Reading through the Bible together
The book of Romans is a powerful explanation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ellen White offers some insight into how Paul’s epistle to the Romans brings such great light to us. “With great clearness and power He presented the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ. . . . The great truth of justification by faith, as set forth in this epistle, has stood through all the ages as a mighty beacon to guide the repentant sinner into the way of life. . . . It has guided thousands of sin-burdened souls to the same source of pardon and peace. Every Christian has reason to thank God for that epistle to the church at Rome.” (Sketches from the Life of Paul, pp. 187, 188).
In the first six verses, Paul offers a brief picture of what he will share in the first eight chapters. He is an apostle, called of God, to preach the gospel which had also been shared to Israel in the Old Testament Scriptures. This good news is about Jesus Christ, who in verse 3, “was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” Thus, Jesus came as a human which qualified Him to die as a sacrifice for sins so we can receive His grace. Furthermore, His life empowers us to be delivered from sin when we accept Him as our Savior. This is indeed very good news!
In verses 16 and 17, Paul describes the power of the gospel. The Greek word for power is dunamis which is similar to dynamite. The gospel is powerful for the righteousness of God is revealed in the lives of those who believe, which is the evidence of justification by faith. Notice how Ellen White connects justification by faith with the last message to the world. She says, “Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, ‘It is the third angel’s message in verity.’ The prophet declares, ‘And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory’” (Review and Herald, April 1, 1890).
In other words, those who experience justification by faith will reveal the righteousness of God and will be empowered to give the loud cry message to the world. This is a power not to be ashamed of. After pointing out that God is against all ungodliness, Paul shows why there is a need for the gospel, and identifies the wickedness of those who have no part of God (vs. 18-32). In the next chapter, he outlines the sinfulness of those who claim to know God.
Norman McNulty, M.D.
Neurologist, Lawrenceburg, TN, USA