Reading: Romans 1
Both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to foolish people, I am a debtor. That is why I am so eager to proclaim the gospel to you who live in Rome, too. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for the salvation of everyone who believes, of the Jew first and of the Greek as well. For in the gospel God's righteousness is being revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, "The righteous will live by faith." For God's wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness and wickedness of those who in their wickedness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:14-18 ISV)
Thinking and Reflecting
The book of Romans is Paul's great salvation treatise. His description of Jesus in 1:1-6 is incredibly complete given its brevity. Paul's letters were personal and occasional (intended for a specific group of readers at a specific time for a specific situation). They contain both teaching (doctrine) and applications.
In today's text Paul makes three personal affirmations: I am debtor (obligated), I am eager (ready) to preach, I am not ashamed of the gospel. These affirmations are true for Paul in light of God's revelation. In the gospel God's righteousness is revealed, but God's wrath against sin is also visible. God's rescue and God's righteousness indignation are Paul's motivation. Paul will come back to the theme of the revelation of God's righteousness at 3:20, but first comes a lengthy section concerning God's wrath. An awareness of God's wrath provides motivation for the Christian. Some would totally avoid the message of God's wrath, but Paul sets it forth plainly (the bad news) in order to show how good the good news of the gospel is.
The picture of evil painted in the last half of the first chapter is not pretty. Evil enters when God is not recognized. God can be seen but some do not see him because they do not want to see him.
How does your attitude compare with Paul's-do you feel obligated to share the gospel, eager or ready to share, unashamed of the gospel? Are you more motivated by God's wrath or God's righteousness? In your observation, what are the best motivations to encourage those in the world to consider the message of Jesus?
Our Heavenly Father, we ask you to work in our hearts today. We want to see and understand more about Jesus, we want to find in the message of Jesus motivation for sharing the gospel, and we want to understand more fully the righteousness you attribute to those who imitate the faith of Jesus in faithful living. Help us see evil for the repulsive reality that it is, and instill in us a greater desire to turn from evil and to walk in faithful obedience to the truth that we might know your righteousness, In Jesus' name and by his power I ask it. Amen.