In it [the gospel] the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Of all the books of the Bible, why should we study the book of Romans? There are three reasons I think this message is especially important at this time.
First, Romans is helpful because of the makeup of our churches today. Many local churches around the country today are growing more diverse ethically, economically, and spiritually. That is exactly the way God meant for our churches to be. But, in becoming more diverse, our churches are like the church in Rome that included people from all backgrounds. When churches have people coming from diverse faith backgrounds, it is important that we all operate from the same foundation: the Word of God. And that is why it is important for us to go back to the basics of the faith. There is no better book to do that than the book of Romans. This book is the spiritual soil that will give you the nourishment you need to grow in your faith.
Second, Romans is important because of our message. It is time for Christians to make sure we understand the message that we are sharing. Some people say, “Our message should not be one of condemnation; we should talk only about God’s love.” Wrong! said the Apostle Paul. The first three chapters of Romans demonstrate God’s condemnation against all people. Who is guilty before God? Paul asked. What about that person in a faraway country who has never had an opportunity to trust in Christ? Guilty! said Paul. What about that homosexual who is in a loving, monogamous relationship? Guilty! said Paul. What about that heterosexual who is in an adulterous relationship? Guilty! said Paul. What about that church member who does good things but has never trusted in Christ personally? Guilty! said Paul. All mankind is condemned before God. There is no good news to share with anyone unless you first understand the bad news. Most people do not know they need salvation until they understand their condemnation before God. We are not judging them; we are simply saying what God says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (3:23). The book of Romans is a reminder of our twofold message: the holiness of God and also the salvation of God through Jesus Christ.
Third, the book of Romans is a good reminder of our method of sharing this message. How do we transform the world with God’s Word one life at a time? There are a lot of churches that are not only changing their methods, but they are changing their message as well. They are diluting the message of God’s Word in order to attract a crowd. But Paul’s method that turned the world upside down was to preach the gospel. He said, “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’” (1:16-17).
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Romans: Grace-Powered Living” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.