Introduction to the first chapter of the letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome. (circa 57AD)
Paul begins by introducing himself. He is a servant of Jesus Christ and an apostle. These are qualities that give him authority to proclaim the truth of God’s message, and then also to demand respect or attention back.
He is a servant of Jesus Christ. Not just any Jesus, but he who was Christ – that means “anointed”. It is His message that he brings. Paul goes on to describe Jesus Christ as having been promised in the time throughout the Old Testament days. As one who had dual natures. Paul explains that as to his human nature he was the son of King David, but as to his divine nature he was called the Son of God. This dual nature of Christ is important when we talk about who can possible take away the sins of the world.
Paul then goes on to explain that he had longed to come to Rome for a long time, but was prevented from doing so. It is a good indication that Paul did not do all the work just on his own, but that God directed his path. We see in other places where God for example urges Paul to go to Macedonia. So Paul was a tool in the hand of God to bring the message of salvation to the Gentiles (Non-Jews). Paul then ends this portion of the letter with a beautiful description of this task
6 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. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[a] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[b]
At this point Paul begins bringing his message of salvation. From verse 18 on, he begins to expound the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He begins with explaining why we need a saviour. He begins to point out why God is angry. Paul points out that mankind could easily know God, because he can be seen in all of creation, and in the way he continues to govern the universe. So men are without excuse. But instead of glorifying and thanking God, man chose to live apart from God. They traded in the wisdom that God had given them for foolishness. Instead of serving a living and almighty God they made images of animals and other created things to worship. They worshipped creatures instead of the creator. Since they did not deem God’s gifts worthy of them, God gave them over to their own desires and lusts. They did unspeakable things with one another as a result plunged themselves into all kinds of sins, further and further away from God’s will and wisdom. This of course applies to all of us, and is the reason why we all need salvation.
We can see many of the things that Paul talks about in our society all around us. Not only those who do the sins, but also those who approve of them. In this respect we can talk about abortion, gay rights, war, poverty, drugs and many other sins. We must however remember that there is no degree of sin. All sin is wrong, so it it not my intent to pick on gays or abortion as only being wrong, but also many other things such as gluttony etc. We all have sinned and so we all stand in need of salvation through Jesus Christ.
After this introduction you may have some questions and you may pose those on the chat at this website. Every Wednesday from 7:30 to 8:30 we gather with anyone who wants to join to discuss yours and other questions.