Introduction (Romans 1:1-17)
“God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).
God loves humanity. The human race; human beings collectively. Jn 3:16 expresses His love in a profound way. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” What a powerful expression of love towards His creation.
In 2016, during the election season, the Lord said to me “Donald Trump is a “rabble rouser”. I was filled with mixed emotions. Who would be our next president? What is happening to our nation? Why does this man say inflammatory things that stir up strife? A rabble rouser is someone who stirs up the masses of people. It could be for political or other reasons. I don’t believe the Lord was showing me a negative side of Mr. Trump, but was actually showing me how far this nation has turned from the path of righteousness.
There are many issues we are facing as a nation, abortion, racism, poverty, inequality, mass shootings, sex trafficking, homosexuality, transgender-ism, sexual fluidity, outright hatred among people groups, etc. We witness the growing incivility in public discourse in media and social media on a daily basis. God hates injustice. I do believe He is calling for this nation to return righteousness to be a beacon of light and hope to other nations. He is calling Christians to return and be a representation of Christ in the earth. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach.
“Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov 14:34 NLT).
Times have changed and it is important that we understand the times we live in. We are seeing the confusion in the world intensify on a daily basis. We see and hear of wars and rumors of wars, ethnic conflict in many nations, terrorism, economic conflict, trade wars and division with nations rising against nation, and within nations.
The theme of Romans is the “righteousness of God.” The Book of Romans was written by the apostle Paul from the Greek city of Corinth in AD 57. The political climate in the capital had not yet deteriorated for the Roman Christians, as Nero wouldn’t begin his persecution of them until he made them scapegoats after the great Roman fire in AD 64. Therefore, Paul wrote to a church that was experiencing a time of relative peace, but a church that he felt needed a strong dose of basic gospel doctrine. 1
Corinth was a major focus for the apostle Paul’s ministry. The city of Corinth had a reputation for sexual promiscuity and idol worship.2 When Paul wrote in Romans about the sinfulness of humanity or the power of God’s grace to miraculously and completely change lives, he knew what he was talking about. This played out before his eyes every day.
Paul had never been to Rome when he wrote the letter to the Romans, though he desired to go there (Acts 19:21; Romans 1:10–12). Paul always took opportunities to personalize his letters and personally connect with his audience so that the message of the gospel might be received.
The primary theme of Paul’s letter to the Romans is the revelation of God’s righteousness in His plan for salvation. A gospel of power for everyone who believes:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16–17)
The Gospel is the power of God for salvation. It is a powerful message of love, deliverance and healing for everyone who believes. Why be ashamed of it?
May the grace, joy, and peace of God be yours through Jesus Christ our loving Lord. To Him be glory, now and forever.
1 Swindoll, Charles, Romans, insight for living, insight.org
2 David G. Horrell, Corinth, Bible Odyssey, bibleodyssey.org
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.