Daily Reading: Today’s bible reading is Romans 1.
I pray our time together in Romans is helpful and that you are blessed by it! I wrote a brief intro to the book to get us started. You can read that here.
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
What’s so great about the gospel? What does it have to do with my everyday life? Romans powerfully and practically answers those questions for us! Romans 1:16 & 17 set the tone for the rest of the book.
“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 for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16-17 ESV)
Paul is not ashamed of the gospel, and he’s about to preach it to us in a really powerful way over the next few weeks! These two verses bring up three big themes that we’re going to see over and over again in this book:
1) The gospel is powerful! Paul will remind us that we can’t save ourselves, we need the power of God’s grace through the gospel in our lives.
2) The gospel is for everyone. There was some struggle in the early church when “new folks” started showing up. The Jews felt they had the inside track on relationship with God and now the Gentiles (non-Jews) were coming in droves!
3) The righteous (saved people) live by faith. We don’t live by being really good so God will love us. We are really good because God has already loved us. The gospel isn’t something we do one time. It’s the power of God in our lives on a daily basis.
Paul doesn’t waste any time in this book. He jumps right into the meat in Chapter 1! Verses 18-23 set the stage for “scene 1” of the gospel story: Our Sin
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)
The good news us Jesus is sweetest to us on the back drop of our sinfulness. Paul reminds us that, before our Creator, every one of us has failed to “honor him as God or give thanks to him.” Not only that, we’ve put other things in his place. Maybe it’s people, things, accomplishments, or even self; all of us have pushed God aside from his rightful place on the throne in our hearts and placed something else there. Verse 18 says that because of this, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven…”
Romans 1 serves as a humbling reminder of our sinfulness and need for Jesus. We have received so much grace. This passage helps us remember just how much.
Questions for reflection:
- What is something you have “exchanged the glory of the immortal God” with? Are there things in your life that are taking priority instead of worshiping God?
- How does the gospel impact your life right now? How can the gospel help you overcome that are taking priority in your life?