by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Romans: The Scandal of the Gospel (8 of 29)
Series: Through the New Testament
Roger Thomas
Romans 1:15-17; Romans 4:5

Introduction: Romans is an important book. This one book of the Bible has changed the course of Christian history time and time again. St. Augustine, considered by many to be the church's greatest theologian since Paul, was converted by Romans.

The Protestant Reformation ignited by Martin Luther really began when Luther discovered the lessons of Romans. He wrote, "'This Epistle is the chief book of the New Testament, the purest gospel. It deserves not only to be known word for word by every Christian, but to be the subject of his meditation day by day, the daily bread of his soul ... The more time one spends in it, the more precious it becomes and the better it appears."

Two hundred years later, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism who greatly influenced English speaking Christianity, was transformed by this same Epistle. New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce says, "Time and again in the course of human history {Romans} has liberated the minds of men, brought them back to an understanding of the essential gospel of Christ, and started spiritual revolutions."

Why Romans? Because it is a bold, no-holds barred statement of the Gospel. The theme of the book starts in Romans 1:16-17 that we looked at last week. Think about it! "I am not ashamed of the gospel." That's a bold claim. It's also a strange claim. Why would a person be ashamed of the gospel? This is not the only place that Paul makes such an association. In another place he speaks of the "offense of the cross" (Gal 5:11). He says that the preaching of the cross is foolish to Greeks and a stumbling block to Jews (1 Cor 1:23). What offense could one possible find in the Gospel?

That's what Romans is about. It is an acknowledgment that there is something potentially embarrassing about the Christian faith. It then sets out to set the record straight. The problem ...

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