Romans 1:15-17

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, January 19, 2015 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed — a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Romans 1:15-17)

This section starts out in verse 15 with “That is why…”, which should make us ask the question of what came just before this. Why is Paul so eager to preach the gospel to those who are in Rome? For the answer, check out last week’s post that covers the previous verses in Romans 1, or go read the chapter for yourself. When we see phrases such as this in Scripture, we should always look at the context to understand what’s going on, rather just jumping in at the particular verse we’re looking at.

Verse 16 within this passage (“For I am not ashamed of the gospel”) is a fairly often quoted verse of the Bible, because it is so powerful. It’s a great thing for us to say too; after all, none of us want to be ashamed of the gospel. But are we ashamed of it? This is a tough verse to truly live out in all aspects of our lives. Sure, we’re not the least bit ashamed of the gospel of Jesus when we’re in church on Sunday morning or in a Bible study. But what about when you’re at work, and your coworkers get into a discussion about how they don’t agree with the Christian faith? Or when you’re out at a club, drinking and dancing and having a good time, possibly doing things you shouldn’t? Are you ashamed of it then?

The word used in the Greek where Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel has the meaning of “to experience or feel shame or disgrace because of some particular event or activity; to be ashamed of” (Louw & Nida Lexicon). When we’re ashamed of something, we don’t want to be associated with it. We may feel that association tarnishes our reputation or makes us be seen in a negative way. Do you feel this way about being a follower of Christ?

Paul even gives us the reason why we should not be ashamed of the gospel: “because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” As Logan wrote recently, the Greek word for power is the same root as our English word dynamite. The gospel is truly that powerful! It can (and does) bring salvation to all who believe - not just Jews who were God’s chosen people for so long, but for EVERYONE! That’s how powerful the gospel message of Jesus Christ truly is.

The only reason we have to be ashamed of this amazing power is if we see other things as more powerful than it. If you see acceptance by your peers as more powerful in your life than the gospel, then you’ll likely be ashamed of it. If you see having a wild night of partying as better than living by God’s standards, then you are ashamed of the gospel. It’s all about what we place as the highest priority in our life; is it the gospel, or the things of this world? Do we see the power of the gospel for what it truly is, or do we mistakenly think the things of this world are more powerful?

We also see in this passage that “in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.” What does that mean? Righteousness is defined as “the quality of being morally right or justifiable.” God is the only being who is truly morally right in all areas and at all times. How do we know that? Because of Jesus’ perfect, sinless life on this earth, which He lived so that He could die for us and be raised again.

We know the righteousness of God through faith, believing in what we don’t see. We can’t see God’s righteousness like we can see the sky or the trees, but we believe that God is righteous (completely morally right and perfect) because He is the perfect God of the universe, and He has revealed that to us in His Word, the Bible.

Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and follow Him as your Lord and Savior? Or are you ashamed of that gospel, and place it as a lesser priority than the things of this world? Where do you stand?