In this passage, Paul talks about his longing to come to Rome that he might share the gospel with them as he had in so many other places. Not to say that they didn’t know the gospel, as they had already come to faith. But all of us need reminders of what the gospel is, and not only that, to get grounded deeper into it and all its implications. And that’s what Romans is really all about. Getting rooted deeper into the gospel.
Verses 14-15 strike me where Paul said,
I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.
Obviously, Paul as an apostle called by Christ, had this obligation to share the gospel. But for him, it went beyond obligation. It wasn’t a drudgery that he had to force himself into. He was eager to do so. The same should be said of us. We shouldn’t have to force ourselves into sharing the gospel with others. We should be eager to do so. Why so eager?
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (16)
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. I wonder sometimes if we truly understand what this means. The gospel is God’s power to change lives. Not just so that people can go to heaven. Salvation doesn’t simply mean a one-way ticket to heaven Salvation also means that people’s lives can be made whole here on earth. That their lives which have been broken by sin, can be made whole. That their hearts that have been wounded by the hurts of this world can be made whole. That their marriages and relationships with others that have been torn apart can be made whole. And most importantly, that their relationship with God which was broken by sin can be made whole. That’s salvation. And the gospel is God’s power to bring that salvation.
And the good news is for everyone. It was first brought to the Jew because God had originally chosen them to be his special people. But after Jesus died on the cross and was raised again, it became possible for all people to approach God, both Jew and non-Jew. We who believe are all now accepted as God’s children.
How is this possible?
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. (17)
“Righteousness” has several nuances in scripture, but the idea here is that the gospel shows us how to come into a right relationship with God. Our relationship with God was broken because of sin. How then do we come into a right relationship with God? Through faith.
When you think about it, it totally makes sense, because our relationship with God was broken…how? By not trusting God. By not believing that he is looking out for out best. By distrusting his motives. And as a result, we turned our backs on God and started living our own way.
How then does that relationship get repaired? By turning back to God and saying, “I will trust you.”
That starts with trusting in Jesus’ work on the cross to make us accepted by God. To say, “Jesus I believe that when you died, you took the punishment for my sin.”
When we do that, God not only forgives us, but gives us a new heart that can trust him, not only for salvation, but for everything in life. And as we learn to trust him more each day, and as God works in our lives empowering us to do the things he asks, our actions start to change and we start becoming more like Jesus in everything we do. The result? Our lives are totally transformed and we are made whole. That’s salvation.
Do you know that salvation in your own life? And do you understand it so deeply that you are eager to share it with those around you?