Romans 1: The preview will begin now
Romans 1 begins just like a movie trailer...
I don’t know about you, but when I’m about to watch a DVD, the first thing I do is watch the trailers. I love to get ‘psyched’ for the movie, and it also helps give an idea about what you’re in for.
Romans 1:1-17 is the trailer for Romans. It tells us the big ideas of the book, but only just enough to whet our appetites. Grab the popcorn (and a Bible) and let’s get started!
Paul begins his letter saying that he’s an apostle (appointed spokesperson) for the ‘gospel of God’. The Gospel is God’s ‘story’ and we’re told that it was promised long ago in the Old Testament (1:2). It’s a promise about God’s Son, descended from David (1:3).
You can see it for yourself In 2 Samuel 7:1-17 , where God made the all important promise with David – that one day, one of his descendants will be God’s chosen king forever. On top of that, he will be called God’s Son and build God’s temple. While this was partly fulfilled in David’s son, Solomon, it didn’t reach completion. Paul brings this up to tell us who is going to fulfil this promise, and indeed, all God’s promises in the Bible.
The Promise fulfilled
Paul reveals the promise fulfiller is Jesus Christ our Lord (1:4). He was shown to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, and so his reign is to be told to everyone (1:5-6).
Paul then tells the Romans he’s been praying about them – without ceasing (1:9)! He thanks God that their faith is bringing glory to God (1:8) and prays that he’d be able to meet up with them, so they can build each other up in their trust in Christ (1:10ff). He truly wishes for them to grow as Christians and wants to help them in this, even though he’d never met them personally (1:13).
Paul is unashamed of the gospel. ‘It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes’, both Jew and non-Jew (1:16).
The promise for us
So, what can we learn from this preview of Romans? Well, God has called us to be subjects of Jesus Christ, the ultimate King of the universe. He has kept his promises and given us a powerful gospel, through which we are saved. He has given us righteousness by trusting in Jesus. Therefore, we should live with Jesus as our King. Just as Paul served God and longed to serve the Romans, we should seek to serve God and serve others - praying for them without ceasing.