The Gospel – Sun – 22-12-11

Have you ever felt ashamed? I remember many years ago when the fans of the Cleveland Browns showed their embarrassment over the team’s performance. They wore paper grocery bags over their heads at the game. How different from people thrilled by their team and sporting the latest jersey.

That feeling of a thrilled fan, in contrast to the embarrassed fan, is our starting point this week.  Paul wrote in Romans 1:16-17, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”’ (NIV)

So much is packed into these two verses. It is the good news about Jesus in 61 words, the gospel in a nutshell. The gospel is God’s power to save. It is for everyone who believes. Righteousness, that is the ability to meet the demands of God’s law, is revealed in it and accessed and experienced by faith.

This week, we’ll unpack this gospel by looking at a few verses in the first five chapters of Romans. As we prepare for Christmas, we’ll remember the ultimate meaning of it all. In a world that seeks to shame us about Jesus, may we be thrilled again by the gospel.

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.