It is an act of God that God had previously promised in scripture. Before the gospel is about our faith toward God, it is about God keeping faith with us. The content of this message is Jesus Christ v. Paul delineates two specific aspects of his message about Jesus, perhaps drawing on an ancient creedal formula. For those of us who are heirs of the Reformation tradition, it is important to note that Paul does not separate faith and works. On the contrary, his mission is to bring about the works obedience that flow from faith.
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By paying careful attention to vv. First, Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel. Third, Paul says that this power is available to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Fourth, this gospel manifests the righteousness of God. There are many important words in the vocabulary of Romans we must understand. Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.
Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;. He promised before through His prophets : This gospel is not new, and it is not a clever invention of man.
The center of Christianity is not a teaching or a moral system, it is a Person: Jesus Christ. This Jesus has both a human origin born of the seed of David according to the flesh , and an eternal existence declared to be the Son of God. The resurrection of Jesus shows His divine power because He rose by His own power: Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again John In this place the word signifies such a manifest and complete exhibition of the subject as to render it indubitable.
The really significant background, though, is its use in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to render the divine name, Yahweh… Christians who used this as their Bible would be familiar with the term as equivalent to deity. The gospel gave Paul and the church grace and apostleship , and one reason those two gifts were given was to produce obedience to the faith. The gospel is big enough and great enough for the whole world; it must go out to impact all nations. The gospel had reached the Roman Christians, demonstrating that they are the called of Jesus Christ. First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.
Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now , that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. To all who are in Rome : Paul had never been to Rome, and he did not found the Roman church. It seems the church in Rome began somewhat spontaneously as Christians came to the great city of the Empire and settled there. There is also no Biblical or historical evidence that the Apostle Peter founded the church in Rome.
Acts describes how there were people from Rome among the Jews present at the Day of Pentecost; so when they returned home, there was a Christian community in Rome.
Romans Commentary by J.R. Daniel Kirk - Working Preacher - Preaching This Week (Narrative)
Beyond that, the origins of the church in Rome are somewhat obscure, but Christians continually migrated to Rome from all parts of the Empire. Even so, through mutual acquaintances or through his travels, Paul knew many of the Christians in Rome by name because he mentions them in Romans Even if Paul only knew many of the Roman Christian by acquaintance, he knew two things about them and every true Christian. He knew they were beloved of God and that they were saints.
Grace to you and peace from God : Paul formally addresses his readers with his familiar greeting, combining the Greek greeting of grace with the Jewish greeting of peace. This grace and peace is not the kind wish of a man; they are gifts , coming from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world : Paul was thankful for the good reputation of the church in Rome.
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Because of its location, this church had a special visibility and opportunity to glorify Jesus throughout the Empire. These Christians had to be strong. Without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers : Paul wanted the Roman Christians to know he prayed for them, and praying for an opportunity to visit them I may find a way in the will of God to come to you.
Some churches would prosper better if some of you remembered them more in prayer. He wanted them to know that he really prayed. I often planned to come to you but was hindered until now : For a long time, Paul wanted to visit Rome and was only hindered by external circumstances. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise : Paul recognized he had something of a debt to Rome. The Roman Empire brought world peace and order; they brought a common cultural, and an excellent transportation system to the world.
Paul used all these in spreading the Gospel; so he can best repay this debt by giving Rome the good news of Jesus Christ. Paul was a tireless evangelist, working all over the world because he believed he had a debt to pay, and he owed it to the whole world. He wanted nothing else but just that pair of boots, and he was ready to go.
I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also : This is boldness talking. Where in all history can you find one like Paul? Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, marched with the protection of their armies to enforce their will upon men. The Roman Empire had to find a ship for him, and a fit escort for him, too; and he entered the city as an ambassador in bonds.
When our hearts are set on a thing, and we pray for it, God may grant us the blessing; but, it may be, in a way that we never looked for. You shall go to Rome, Paul; but you shall go in chains. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
In a sophisticated city like Rome, some might be embarrassed by a gospel centered on a crucified Jewish Savior and embraced by the lowest classes of people — but Paul is not ashamed.
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For it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes : This is why Paul is not ashamed of a gospel centered on a crucified Savior. He knows that the gospel — the good news of Jesus Christ — has inherent power. We do not give it power, we only stop hindering the power of the gospel when we present it effectively. The gospel is certainly news , but it is more than information; it has an inherent power. It is power. It lifts them up. Despite all their power, the Romans — like all men — were powerless to make themselves righteous before God.
Philosophers knew that man was sick and needed help. God will not withhold salvation from the one who believes ; but believing is the only requirement. For the Jew first and also for the Greek : This is the pattern of the spread of the gospel, demonstrated both by the ministry of Jesus Matthew and the initial ministry of the disciples Matthew This means that the gospel was meant to go first to the ethnic and cultural Jew , and then to the cultural Greek.
It did not mean a native of the country of Greece… [a Greek] was one who knew the culture and the mind of Greece. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed : Simply, the gospel reveals the righteousness of God. It is essential to understand exactly what the righteousness of God revealed by the gospel is. It does not speak of the holy righteousness of God that condemns the guilty sinner, but of the God-kind of righteousness that is given to the sinner who puts their trust in Jesus Christ.
If God justifies a sinner, it does not mean that he finds reasons to prove that he was right — far from it. It does not even mean, at this point, that he makes the sinner a good man. It means that God treats the sinner as if he had not been a sinner at all. This declaration is even greater when we understand that this is the righteousness of God given to the believer. It is not the righteousness of even the most holy man , nor is it the righteousness of innocent Adam in Eden. This faith trust in Jesus Christ becomes the basis of life for those who are justified declared righteous ; truly, the just shall live by faith.
They are not only saved by faith, but they live by faith.
The same attitude must govern him in his continuing experience as a child of God. The wrath of God : We sometimes object to the idea of the wrath of God because we equate it with human anger, which is motivated by selfish personal reasons or by a desire for revenge. We must not forget that the wrath of God is completely righteous in character. In Romans , Paul spoke of salvation — but what are we saved from?
First and foremost we are saved from the wrath of God that we righteously deserve. The wrath of God is not revealed in the gospel, but in the facts of human experience. Against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man; and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Unrighteousness refers to the sins of man against man.
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Who suppress the truth in unrighteousness : Mankind does in fact suppress the truth of God. Every truth revealed to man by God has been fought against, disregarded, and deliberately obscured. His invisible attributes are clearly seen : God shows us something of His eternal power and divine nature through creation, by the things that are made. He has given a general revelation that is obvious both in creation and within the mind and heart of man. Clearly seen : The universal character of this revelation and the clarity of it leave man without excuse for rejecting it. Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God : The problem is not that man did not know God, but that he did know Him — yet refused to glorify Him as God.
Therefore, mankind is without excuse. Instead of glorifying God we transformed our idea of Him into forms and images more comfortable to our corrupt and darkened hearts.
Romans 1 Bible Commentary
Tragically, we inescapably become like the God we serve. It is absolutely essential that we constantly compare our own conception of God against the reality of who God is as revealed in His Word. We can also be guilty of worshipping a self-made God. Image in Romans is the ancient Greek word eikon.