Today we begin a series of devotional insights from Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. The choice of verses and specific subjects will be somewhat arbitrary because I will be choosing on the basis of what strikes me when I read the famous letter once again. My background in Romans includes a commentary on the book written for The New American Commentary, written and published by Broadman & Holman (1995)
The first 6 verses of Romans contain enough theology for a full college course on the person of Christ. It summarizes what God did in and through his Son for the redemption of man and what we need to do to make it a reality in our life. My desire is to resist exegetical analysis and center on those truths most applicable to life. I trust I will be able to serve the interests of both groups.
The theme statement is that the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ declared the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead. This gospel is promised from of old, established by a resurrection from the dead, and received by a faith that expresses itself in obedience. To hear and accept this great redemptive story results in a new birth that transforms life here below and prepares a person for an eternity of joyful fellowship with the Creator. No wonder Paul’s impressive tome has held the attention of believers since the beginning of the Christian era.
I believe it will be helpful for you to read the first 5 verses of Romans. The translation is from my Dear Friends, This is Paul (Wipf & Stock, 2016, p. 58).
This is Paul the apostle writing to fellow believers in the city of Rome. You’ll remember me as that Jewish zealot who, on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians, was struck blind by the risen Christ. Of all people, God chose me to announce the Good News of his coming reign. Years ago this was predicted by Jewish prophets in their sacred manuscripts and is now being fulfilled through the work of God’s son, Jesus Christ. The Son existed from eternity as God but became man by being born into the human race as a descendant of King David. That he was in fact the Son of God was clearly established some thirty years later when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he emerged triumphant from the tomb. God has given us the privilege of proclaiming this message everywhere. When people hear it and believe, they bring honor to his name.
Next post on Romans we will begin our experience, reflecting on this remarkable letter that shaped the Christian faith as it moved in a westward direction to Rome and beyond.