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Romans 1:16-17


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

This morning when I woke up, I was feeling a little down. As I went to make some coffee, I noticed a song playing over and over in my mind and realized that once again (as You often minister to me through song), that You were speaking to me, saying:

 

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;

When troubles come and my heart burdened be;

Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,

Until you come and sit awhile with me.

 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up: To more than I can be.

 

There is no life - no life without its hunger;

Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;

But when you come and I am filled with wonder,

Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

 

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;

You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;

You raise me up: To more than I can be.

 

So, raise me up Lord. Do what You will, because I love and trust You.

 

In Jesus Name,

 

 

 

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

 

17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

 

The rvbv states, "Here we have the text of the whole Epistle of Romans: First, the words "the gospel" - so dear to Paul, as will appear. Next, the universal saving power of this gospel is asserted. Then, the secret of the gospel's power - the revelation of God's righteousness on the principle of faith. Finally, the accord of all this with the Old Testament Scriptures: "The righteous shall live by faith."

 

In verse 16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel" is Paul's way of expressing his willingness, unashamed, to go to Rome, center of the world, with the astonishing message of a crucified Nazarene, hated by Jews, and put to death by Romans. To my earthly eyes, this sounds nuts...to my spirital eyes, it makes perfect sense. The "gospel" has such a profound affect on Paul that he could no nothing short of spreading that same gospel.

 

"For it is the power of God unto salvation"...Watchman Nee comments that the word "power" used here "Denoting a powerful force that can break through any obstacle. This power is the resurrected Christ Himself, Who is the life-giving Spirit, and it is unto salvation to everyone who believes."

 

Nee also writes that in regard to the word salvation used here, "To save the believing ones not only from God's condemnation and from eternal perdition but also from their natural life and their self, that they may be sanctified, transformed, and built up with others as the one Body of Christ to be His fullness and expression (Eph 1:23)."

 

The "power of God unto salvation" gives reason for Paul's boldness...it isn't excellent speach capabilities, or wise oratory discourses, or personal charisma, or an individual's ability to sound convincing...it isn't our groveling on the ground before the Lord begging for forgiveness or heart wrenching prayers that afford us our salvation. It is the message of Christ crucified, dead, buried and risen, when believed, is where the power of God grants salvation.

 

God has passed by the intellect of man, and sets aside all his possible reasoning, ability, philosophy and wisdom by the 'proclaiming of the gospel'. Paul is a small and weak Jew who proclaims the gospel to the 'wise', and it is foolishness to them. Yet certain men (and women), cling to this "good news" and believe this proclamation and will spend eternity with God. The rvbv states, "The story of Christ's dying for our sins, buried, raised, manifested is the great wire along which runs God's mighty current of saving power. Beware lest you be putting up some little wire of your own, unconnected with the Divine throne and therefore non-saving to those to whom you speak."

 

"To the Jew first and also to the Greek" - The Jew had the law, they had the temple and its divinely prescribed worship. If a Gentile were to be saved, he would have to come to Jerusalen to worship. Christ came to Jerusalem, to His Father's house (literally, "the things of My Father"). The apostles were to be witnesses, originating from Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit fell upon the 120 at Jerusalem, at which time persecution arose in Jerusalem with Stephen. The disciples then scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. Jerusalem however, was the gospel's first center, and afterwards Antioch in Syria. Later, the center of God's operations was Ephesus, the capital of proconsular Asia where they were rejected by the Jews in many cities. Paul then separates the disciples, and all distinction between Jew and Greek in the assemblies of the saints is gone. Paul then goes to Jerusalem to be finally and officially rejected. God waits for the Jews to repent for 2 years at Caesarea, but the direct opposite occured. Paul is driven into the hands of the Romans by the Jews, goes to Rome and the Jews once again reject his teaching. It is there that it is announced "Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they will also hear." (Acts 28).

 

Paul is not describing an order of presentation when he says "To the Jew first and also to the Greek". He is just recognizing the fact that the Jew had had the Law and Divine privileges, and the gospel had first been presented to them...and then to the Gentile.

 

In verse 17 "For God's righteousness on the principle of faith to [such as have] faith is revealed in it [the gospel]: just as it is written, "The righteous on the principle of faith shall live."

 

This is another reason Paul was not ashamed of the good news because it was brought to light a righteousness of God which had been prophesied. God acting in righteousness wholly on the basis of Christ's atoning work...to be believed in, rested upon, apart and seperate from all human works.

 

The rvbv states "In these days of "respectable" Christianity, with its great cathedrals, churches, denominations, colleges, seminaries, "uplift movements," etc, you may say, Men no longer have any temptation to be "ashamed of the gospel." But lo, and behold, it is not the gospel they preach; but a man-reforming, world-mending message of fallen flesh! Who today preaches of the wrath of God? But Paul speaks of wrath twelve times in Romans, and says: "If God visit not with wrath, He cannot be the Judge of the world." Who preaches of the awful things we are about to find true of the Gentile world in the end of this chapter? Who preaches, that even among the moral philosophers, the "better classes"; or the "religious" world as represented by the Jew: or in the whole world that "none is righteous," "none doeth good"? Who preaches that the wole world is under Divine sentence of guilt, and that no man is able to put this guilt away? that the shed blood of Christ as the vicarious sacrifice for human guilt is absolutely the only hope of man? Who preaches this, today?..."

 

The word "For" in verse 17 is a logical setting forth of the reason why the good news regarding the work of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. This verse is the essence of the whole text of Romans: "Therein God's righteousness is revealed".

 

God could have come and doomed the whole Adamic race. He would have been acting in accordance with His holiness, and it would have been "the righteousness of God" unto judgment, and would have been just.

 

BUT! God, who is love, and although He is infinitely holy and hates sin, chose to act toward us in righteousness in a manner wherein all His holy and righteous claims against us sinners have been satisfied once and for all, forever and ever, upon a Substitute, His own Son. Consequently in this "good news", Christ died for our sins in direct accordance with the Scriptures, He was buried, He was raised on the third day acording to the Scriptures and He was manifested. For the first time, God has openly revealed his righteousness on the principle of faith. We have but to only hear and believe and we will find. Our guilt has been put away, washed away, gone forever by the Blood of Christ, and God has declared that we are made righteousness IN Christ.

 

Heavenly Father,

 

I'm just sitting here feeling kinda quiet. A part of me feels that over the years and centuries since the gospel was birthed in the work that Jesus did, that the depth of meaning of all that He did, and all that You gave us, has been watered down. I mean, I know these things in my head and I believe them, but I sense a hairline fracture going on in my heart and some of this depth that You meant, is starting to permeate, and it just leaves me feeling a little quiet...absorbing it, thinking about it, grasping to comprehend it. But Father, please continue this understanding...let me no longer just know these things in my head, please explode them in my heart because I desire to comprehend all things about You.

 

So Father, I just ask that You would increase in measure, Your Holy Spirit over my life, and ours...so that we could see and comprehend, NOT with our hearts and minds, but through You, all that You have done.

 

I'm only 17 verses into this and there are 15 chapters, and already I'm feeling like, "oh wow". I love Your Word and so many times I go to sleep at night holding my Bible close to my heart because it brings comfort. So thank You.

 

As I go through this day, be with me, and us.

 

I love You, Father God.

 

In Jesus Name (oh wow, You gave so much for me) I pray,

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