Coming off the back of saying he was so eager to get to Rome to preach the gospel Paul now says this:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1 v 16)
We will see in this letter how Paul defends his position of the grace-gospel and he starts that here in this long introduction by saying ‘I am more certain than ever’ and ‘I will not shy away from this truth’. Why? Because of his own testimony and that of others.
I have a friend who is now a minister and I have on file her testimony: “On 25th March 1990 my boyfriend invited me to church where he had been ‘saved’ the previous week. At the time I enjoyed a successful career travelling the world with a party lifestyle of cocaine, amphetamines, ecstasy, on a weekly basis. I heard the gospel for the first time and responded by asking Jesus into my life. I experienced an instant, radical life change, including immediately stopping drugs, alcohol and smoking! Four weeks later, we were baptised together and got married a further two weeks after that. In July of that year I said goodbye to my travel career and worked alongside the Pastor as the administrator/ finance officer and Kids church Leader.”
The powerful gospel! There are millions of stories like this. The gospel is not only good news but it is powerful, life-changing good news.
Writing into the powerful Roman Empire Paul speaks of power. Rome boasted of its power. But it couldn’t save from the coming wrath of God. Being saved by the gospel is both now and future. We often think of it of life-change now and that is truly important but for Paul we will see how being saved from God’s wrath at death and the final judgment is what he had in mind throughout. Despite all the power that is being displayed across the borders of our world no one can save themselves from the day of facing God, except God Himself, through the gospel of Jesus Christ!
And what do people have to do? It is to believe! To believe the God-story which saw the Jewish people preparing the way for the Messiah and who were the first ones to receive (and reject) Him when He came. Everyone who believes, everyone and anyone, Jews and also non-Jews.