ROMANS 1:1-17 PAUL’S PURPOSE
Play Part 1 of the Bible Project Romans 1-4 on YouTube
Paul is writing to the church in Rome.
Some important facts about this church:
1. The Roman church IS SMALL.
Based in homes in the poor, slum style area of Rome.
Nero’s palace looks down on this area.
Entire church is probably less than 100 people spread around several house churches.
2. The church is struggling with its theology.
Made up of Jews and Gentiles. During the reign of Claudius all the Jews were expelled from Rome. Now Nero is in power they have come back. Now the church has problems between Jewish beliefs & Gentile (explain).
3. The church is planted in the seat of Roman power.
The Emporer’s birthday is hailed as “good news” (gospel). One of His official titles is “Son of God”. He claimed the absolute allegiance & loyalty of all of his subjects.
Paul writes to address these & other issues.
Who are we?
What do we really believe?
What is to be done about the “Jewish problem”?
How does the church live & thrive in a world hostile to Christianity?
Paul introduces himself & the main purpose of his letter.
Immediately we notice 4 key themes:
1. THE GOSPEL
“Gospel” = glad tidings, good news
Vs. 1 Paul is set apart for “the gospel”
Vs. 2, 9 The gospel/good news IS A PERSON not a message
The person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the good news.
This is the mistake we often make.
We think “the gospel” is a message … a formula for getting saved.
We talk about “sharing the gospel” & immediately think of the four spiritual laws etc.
A message deals with something we do ONCE … we do certain things “TO GET SAVED”.
We apply it once in our lifetime & then get on with living.
A person, however, must be related to ALL THE TIME.
Trust in the person must be a daily affair … in every circumstance of life.
Therefore, when we “share the gospel” we must be sharing our story about Jesus … “Why is he good news for this person … for me”?
2. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Who is this one who is “good news”?
a. Vs. 3, 4 “The Son of God” … not Caesar but the REAL Son of God. Jesus is FULLY GOD!
b. Vs. 3 “as to his nature … of David” FULLY MAN!
c. Vs. 4 Raised from the dead … proof of who he is.
d. Vs. 4 He is Jesus Christ OUR LORD … requires absolute allegiance & loyalty
e. Vs. 5 Our mission & purpose in life comes from him
f. Vs. 5 We are called to live by faith in Him EVERY DAY … not just once!
Vs. 16 Paul is not ashamed of this gospel. Why?
It is a gospel of POWER.
“Power” = dunamis … explosive miraculous energy. Dynamite.
The power of God.
Power to save.
Vs. 17 This gospel is the pathway to righteousness.
This reveals the third theme:
A legal term NOT a moral term.
We often think of behaviour … someone who is better than others, who lives a good life, who is morally pure or upright.
This is NOT the meaning here.
Comes from the law courts of the day.
It means “IN THE RIGHT”
During a trial a prosecutor accuses a person of wrong … produces evidence of their bad behaviour… demands a guilty verdict & a penalty for their crime.
The defender (paraklete) speaks on their behalf. Gives the judge reasons why they should get favourable treatment.
The judge then gives his verdict. If the verdict is favourable he declares “this person is in the right/righteous/justified”. It simply means THERE IS NO PENALTY TO PAY. In the eyes of the judge they are “in the right”.
How does this righteousness become ours?
4. Vs. 5, 6, 8, 12 GRACE & FAITH
“Grace” = unmerited favour … unearned favour.
The criminal has done NOTHING to earn this favourable judgement by the judge.
Salvation is by grace. We do NOTHING to earn it.
As we shall see, Christ has done everything FOR US!
‘Faith” = total trust. Total trust in the one who is the good news.
Total trust in His ability to set us free.
Total trust in HIS METHOD not our works.
So to a little struggling church in the middle of a hell hole …
To a church in the middle of a theological storm … Paul brings them back to the centre of the Christian message.
Vs. 16, 17
There is POWER (dynamite) in the good news.
The good news that Jesus is FOR US!
We cannot earn God’s favour.
We simply must believe in Christ and His work on the cross for us … accept Him & trust in Him in every circumstance … every day of our lives.
When we do, all the power of heaven is released on our behalf:
POWER TO SAVE
POWER TO STAND
POWER TO CHANGE ourselves on the inside
POWER TO CHANGE the world in which we live.
The good news/ the gospel is not a message, IT IS A PERSON.
Today, what are you doing with this person called jesus Christ?