1. Gospel Power: Romans
Our lives are living testimonies of the Gospel, showcasing that in Christ, all can be transformed and redeemed!
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.”
When Jesus rose from the dead, the course of history took a new direction, and the life of every person was impacted eternally! In his letter to the Romans, Paul unpacks the significance of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. What does the Gospel mean for our lives?
Paul first lays out the basics most central to the Christian faith: We are made right with God by putting our faith in him. This reconciliation is necessary because all humanity is trapped in sin, unable to love God or live under his rule. All are guilty of sin and face God’s wrath.
But the good news is that Jesus came to die as a sacrifice for sin. He overcame sin by resurrecting from the dead, and he makes this resurrection life available to those who trust in him. Paul sums all this up in Romans 6:23, saying, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Those who put their faith in Christ are united to him, meaning what’s true of Jesus becomes true of them! Christians are justified before God: they no longer have a guilty standing. Christ’s perfect life has been credited to them, and their status is declared: righteous!
Paul then goes on to explain that this right standing with God changes everything going forward! By accepting their new identity in Christ, Christians are free from the controlling power of sin and able to experience life! God’s gift of eternal life is not confined to existence after death; for Christians, it begins now!
The more we are untangled from our patterns of sin and grow in our love for God and others, the more we experience an abundant way of living. Romans calls this process of spiritual growth “sanctification.” Paul reminds his reader that just as salvation came from God and not our own works, so sanctification comes from faith in God’s promises and dependence upon his power within us.
Lest his reader become discouraged or anxious about their spiritual growth, Paul reminds them that God stays with his people to the very end, gloriously completing the work in them that he began.
After communicating the beauty of the Gospel, Paul entrusts his reader with a calling, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:1-2).” Paul is urging people to respond to God’s great mercy by living their lives for him. Transformation to do so comes from the renewal of their minds. In other words, Christians are changed by encountering and embracing the truths of the Gospel, such as what is presented in the letter of Romans.
At the end of his letter, Paul lays out tangible examples of how God’s transformation manifests itself in people’s lives. Forgiven in Christ, Christians are not weighed down by guilt and shame; rather, they are free, confident that nothing can separate them from God’s love. Christians also grow in love and humility, seeking to serve others with their gifts. They reject judgment and unite with other believers across their differences. Christians forgive and love those even they consider their enemies.
Christ’s saving work brings us from death to live, and it continues to renew us each and every day.
RESPOND: Take a moment to offer your life to God as a living testimony of the Gospel, showcasing that in Christ, all can be transformed and redeemed.