Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Romans 1

Last night I started reading Romans, and in that first chapter there is so much great stuff! It is with some trepidation that I would even start commenting on the book, mindful that I can only skim the surface, and never reach the depths or the heights of that great book. Indeed, I think it was Martin Lloyd-Jones who said that you should never seek to preach on it until you were over thirty, or well experienced (or something like that). Call it the folly of the young, but I have already been preaching on parts of the book (in Dromara and this Sunday in Killinchy), so I'll try and include some comments as they come...

Romans 1:1-17 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— [2] the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures [3] regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, [4] and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. [5] Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. [6] And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. [7] To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [8] First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. [9] God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you [10] in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you. [11] I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— [12] that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith. [13] I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. [14] I am bound both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. [15] That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. [16] 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. [17] 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."

- The letter is about the 'gospel' - the good news of God
- The gospel wasn't something that Paul made up, or that started with Jesus. It was 'promised beforehand' by prophets and by the Scriptures.
- The gospel is about Jesus, both man and God, who was declared to be God by the fact of his resurrection from the dead.

The Church at Rome was in Paul's heart, and this letter was being written to them, to let them know that Paul was hoping to come to them. Why?
- Their faith was being talked about all over the world. They were Christians at the centre of the known world
- Paul always prayed for them
- to encourage and strengthen them: 'that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith'
- He wants his visit to be profitable, and to produce a harvest among them.

Then we find his mission statement: 'I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes'

Oh God, grant that we too would not be ashamed of the gospel, that we would proclaim it boldly, that we would believe in the power of the gospel, and that we would invite others to come to faith, to believe in you and be saved.

1 comment :

  1. mmmm, that was a challenge 4 me 2 read, I often fail 2 admit my beliefs! Made me reflect on why I am ashamed??