For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. Verse 16 (NIV)
Romans 1:16 is my favourite verse as a vocational verse for life. As a pastor, one of my favourite tasks is preaching. I would not describe preaching as either easy or simply fun. But it can be incredibly meaningful when you sense that something in your message of God’s love connects with your listeners. So, I can appreciate that Paul is eager to preach the gospel to the people he cares about in Rome.
Paul is eager not because he thinks he’s so good at what he does or because he would like to be recognized for being a great orator. The reason for his eagerness comes from the fact that the gospel is the power of God. And it is power for a specific purpose.
The gospel has been hijacked by so many in so many different ways. The gospel is not power to get a new bill of health, or to gain the friend or spouse you desire. It’s not power for financial success or fault-free parenting. It’s not power to get to heaven when you die. It is the power for salvation. And salvation has to do with being in a right relationship with God.
Paul’s eagerness in all this is a reflection of God’s desire. God wants me to belong to him as fully as I can in the life I am now living. That’s the point of the gospel, and that is its power. The challenge for me is to have the same eagerness for God that God has for me.
Dear God, help us not to use the gospel for our own desires but to seek you, and to know your desire for us, that we might find you in all of your fullness. Amen.