Summary: These two verses contain life transforming truth. To understand and positively respond to this truth is to have your life and eternity completely altered.
ROMANS 1: 16 & 17
"THE GOSPEL OF GOD’S SALVATION"
In these important words we have the theme of the letter to the Romans which is the content of the Gospel. Paul has finished his preliminary remarks and now sounds the trumpet call of the Gospel of God. These two verses contain life transforming truth. To understand and positively respond to this truth is to have your life and eternity completely altered. For one must accept the Gospel because for only by believing it can one be given the righteousness of God.
There are no two verses in this much studied letter that have stronger claims on our attentive consideration than verses 16 & 17. Here is the summarize gospel which will be explained in the rest of the book.
I. The Power of God, 1:16.
II. The Righteousness of God, 1:17.
Verse 16 starts by informing us of Paul’s zeal for the Gospel. "For I am not ashamed (of) the Gospel,"
Paul will not be tricked or intimidated away from "the Gospel." He is ready to proclaim the Gospel any place and any time a fruitful door is opened for it. You as well as I need to catch some of this courageous confidence and be fired with some spark of Paul’s enthusiasm for, and glory in, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rome was the place where the highest achievements of man were developing. Rome and Romans possessed great wealth, learning, culture, and religions. The city embodied the greatest in human achievement. Yet Paul feels no need to be apologetic for the message or for himself. For he knew the Gospel’s worth transcended the value of all they had and all they knew and all they believed.
This truth still stands today in spite of all the advances in human knowledge and attainment. Modern man may try to hide behind "scientific" discovery, psychology, or philosophy. He may run to his wealth, or education or the belief of a humanistic society, but we today, as with Paul then, have nothing to be ashamed of concerning the Gospel of God.
When Jesus’ name is used as a common curse word and the media sneers at most things Christian, we can become intimidated against even admitting we are an evangelical Christian. Sharing the gospel conjures up fear of being repulsive to natural man.
While I was a seminary student I ministered at the Fort Worth County Jail. Each Thursday a friend of mine (Doug Buck from Lenoir City, TN) and I would ride the bus to the downtown area where the jail was located . We tried to arrive right at 5:00pm when people were leaving from work. We would get off the bus an walk from one side of the business district to the other end PASSING OUT TRACTS. Most received our tracts graciously and some even gratefully. Others didn’t. Some supposed believers were incensed that we dare do such a thing and told us. They were ashamed of the Gospel. Fear of such ridicule keeps insecure Christians from sharing the gospel.
The Gospel message is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5 (read). It is not a statement of principles but a record of facts. We must not be ashamed to share the facts of God’s witness concerning Jesus along with their significance for each person.
People should be ashamed of offering something that does not work. The gospel, though repulsive to the lost because it exposes their sin, wickedness, and depravity, has the power to save. Many have turned to a health and wealth "gospel" that is not so intimidating and not so politically incorrect. So they remove of the offense of the cross of Christ. But without the cross our message is powerless before God. A powerless gospel will not save anyone.
Next Paul states the reason he is not ashamed of the Gospel. "For it is the power of God unto salvation."
Two things are asserted about the Gospel: that it is powerful and that its power is derived from God. The Gospel is the miraculous explosive force that changes a person from being eternally lost to being eternally saved (Jn. 4:22; 10:16; Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:8). Yet it is not a power belonging to nature or to man. The Gospel’s power is derived from God Himself. God through His Spirit empowers the knowledge of the truth, the conviction and mind, and the transformation of the heart and soul into the good hope of eternal life.
The object or purpose of the Gospel is salvation, the eternal salvation of men and women. It is a salvation whose end result is: deliverance from the state of degradation, danger, blindness, and confusion into which sin has brought them. It is deliverance from guilt and condemnation, from ignorance and error, from depravity and suffering in all its forms. The gospel can bring complete and everlasting deliverance. This salvation is what the Gospel proposes to conceive. It proposes to confer on man a depth and height of blessing which mere human philanthropy could never dream of and which all the earth’s institutions and powers together could never bring about. The Gospel SAVES. It is what can make a foolish man wise, a sinful man holy, and a miserable man joyful.