March 31 I Sunday
“Through Him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake.” —Romans 1:5
Paul had not yet been to Rome, but planning his fourth missionary journey, intended to go on his way to Spain. In advance of his visit, he wrote a comprehensive and systematic explanation of the Gospel, underscoring what he was going to speak about and correcting misconceptions he heard were going on in the church. From this, we have the book of Romans.
The church in Rome was predominantly Gentile. We are not given details how it began, but we know there were Jewish people from Rome in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. God had so orchestrated the Day of Pentecost to coincide with a huge Jewish festival known as “the Feast of Weeks” or “the Day of First Fruits.” People travelled from “every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5) to celebrate, and at that time, there were 120 disciples gathered together in a house in Jerusalem. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house. The disciples saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them (Acts 2:2-3).
The commotion caused such a stir that crowds attending the celebration came together to see what was happening. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Many people heard the Gospel in their native language, and 3,000 were converted that day. Returning to their homelands, they had the Gospel in their hearts and its message on their lips. The life of God, lost in the Garden of Eden, was restored into human experience, and the church of Jesus Christ was born.
Like the Day of Pentecost, the scope of the Gospel reaches across the entire world to include every man, woman and child. As the church of Jesus Christ, we are on a mission to not only reach the world with the Gospel but to bring people to obedience that comes from faith. The call to obedience is part of the commission Christ gave His church, not as something restrictive, but as something that liberates us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to live the life God created us for.
The book of Romans is completely universal in its application and is the most definitive statement of the Gospel message in the New Testament. There are no qualifications required; one need only repent in humble awareness of their need for Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. From the tiniest isolated hovels around the globe to the vast metropolitan centres, everyone needs to hear the Gospel!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the Gospel message is the greatest message ever given, and I pray that You will use me to help pass it on. Thank You, Lord.