Tonight at community group we started studying Romans. There is really never a bad time to study these letters that have since affected countless more than for whom they were 'culturally intended.'
As we read and talked through the first 17 verses, I devoted my brainpower to thinking as Paul might. Why did he devote an entire paragraph to his authority to write such a letter? Why was he so repetitive in describing what it meant to be set apart for the gospel of God? Why was he so thankful and encouraged by the believers in Rome? How in the world could he remember them in prayer with such loyalty?
So simple. So gloriously simple we seldom see the truest picture.
The gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. Romans 1:2-5The gospel.
THIS is what the Jews were waiting for - all that the prophets had declared about the Messiah. THIS is the True Son, who took upon himself human likeness, a descendant of David. THIS is the one and only Lord, risen from the dead .
THIS same Christ offers grace, in spite of our deserving death, for His name's sake. THIS same Christ calls us to obedience.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.
I remember reciting this verse as a young AWANA Spark, along with the other sweaty kids in the basement of the armory. As a child, I needed no convincing, I was sure the world revolved around me. Now that I look back, my view of the gospel is shockingly still trapped in a very young mind.
Tonight, the words, "because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes" seemed to raise off the page. I'm fairly certain I often stop after "I am not ashamed of the gospel" and try my very darndest to make my compelling argument for the gospel.
Yet, I've taken away the only Truth - the because. The gospel isn't the gospel because of me.
The gospel is the gospel because God. The question of my shame is really quite secondary.