Paul’s Letter to the Romans Part 6

This entry is part 6 of 35 in the series Paul's Letter to the Romans

They (the Romans) were thus puffed up, but Paul was going to preach Jesus, who was thought to be the carpenter’s son, who was brought up in Judea, who had no body guards, who was not encircled in wealth, but even died as a culprit with robbers, and endured many other shameful things; for this reason he says, “I am not ashamed”.

Part 6

Do you worship the Crucified? The Cross is for us the work of unspeakable Love towards man, the sign of His great concern for us. Paul means to say, he came to preach the Cross, and is not ashamed because of it: “for it is the power of God to salvation.” The Gospel tells us of the account of hell, and that of the outer darkness, and of the venomous worm? And yet we know of these from no other source than the Gospel. In what sense then does he say, “the power of God unto salvation?”  

“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). It is possible to be saved, yet not without shame. To prevent the Church from believing this he adds also righteousness; and not just your own, but that of God; hinting also at the abundance of it and its provision. You do not achieve it by hard work and labors, but you receive it by a gift from above, contributing only one thing from yourself, “believing.” These things seemed challenging to understand, being that adulterer and effeminate person, and robber of graves, and magician, are not only freed from punishment but also become just, with the highest righteousness. Paul confirms his defense using the Old Testament. He made mention of the harlot and of Abraham in Hebrews chapter 11; which is the chapter on the faithful. He again confirms what he had said from the Prophets, bringing in Habakkuk before them, crying, and saying, it is not the nature of the living, to live otherwise except by faith; for “the just,” he says, “shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). 

“For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold down the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). Paul says that the Gospel is the cause of salvation and of life, that it is the power of God, that it produces salvation and righteousness, and he mentions what might make them fearful to prevent their recklessness. Observe Christ’s actions, he came to bring forgiveness, righteousness, life, yet not in any way, but by the Cross, which is greatest also and wonderful, that He not only gave such things, but that He also suffered such things. If you carelessly mock His gifts, Paul tells us, penalties await you. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.” The old testament speaks of famines and pestilences and wars: for each individually and all in common are punished. What will be the new thing then? The punishment from God shall be manifest, when the Judge, sitting upon the fearful tribunal, shall command some to be dragged to the furnaces, and some to the outer darkness, and some to other unstoppable and intolerable punishments. Why, might you ask, is it that Paul does not speak plainly? His hearers were novices, and therefore he draws them first by things commonly allowed by them. Therefore, he begins this way, but afterwards he introduces the subject of Christ’s judgment.

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