Romans chapter 1 is one of the richest chapters in the Bible. Paul wanted to share clearly the good news to those in Rome, the capital city of the world empire. It contains gold nuggets of value that need to be recognized and discovered. When understood, it has a leverage that acts to mold a believer’s thinking. The believer then understands God’s love for mankind and gives them power to live a life that pleases God. This life lived for God gives purpose and meaning not only to their life, but to those around them.
The core theme of Romans is stated here. Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation. This theme of great importance concerns the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. God’s program of salvation for people will not fail because it is His work, and “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus“(Phil. 1:4). He is our creator God and the gospel is His plan for the redemption of mankind.
This gospel came at a high price: the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ. Jesus left the throne of heaven, came down to earth to live as a man, and showed the way to have a relationship with His Father. Jesus also died on a wooden cross to bear the punishment of sins for those who believe. Then He came back to life to show that He has power over sin and death.
This Gospel is “a righteousness from God” which is revealed by faith from first to last (1:17). First, this righteousness from God is the righteousness God Himself possesses. Second, it is the right standing that God gives to human beings by His grace - through their faith in the gospel.
Believers of the gospel have an imputed righteous standing before God (justification). Because of the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit given to believers, they have a progressively transformed lifestyle. God will work in His power to change the life of a believer. It is God’s plan and He makes it work for those who believe.
Why the importance of the Gospel and faith in that Gospel?
It is God’s method to deliver believers from His judgment and wrath poured out against mankind because of their sins. Paul begins in verse 18 to spell out God’s accusations against mankind.
1. God made the world and made it plain to them. Men are without excuse to not recognize His glory in creation.
2. Because men did not give thanks to Him or glorify Him, their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
3. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal men, birds, animals, and reptiles.
4. Therefore, God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity. They degraded their bodies with one another.
5. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator.
6. God then gave them over to shameful unnatural lusts of women with women and men with men.
7. Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind; to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful. They invent ways of doing evil. They disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, and ruthless.
8. Although they know God’s righteousness that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Paul listed these sins of mankind down through history. Do they sound familiar in today’s culture? Paul stated clearly that God’s remedy to save mankind from judgment is found in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the power of God to save mankind. No matter what their sins may be, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the solution.
8 But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
11 As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13 for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."