bold and courageous for the sake of the gospel.
Fourth, we learn that the gospel has always been by faith (it is by faith from first to last) and is always by faith, and that we are made righteous, or justified, by faith. This message of the gospel is the counterintuitive “non-religious” (even “anti-religious”) heart of the Christian message. We are declared righteous, stand before God as righteous, purely through the work of Christ on the cross, which we receive by faith. Let us then be careful to distinguish the Christian message from mere “religion” and ensure that the message we preach and believe is by faith from first to last!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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