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The Gospel

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Pause and Consider



‘The Gospel’


For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  (17)  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’ (Romans 1:16, 17)

We continue our reflections on Paul’s concern for the Roman believers (1:5-17).  He has never been to Rome to visit this church.  However, we have seen that he is thankful for them (5-8), prays for them (9), longs to visit them (10), is eager to nurture them (11-13), and yearns to give the gospel of grace and faith to those who have not yet received it (14, 15).

Last time, as we focused on this yearning, we found that he feels a debt to give out the gospel.  Christ saved him from a life of self-righteousness and hatred, and Paul desires that all others know the forgiveness and freedom he has found in Christ.

We also saw that he is ready go give out the gospel.  Those who know the Lord need to be always ready to tell what the Lord has done for their soul.

Today we will begin to focus on the gospel, which is at the heart of this epistle.  Our text (16, 17) is the key passage in Romans.

For I am not ashamed… Paul is not ashamed of the gospel.  ‘For’ is a transition from his greeting to the theme of the book.  Rome was a place of power, pomp and luxury, a place where emperors were worshipped as deities—it was the mistress of the world.  The Gospel, in contrast, came from several unlikely places: from Israel, a backwater place in the Roman Empire; from a carpenter’s son, thus from one of lowly birth; from an insignificant city—Nazareth; from the Jews, a group despised by the Romans; and of all things, from one who was crucified—a form of execution reserved for lowest of the low.

Yet, Paul is not ashamed of this gospel, of this good news.  He is not deterred by the contempt in which the gospel was held.  As William R. Newell, my great-grandfather in faith stated, “We have Paul’s willingness, all unashamed, to go to Rome, mistress of the World, with this astonishing message of a crucified Nazarene, despised by Jews, and put to death by Romans.”

Paul, like his blessed Master, despised the shame (Heb 12:2).  If you are a believer, are you ashamed of the gospel and of the Son?  Do you clearly and regularly proclaim His name among those who do not know Him?

He now gives us four reasons why he was not ashamed of the Gospel.  First, because of its origin—it is the gospel of Christ.  It is Christ who died and is risen again for our justification.  Second, because of its operation—it is the power of God.  It displays above all things God’s power to raise the dead, forgive sin, and give new life!

Third, Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because of its outreach—it is available to all who believe, Jew and Gentile alike.  Notice that it is not by any works that we can do, but only as we believe in Christ alone.  And fourth, because of its outcome—it reveals and provides the righteousness of God.

There is much more to say about these four reasons, so we will plan to consider them more closely next time.  Until then, because of our need for righteousness, if you have not yet come to the Father through the Son in repentance and faith, please do so today!

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