I love a good thesis statement. In Romans 1:16-17, this is exactly what you get. The sermon text for this Sunday is Romans 1:16-32 but it is here, in Romans 1:16-17, where you get the entire theme of the Letter to the Romans in one nice, little package.
Verses 16 and 17 are connected to what Paul was just talking about in verse 14 concerning his obligation. In verse 15, he explains that he is eager to share the Good News in light of this obligation. Verses 16 and 17 explain Paul’s eagerness. There are three reasons and each reason is prefaced by the word, “for.”
- Not Ashamed
In secular Greek from the same time as the Bible, “Good News” is often related to the announcement of a victory. The idea of being ashamed is similar to being left hung out to dry. Paul is not ashamed, he is not concerned about being hung out to dry by the promises of God. There is certainty.
- Power of God
The Good News is God’s gracious power by which he saves mankind from their sins. So in this case, the Good News is not merely a pronouncement of victory but because it is the power of God unto salvation, it actually effects the victory. This gracious power comes to us through the hearing of the Good News as found in the where God has told us to find it, in the Word and Sacraments.
- Righteousness of God is being Revealed
God’s righteousness is revealed in the Good News. God’s righteous judgement against sin, as you will see in the remainder of chapter 1 but it is also revealed through the proclamation of the Good News which declares sinners righteous through faith in Jesus.
Are we eager to preach the Good News? God’s promises won’t hang us out to dry. We can have absolute certainty that they will come to pass because the promise is backed by the LORD. Our eagerness is spurred on by the knowledge that by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ and through the preaching of the Good News, lost sinners come to faith and salvation.