We continue with our exploration through Paul’s letter to the Romans.  We saw last week that Paul began his letter with the affirmation that Jesus is the Messiah, and referring to the Old Testament promise of God’s promise to point to Jesus, and that invitation calls everyone to Him.

A recently presented documentary regarding a Roman Caesar, Nero, who persecuted Christians heinously.  And the church grew even during this time.  And only a simple action was needed for Christians to avoid the torture before them.  That was to recant their faith and to recognize Caesar as god.  How many recorded recantations do we find from Christians during that time?  None.  Because that relationship with Jesus was not flippant, but real and an needed part of their life.

Paul gives thanks to the Christians in Rome.  He knows the problems that are real there.  And he wants them to know they are being prayed for, and that he wishes to see them again.  Paul knows that God has given him power and gifts to pass on to them.  In the same way he points out that they have strong faiths that can encourage each other.  He knows that God gave him what he needs, just as God gives us all what we need.  And it leads us to know that it is important for us to be with one another.  Today this means that as much as the pastor of a church serves to encourage, the church also needs to encourage the pastor.

Paul is saying that he owes it to everyone, under obligation, to teach the gospel.  Even to those in Rome.  We should be under obligation to take the Gospel to all people.  There is no walk of life that is excluded.  And we know that it is above all obligations, and the truth of Jesus Christ is our highest honor to carry.

So why did Paul have to say that he was not ashamed?  There must have been some sort of growing movement in Rome or in that area for Christians to be ashamed of their beliefs.  This thread of shame in Christianity continues to this day.  How often do we see Christians pushing aside their beliefs making way for some cultural or opposite platform?  But Christianity does not make room for shame.  Why?  Because it is the Good News of Jesus that brings God’s power to all who believes in Him.  Period.  If that were not true, we should be the first to be ashamed.  But it is true.  And we will take that Good News with us and share that to those who need God’s salvation.

The righteousness of God is revealed by God.  And that can only be found through faith in Jesus.  No of us can lay claim to the knowledge of righteousness apart from faith in Jesus.  How awesome is God?  Righteousness defines the great nature of God.  But we are all divided from God because of our sin.  God’s righteousness includes the perfect judgement that requires our sin to be accounted for.  But Jesus took on our punishment, but requires our recognition of His sacrifice, it requires our faith.  Only then will God look right past our sin, seeing it paid for through the blood of Jesus, and makes available God’s righteousness.

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (ESV)

13 I want you to know, 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. 14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15 So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (ESV)

16 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. (ESV)

17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (ESV)