More than a century ago, the famed Southern evangelist, Sam Jones, said, "When I started preaching I thought I would hurt somebody's feelings. Now I'm afraid I won't."
The Apostle Paul wanted to visit Rome, but he was in and out of jail. The church in Rome was important to him, but Paul had never been able to get there.
Paul decided to write to the Roman Christians to let them know he planned to come to Rome. His letter to the Romans has been treasured throughout church history as the most doctrinally complete letter that Paul wrote.
Paul begins the book by identifying himself: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…” Paul proclaimed that he was an apostle and a servant, and that his life didn’t belong to himself, but to God. He knew who he was, and why he was here on earth. He was born a Jew, and was a highly educated, religious Jew until God struck him down as he journeyed to Damascus to persecute believers in Jesus Christ.
Now, on the eve of Paul’s trip to Rome, he wrote: 16” For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
Some scholars have said that these verses are perhaps the most important verses in literature, and are the very essence of Christianity. Martin Luther wrestled with Paul’s words, and when he finally understood verse 17, his life was transformed, and this led to the Reformation. The life of John Wesley was influenced by it, as were countless others.
Paul’s message in these verses are clear – the primary need of every human being, whether a religious Jew as he had been before his Damascus-road conversion, or the most worldly gentile, is to be reconciled to the holy God.
Paul finally got to Rome, but not as he had planned. He was arrested in Israel, marched along the Emmaus road to Caesarea, and from there, he was taken to Rome in chains as a prisoner. He spent two years in Rome under house arrest, and then Paul was put to death.
Paul’s theme in the entire book of Romans is God, the Good News that God gives to the world, and how sinners can be delivered from judgment, and be reconciled to God. Friend, this is salvation through Jesus Christ.
Please believe, and receive this truth today, and join me in proclaiming it boldly! Never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and He will never be ashamed of you!
Willie Jordan (Mrs. Fred Jordan)