The Power of God for Salvation

Romans 1:1,7-17 ESV

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.. To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints..

“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

“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.’”

The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Christians in Rome, to those loved by God and called to be saints. And a saint is a person who believes in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of his life, who is living a life separate (unlike, different) from the world because he is now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. It means to be holy in all our conduct. And those loved by God are those who love and obey the Lord Jesus with their lives.

[John 14:15-24; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Peter 1:14-16; 1 John 2:3-6,15-17]

These were followers of Jesus Christ whose faith was being proclaimed in all the world, so they had a reputation of being people of God of genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ, a faith which produced love for God and obedience to his commands. So they were of the body of Christ, and of those who were in true biblical fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ and with the other saints of God who were also in fellowship with the Lord. And so Paul prayed for them regularly, and he longed to see them in person.

And what was the goal of Paul’s visit with them? It wasn’t just to hang out with them, and to play games, and to make jokes and laugh and watch plays (stage performances like movies), and to talk about all the latest gadgets. His goal in getting together with them was that he might impart some spiritual gift to them to strengthen them in their faith, and that they might be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both theirs and his. Now, that is to be the purpose of our gatherings as believers in Jesus Christ, too.

For we all need each other. So, we are called of God to speak the truth in love, one to the other, so that we are not led astray by false teachings, but so we will all grow together to maturity in Christ our Lord. And we are to address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. And we are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ, according to the will of God and his purpose for our lives. And we are to exhort one another daily so that not one of us will be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness, and we are to stir up one another to love and good works, encouraging one another daily.

[Rom 12:1-8; Rom 15:14; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Php 2:1-8; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25]

Now, I find this next part particularly interesting. Although Paul addressed this group of believers as those of faith, called of God to be saints, and as those with whom he could find mutual encouragement, he included them in the grouping of people to whom he intended to preach the gospel, as best as I understand what this is saying. But that makes sense when we truly understand what the gospel message is.

For the gospel of Jesus Christ is not just to “believe” (usually not biblically defined) in Jesus Christ and now all your sins are forgiven and now heaven is guaranteed you when you die, end of story. For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we die with him to sin and live to his righteousness, then we have eternal life in him. For if we are ashamed of him, he will deny us.

But Paul was not ashamed of Jesus Christ, and he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ which teaches that God-given faith in Jesus Christ should produce within us genuine repentance (dying to sin) and obedience to our Lord (following Jesus with our lives) and walks of righteousness. For to live by faith is to forsake our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience and to walk in his ways and in righteousness and holiness. And it is to no longer live as slaves (addicted) to sin, but now as slaves of God, for the glory and honor and praise of God, and in the power and wisdom of God.

[Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-32; Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

My Jesus, I Love Thee

Hymn lyrics by William R. Featherstone, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

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