The Power of the Gospel
Read Romans 1:14-32
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”
Romans 1:18-32 provides a clear picture of the depravity of unbelief and the consequences of sin. As we read the pronouncement of God’s judgment upon those who supplant the wisdom of God with the wisdom of man, we cannot help but see parallels to what is occurring in our own culture. When sin runs rampant, people reject the creator and become worshipers of the creation. Instead of turning to God for wisdom, they turn to human reasoning.. This is vividly illustrated in our own country today as people look to the wisdom of man to provide moral direction. The result is that we have elevated (worshiped) creation and devalued humanity. We live in a world where the life of an Eagle is protected in the egg, but a baby in the womb is open season. As a result of our depravity, God allows sin to increased unchecked by his restraining grace. Instead of seeking a truth driven morality and ethics, people are driven by the ethos of personal and sexual pleasure. Right and wrong is not determined by God’s moral law, but by what “makes us happy and gives us pleasure.” When this happens, society becomes driven by anger, rage, and hatred (vs 29) where authority (even the authority of parents) is to be challenged and rejected (s 30). The apex of depravity is seen in the fact that now society gives “hearty approval to those who practice” their sexual and moral perversion (vs 32). It is unquestionable that Romans 1 is being played out before our very eyes in our country even as it was played out in the moral debauchery of the Roman empire.
Yet, Paul’s description of unbelief and its consequences is not to warn the Christian to “button up the hatches” and prepare for the coming spiritual storm. In fact, his purpose is the very opposite. His description of the descent of culture into moral anarchy is given to illustrate the necessity and power of the gospel. He begins his discussion in verse 18 with the word “for” which points us back to verses 16-17, serving to provide the foundation for why the gospel is the center of his message. For Paul, the descent into unrestrained sin is not hopeless, rather it points us back to the power of the Gospel. Instead of shrinking back in silence and shame because the gospel is rejected by people, Paul points out that in the face of such depravity, the power of the gospel is fully revealed. As the world descends into spiritual darkness, the power of the gospel becomes more evident as it has the ability to penetrate the darkness and bring hope and transformation to people. As God’s judgment is on display, his grace is still at work, bringing spiritual healing and salvation to the worst of sinners.
The answer to the nation’s moral and spiritual confusion resulting in political and moral chaos is the gospel message of the salvation and transformation that Christ gives through his death and resurrection. It is not the politician, not the activist, not the media, not the scientist, but the Gospel that is the hope of humanity. Instead of being quiet, we need to boldly proclaim the salvation of Christ. It is a light that is not to be placed under a basket, to be hidden from the world, but one that is to be placed in a position of prominence to give light to all who look upon it (Mathew 5:15). Now is not the time to be ashamed of the gospel because it contradicts popular opinion. Now is the time to recognize its redemptive power to change the lives of people. Ask God to give you greater boldness in the gospel and to realize its transforming power in your life and the lives of people you come in contact with.