Romans - considered as one of the most powerful and influential books ever written. Many renowned Christian scholars like Augustine, Luther, Bunyan, Wesley and Barth were inspired & transformed by this book.
The first seventeen verses of Chapter 1 are Paul’s summary of the book focussing on the importance of knowing who you believe.
The challenge facing the church since the 1st Century AD is the dilution of the Gospel of Christ, subtly being contaminated by our intellectual, cultural and social biases.
To Paul, God’s Gospel is all about Christ as BOTH Lord and Saviour.
It is about living out our faith in total obedience to our Lord & Master who has conferred God’s righteousness on us because of Christ’s death & resurrection on the Cross.
Using the analogy of a bond slave (v1), Paul issued a strong reminder to the Church, that their allegiance now belongs to Christ alone.
With Paul, his call was to be an apostle, but for us today our calling is to serve and minister to those He has sent us to, so that Christ’s name is magnified and glorified.
Paul was not preaching a new Gospel. This Gospel was initiated and promised by God - beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. Christ is both the divine Son of God and the promised Messiah - who will come through the line of David. Christ’s death and resurrection were both prophesied in the Old Testament.
Christ resurrection paved the way for us to receive the gift of Grace for Salvation and the gift of Ministry; characterised by a thankful, concerned, willing, submissive, loving and humble spirit and pointing people to the obedience that comes from faith.
Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for the salvation of all who believe. Despite the humiliation & suffering he had endured, he had experienced how the power of God has transformed him from been the Persecutor to becoming the Preacher. And he had observed the same transformation in the lives of many of his converts.
The good news for us - no matter how sinful, how broken or ashamed of our past, we can be righteous, and it is by faith, and not by works. Our righteousness is based on God and his gift of Jesus’ righteousness to us by His death and resurrection and not based on our efforts to be a good and sinless person. And this is the message of the Gospel of Christ!