Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Romans 1:16
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Romans 1:16
v16: Paul has now finished his formal greeting of the churches (vs 1-7) and his discussion of why he wanted to come to Rome (vs 8-15). At this verse he begins his explanation of the gospel and his first statement is startling. He proclaims he is “not ashamed of the gospel…” which initially seems a bit confusing. Why would anyone be ashamed of it? But we need only reflect on the frequent hostility he faced from both Jews and Gentiles in order to recognize the courage constantly required of this man, yet he steadfastly refused to distort the truth of this gospel to gain people’s favor or protect himself from persecution.

Monday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): Anyone who has shared the gospel with others has likely felt the impulse to dilute its demands for repentance and its promise of righteousness by faith alone. It is simply not a comfortable message to preach. It contains an awkward, offensive quality that confronts the rebellion and pride in fallen human nature. As a result we tend to diminish its demands, solve its mysteries with heretical human logic or re-impose aspects of the Law of Moses until it becomes acceptable to our audience. Yet Paul refused to do this, nor did he reduce the conflict he endured by becoming silent. He kept preaching the whole truth and suffered willingly whatever backlash came his way (2Co 11:23-27; 2Ti 1:8, 12-18). He clearly took Jesus’ warning seriously, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes…” (Mk 8:38).

Tuesday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): Having told us he will not allow fear or shame to prevent him from accurately preaching the gospel, Paul goes on to explain why, and his reason is disarmingly simple: only the real gospel can save people. Distorted teachings cannot produce the new birth. When a person is born-again the power of God enters and transforms him from within (Jn 3:3-8; Ro 8:2-4, 9-11). Any tampering with that message will prevent people from repenting properly or believing accurately both of which are necessary in order for God to cover them with His Son’s righteousness (Php 3:8-11) and indwell them (Ro 8:9-11).

Wednesday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): For at least a decade Paul had watched God powerfully change those who responded to his message, and he was not willing to trade that glorious transformation for powerless religion (Gal 3:1-5). He had tested this gospel by preaching it, and over and over saw the hand of God working in people. So he is absolutely convinced that nothing less than a crucified and resurrected Jesus has the power to forgive human sin, free people from their slavery to sin (Ro 6:6-14), transform them until their lives become holy and pleasing to God (Ro 8:2-4), and ultimately resurrect their bodies allowing them to escape death (Ro 8:10, 11; Php 3:8-14).

Thursday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): In Paul’s mind this salvation provided by Christ is universally available. He says here it is offered “to everyone who believes.” So all are invited to be saved, but to receive this salvation a person must believe, which he later explains includes confessing Jesus as Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead (Ro 10:9, 10). Then in the final words of this verse Paul acknowledges that even though God has now offered salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike, the gospel was rightfully presented to the nation of Israel before it was proclaimed among the Gentile nations. In the gospel God offers His saving power to all people, but He sent the gospel “…to the Jew first.”

Friday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): When we hear such a statement it’s important to realize what Paul is not saying. He is not saying God passionately loves Jewish people more than everyone else and is only secondarily concerned to see people born to Gentile parents saved. In fact, Paul will go on to say, “For there is no partiality with God” (Ro 2:11). Yet there is a reality of spiritual privilege and history to which he points by this statement. The gospel had indeed come “to the Jew first…” in several ways. First, what we might call a “pre-gospel” or early form of expression of the essential elements contained in the gospel had already been preached to Israel for millennia. Abraham was shown a ram caught in a thicket on Mount Moriah (Ge 22:8-14). Moses was shown the Passover Feast (Ex 12:1-14) and the tabernacle system of atonement with details which clearly teach repentance and substitution (Lev 1-6:7). The Psalmists functioning as prophets vividly described the suffering and glories of the Messiah (Ps 2, 22, 110), and the great prophets themselves such as Isaiah (7:14; 9:1-7; 11; 49-53; 61:1-3), Jeremiah (31:27-34), Ezekiel (36:24-31), Daniel (7:9-14; 9:24-27), Micah (5:2, 3) and Zechariah (13, 14) all spoke of God’s mercy through a coming Savior. So the gospel was preached to Israel long before Jesus was born.

Saturday: Romans 1:16
v16 (continued): Second, the Jews were the first people invited to come to Christ because God remembered the covenant He made with their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bless their descendants (Ge 12:1-3; 17:1-14; 26:24; 28:10-14, also: Ro 3:1, 2; 9:4, 5; 11:11, 17, 24, 25, 28). Jesus Himself told parables which included this order of events (Mt 22:1-10; Lk 14:16-24) and initially instructed His disciples, “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of Israel” (Mt 10:5). He told a Syrophoenician woman, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15:24), but seeing her faith went on to heal her daughter anyway. On the day of Pentecost Peter proclaimed to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem, “For you first, God raised up His servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways” (Ac 3:26). So God was also keeping an ancient promise by sending Jesus first to Israel.

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