‘I am not ashamed of the Gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith’ (1:16). Let us say, with Paul, ‘God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14). Let us be ‘set apart for the gospel of God’ (1:1). None of us can ‘escape the judgment of God’. None of us can ‘presume upon the riches of His kindness’(2:3-4). We must hear this ‘bad news’ before we can rejoice in the Good News: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Before we can rejoice in our Saviour, we must confess our sins: ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ (Luke 18:13). We can never earn God’s love. His love is always ‘a gift’ – ‘the redemption which is in Christ Jesus’ (3:23-24). Through ‘faith’ we look away from ourselves to Christ. ‘His blood’ was shed for us. Receive from Him the forgiveness of our sins.
Salvation is God’s ‘gift’ (4:4-5). ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son’ (John 3:16): Without the love of God, the gift of God and the Son of God, there can be no salvation. God has given us a glimpse of our eternal destiny: ‘eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (5:21). Having caught sight of God’s glory, we see our ‘suffering’ in a new light, the light of ‘God’s love’ (5:2-5). We are ‘not under law but under grace’ (6:14). Keep your eyes fixed on the Saviour and your obedience will be Gospel obedience and not merely legal obedience. God has given us His Spirit – ‘we serve… in the new life of the Spirit’ (7:6). We are still sinners – ‘I am carnal, a slave to sin’ (7:14). Honestly confessing our sin, we say, ‘Wretched man that I am!’ Gladly rejoicing in our Saviour, we say, ‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (24-25).
The Spirit of God lives in you (8:9). God is preparing us for the greater ‘glory that will be revealed in us’ (8:18). You can be religious without being saved: ‘not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel… it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God’ (9;6-8). You can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ: Through faith in Him, those who were ‘not God’s people’ became ‘sons of the living God’ (9:26). Trust in Christ, not in yourself! ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (10:12-13). Pray that ‘faith will come as the Word of Christ is heard’ (10:17). ‘You stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe’ (11:20). It is only when we bow at the foot of the Cross that we are able to say, with Paul, ‘To Him be the glory for ever!’ (11:36; Galatians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
God’s love calls for our response, the response of love (12:1). Our love for Him can never begin to compare with His love for us. Let love direct our thinking, speaking and living – His love, love for God, love for people (13:8-10). Let there be ‘peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’(14:17. Don’t think too highly of yourself. ‘Count others better than yourself’ (12:3; Philippians 2:3). With Christ’s example, ‘the encouragement of the Scriptures’ and the enabling power of God, let us love one another,‘with one heart and one voice’ (15:1-6). This is the way of glorifying God. Paul was writing to a Church with big problems (16:17-18). The problem may be great – but the power of God is greater (16:19-20)! Strengthened by ‘the God of peace’ and ‘the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ’, let us press on in ‘obedience’ to God, claiming His victory over ‘Satan’. Let ‘the preaching of Jesus Christ’ make you strong for God (16:25-27).