By Elizabeth Prata
Paul opens his massive and majestic letter to the Romans with effusive rhapsodies of his love for the Roman believers and his gratitude for their faith- which he said is known the world over. He speaks of his intense desire to come to them so that he can be encouraged by their faith. Paul mentions them all the time to everyone. And so on.
First, we note Paul’s ministerial desire for his flocks and his obedient submission to his ordained role as Christian, pastor, sufferer. He is surely a super-Christian, if one such designation existed.
In the iconic movie The Princess Bride, Inigo is sailing a boat with all due speed in attempt to get away with a kidnapping. He looks back at one point and sees a distant boat on the horizon. The breeze is gentle and the night is long, so he has no worries. When he looks up again, he sees the boat is now close. And after a while, closer, then closer… This perplexing phenomenon causes him to utter the well-known line,
It’s like that with Paul. We might say, “I wonder if he is using the same Spirit we are using?” and the answer would be “Yes”. I am awed by Paul’s fervor, dedication, diligence and deep obedience never having wavered. He died poured out as a drink offering, a rushing torrent of obedience and love spilling across the altar of his beloved Savior.
Then in verse 15 of chapter 1, Paul says this-
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. (Romans 1:15).
Hadn’t Paul confirmed the Roman believers’ solid faith, their well-known faith, their doctrinal and loving faith? Yes.
Some could interpret the verse as Paul being anxious to come minister to them, which is definitely true. But he didn’t say only that. He said he is eager to come preach the Gospel at Rome to Greeks and barbarians, to the wise and the foolish, “and also to you.” The Greek word for Gospel in this verse is euaggelizó which means bringing or preaching the full Gospel of Christ.
Some could interpret this as Paul’s eagerness to preach the Gospel indiscriminately to all, and that would also be true.
But do believers need the Gospel?
The answer would be “Yes.”
The Gospel is not a once-for-all mechanism that saves a person from the wrath of God and installs him into the kingdom as a child of God. Not only. It is the launching pad, and the eternal linchpin. It is the indispensable necessity for life eternal in the believer on earth and forever. The Good News is always Good News, and it continues being so, even for believers. Especially for believers.
The Good News is the fullness of Jesus, the encompassing message, the total plan of God, the victory of Jesus over sin, death, and hell. It is a message of resurrection, triumph, power, and abundant life. We all need this message, every day! Paul knew this. The Gospel is the mighty rushing wind of power and sustenance for every believer on earth who lives by the Spirit. We are reminded of the verse from 1 Thessalonians 1:5a
because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.
Paul said in the very next verse, Romans 1:16 these famous and everlastingly glorious words:
For 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. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,e as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
The faith we live by is that Gospel, Good News of the savior Jesus Christ. We needed it when we were foolish, wise, Greeks, and barbarians. Now that we are saved, it’s a message “And also to you.” The gospel necessity never ends.