Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among the all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called saints: Grace to you and peace for God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:1-7
Paul opens his letter appealing and providing the reason for his faith, which is God’s sovereign power and word, showing that he was chosen by God for the gospel of God. The gospel is the good news that in our weakness, our pride, and our attempts to be god, God sent His son to take our place in the righteous judgement (John 3). Because we are incapable of keeping the law of God (the 10 Commandments), we need a savior — someone to take our place. That person is Jesus Christ of Nazareth (John 3) from the line of King David (1 & 2 Samuel). Foretold by the prophets hundreds of years before his birth and declared to be the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. Through Christ we receive grace and apostleship (the job of messenger) to share the good new of the Gospel throughout the world. I want to take a bit of a rabbit trail here. Because the topic of evangelism is something that has gone through a few phases just in my lifetime. Door to door evangelism, handing out tracts, sharing your testimony, and coming to church on Sunday are things that have become less and less prevalent in christian culture as society has changed over the years. In a study done by the Barna Group Study states “Adults who accepted Christ as their savior generally responded to different stimuli than did younger people. The most common precipitant was a friend (19%), followed by mass media experiences (14%), a live event (14%) or a relative (13%). Ministers were responsible for leading one out of every ten adult converts to Christ while parents of adults were named as the evangelistic influence by one in twelve (8%) of these believers.” While these had their time, and are still effective in some areas, we seem to have shifted from the Gospel to how we feel, that is, we talk about how great our lives are instead of how great God is.
Personal experience with an emphasis on the experience rather than the work of the cross. It is when you’re sharing the story of how Christ saved you, there is a tendency to make the story about how your feelings have changed or how your life is better after Christ. This effectively makes salvation more about your experiences than about Christ. Now I have to say, so that you won’t get mad(der) at me, that I’m guilty of sharing Christ like that. I was trying to sell Christ to make the world a better place because of my experience rather than Christ’s work on the cross. The solution to this problem is Christ: talking about his life, death, and resurrection as the focus of your testimony, including what has happened in your life. The difference can seem subtle, but we have no reason to boast in anything or anyone of than Christ (2 Corinthians 10). The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest (1 Corinthians 3). While door to door evangelism can be seen as intrusive and handing out tracks impersonal, they kept to Gospel fairly well.
The idea that I’m trying to get across is that it doesn’t matter how you share the Gospel with someone as long as you share the Gospel, without adding or taking away, with them. A good exercise is to simply write out the Gospel on paper, then talk with your paster about what you wrote, then talk with people about what you wrote.
Back on subject, Paul closes his introduction by praying for the believers in Rome, showing that he loves them with the heart of a father, that his mind is on them. Thinking and praying for other people is a large part of humility. Paul didn’t open his letter with guns blazing — he opens it with the promise of God and shows them that his (Paul’s) heart is looking at them with loving eyes given to him by God, literally and metaphorically (Acts 9). May we all long to see people through the eyes of God our Heavenly Father
Link to the study I quoted