Romans 1:1-17

Right With God.

Romans 1:1-17

This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” – Romans 1:17 NLT

It’s not hard to tell what Paul has on his mind as he launches his letter to the believers in Rome. Seven times in seventeen verses he brings up the topic of the Good News of Jesus Christ. This was a favorite topic of Paul’s and he never grew tired of writing and talking about it. But his interest was far more than academic. The Good News truly was great news to Paul because it had transformed his life in a real and radical way. At one time he had been a paid persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ, arresting Christians and throwing them in prison. He was determined to destroy Christianity and everyone who confessed to follow the teachings of Jesus. He was on his way to the city of Damascus to continue his personal vendetta against “The Way,” when he had a personal encounter with the resurrected Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. His recounting of the story is recorded in Acts 26, where he is on trial before King Agrippa. “One day I was on such a mission to Damascus, armed with the authority and commission of the leading priests. About noon, Your Majesty, as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the son shone down on me and my companions. We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’

“‘Who are you, lord? I asked.

“And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. You are to tell the world what you have seen and what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.'” (Acts 26:12-18 NLT).

At that moment, Paul’s life was radically changed and he would never be the same man again. He became one of the greatest witnesses for the transforming power of Christ and spread the message of the Good News found through faith in Christ throughout the known world of his day. Paul knew the power of the Good News. He had experienced it first hand. He had been called and commissioned by Jesus Himself to tell of this Good News to each and every person he met, and he did so unashamedly and unapologetically. The essence of the Good News and what makes its message great is that it contains the key to men being made right with God. Paul knew that apart from the Good News, there was nothing but bad news in store for all men and women. Throughout this letter, Paul would remind his readers over and over that there was only one way for them to be made right with God. And it was through faith in Jesus Christ. No amount of good works, religious efforts, or behaviorial change would fix what was wrong between them and God. They were all sinners and all faced the same dire prognosis. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23 NLT). They all faced the same fate. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a NLT).

But Paul had Good News. “…but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b NLT). The Good News was that God had provided a way for men to be restored to a right relationship with Him. He had provided a solution to the problem of sin and the penalty of death. He had sent His own Son to die in the place of men, sacrificing His own sinless life in order to pay the penalty for their sins and satisfy the just demands of a holy, righteous God. And all anyone had to do was accept the reality of that fact and believe it to be true for them – by faith. Paul will spend the rest of his time in this letter, painting the very real picture of the bad news and proclaiming the unbelievable reality of the Good News. This letter will be deeply personal, incredibly theological and highly practical. It will reveal the incredible mind of the apostle Paul and his passionate desire to see all believers grow in their knowledge of Christ and experience the full scope of the life-changing nature of the Good News. Read it slowly, thoughtfully and deliberately. Ask God to give you a deeper love and appreciation for the Good News than you have ever had before.

Father, make the Good News truly great in our lives. Don’t let us become complacent about this greatest of all gifts. Drive into our minds the reality of the bad news so that we might better appreciate the unbelievable beauty of the Good News. We have been made right with You and we played no part in it whatsoever. Don’t let us take that for granted. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men