Greetings: 1:1-3. Paul begins the epistle of Romans with a standard greeting and thanksgiving. In verse one Paul calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ and a called apostle. He was set apart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul was a bond servant of Jesus Christ because he was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor 6:19, 20). He served the Lord not out of fear but out of love (Ex 21:1-6). Secondly Paul is a called apostle. He is divinely appointed by God (Acts 26:16). Paul claimed his apostleship on four grounds. He is chosen of God (Acts 9:15). He is personally commissioned by Christ (Acts 9:6). He is an eye witness of the risen Christ (1 Cor 9:1, 2). He is also the recipient of the divine revelation (Gal 1:16). Paul was separated for the ministry of the gospel of God (Gal 1:15). The word "gospel" means "good news". It is the good news of a Savior who conquered sin and death. It is the gospel of God. The source of the gospel is God . The gospel was promised in the Old Testament (Gen 3:15; Isaiah 53). It is the fulfillment of God's promise to bless the world through Abraham (Gen 12:1-3). The gospel is not man’s idea (Gal 1:11). By quoting over 60 times from the Old Testament, Paul proves to the Jews that Jesus is the promised Messiah. The scripture points out that Jesus is David's son who was born in his family line. In fact the Gospel is not about Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus is the Son of God:1:4-7. Christ was declared to be the Son of God by the unmistakable sign of his resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:31). Jesus was raised from the dead to demonstrate God's power and affirmation of his saving work on the cross (1:4). He is eternally the Son of God. This unique relationship makes Jesus equal with the Father (Rom 9:5; Col 2:9). He was born in the likeness of men to die for our sin (Phil 2:7). Jesus did not die as an example or as a humanitarian but as our substitute (Rom 5:8; 2 Cor 5:21). Jesus was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit. Here we see Christ’s humiliation and exaltation
(Phi 2:11). Paul received grace to preach the gospel for the obedience of faith (Rom 1:5; 16:26). Gospel is also relevant for those who are saved in their every day life. Grace is the heart of the gospel message. It is mentioned over 155 times in the New Testament. Grace is the undeserving favor we receive from God. It cannot be earned by good works (Rom 11:6; 1 Cor 15:10). Believers are recipients of God’s grace. They are the beloved of God and saints by divine calling. The saint is one called of God and set apart to God for his service. They are not identified with the practice of canonization in the this epistle. Paul greets Christians with grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace can never be separated. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Peace is not only the absence of strife but the blessing of tranquility that comes as a result of reconciliation with God. Grace is the typical Greek greeting word and peace is the Jewish greeting word. Paul uses both greeting words to bridge the Jewish believers and the Gentile believers who are in Christ.
Paul’s Prayer: 1:8-13. Paul thanked God for the faith of Roman believers. It was a strong and growing faith in Christ talked about all over the world. It was also an obedient faith in God. Gospel was preached to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith (Rom 16:26). Their faith produced visible results. The gospel message is not merely intended to produce new converts. It has the power to transform them spiritually (Rom 1:16). Their faith was known throughout the world. Those who know Christ desire to make him known to others. Does our faith in Christ impact others? Paul’s prayer on behalf of believers was a regular intercessory act of worship to God. His prayer was personal, specific, genuine and submissive in nature. Someone has said “Specific prayers are dynamic prayers”. Paul longed to visit the Roman church so that he might impart some spiritual gift that strengthen them spiritually. Since Paul was an apostle to the gentiles, he wanted to give his apostolic stamp on this church. Also he desired to be encouraged by them. The believers should be mutually encouraged by each other's faith and ministry. It was Paul's lifelong desire to visit Rome but somehow it was prevented until now. He longed to see some fruit among them. The gospel is the daily food for every believer. Paul had an evangelistic purpose in all that he was doing. Hindrance does not mean that we are out of the will of God.
Paul’s Attitude towards the Gospel: 1:14-16. Paul considered himself a debtor to the whole world. He was saved by grace and received the grace of apostleship to preach the gospel. Nobody qualifies for grace nor deserves it. It is God’s unmerited favor. In God’s mind there are only two groups of people in the world; saved and unsaved. Paul says “I am ready to preach the gospel to you”. Paul saw urgency of preaching the gospel because the souls are perishing and time is short. He was also eager to preach the gospel to the Roman church (1:15). Paul was a prepared and available vessel to be used of God (2 Tim 2:21). The gospel message not only intended to produce new converts, it is also relevant for those who are already saved. Many of us are not ready to preach the gospel because we lack vision and passion for the souls. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. Paul was a Jew, Roman citizen and an educated man. To Jews, the gospel was a stumbling block, to the Greek it was intellectual suicide, and to the Romans it shows weakness. At that time Christians were branded as atheists. Yet Paul was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes the Jew first and also Gentile (Rom 1:16). The gospel does what law could not do. It compels men to face the reality of sin and divine judgment. It is the universal message. Gospel has the power to save everyone who believes regardless of social status and ethnicity.
In the Gospel the righteousness of God is revealed (1:17). The gospel is "Dynamite" because it tells us how God makes us right in his sight. Righteousness is that aspect of God’s holiness and how He treats sinners. God demands righteousness and we do not have it. Yet Christ died for our sins. Thus God reveals his righteous judgment of sin by putting Christ to death for our sin (1:17). Christ suffered the punishment of our sin on the cross to make us righteous before God (2 Cor 5:21). Jesus Christ is our righteousness (1 Cor 1:30). This righteousness is received by faith in Christ. Those who are made righteous have a right standing before God. Paul quotes Habakkuk 2:4 here to show that “The just shall live by faith”. Christ’s righteousness not only saves us but also enables us to live a righteous life. It is revealed to those who believe the gospel. Their life will be characterized by faith and holy living.
Why we should not be ashamed of the gospel? Gospel is the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. Christians should not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Jesus was not ashamed to call us brethren (Heb 2:11). Paul was persecuted and shamed by others for preaching the gospel yet he was not ashamed of the gospel (2 Cor 11:23-26). When only the gospel can give forgiveness of sin, how can we be ashamed of the gospel?(Luke 24:47). When this is our great commission, how shall we remain silent? (Matt 28:18-20). When God has promised us His power which is far superior to all other power, how can we be ashamed of the gospel? (Acts 1:8). When Jesus loved us and gave himself for us, how can we be ashamed of Him? (Gal 2:20). When millions are perishing in sin, how can we remain silent and be ashamed of Christ? When we receive the grace to witness and others are praying for us, how we be ashamed of the gospel? When gospel is the only power of God for salvation, how can we be ashamed of the gospel? The gospel is too good to keep it for ourselves. Paul was not only willing but was ready to preach the gospel. Pray that God would help to find an evangelistic purpose in all that we do. The evangelism must the priority and passion of all the churches and believers.