Day 1

Set Apart for the Gospel

from the Romans reading plan

Romans 1:1-17, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, 2 Corinthians 5:17

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Scripture Reading: Romans 1:1-17, 2 Samuel 7:12-16, 2 Corinthians 5:17

If you could have access to only one book for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

Judging from their devoted habits and bold commentary, it seems a great many theological giants in Church history would have made Romans their go-to text for a lifetime. Early church father John Chrysostom had the book read aloud to him once a week. Poet and preacher Samuel Taylor Coleridge called it “the profoundest piece of writing in existence.” The famous sixteenth-century Bible translator William Tyndale wrote of Romans, “It is the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament… No man can read it too oft.” Martin Luther, St. Augustine, and John Wesley all came to assured faith through the impact of Romans.

What is it about this book that has captivated the attention of believers across the ages? What makes Romans so unique?

All Scripture is God-breathed and equally valuable—God’s special revelation given to us that we might know Him. But Romans is distinct in that it provides the most comprehensive expression of the gospel found in the Bible. This book reaches back deep into the Old Testament to walk us through the origin and problem of sin, the reality of guilt, and the impossibility of saving ourselves. And it presents, systematically yet succinctly, the ultimate rescue we’re given in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In short, Romans contains the essential gospel.

From the opening statements of his letter, Paul makes clear his purpose for writing: to present and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. He introduces himself as Christ’s servant, “set apart for the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1). He addresses the letter to “all who are in Rome, loved by God,” expressing his commitment to telling them “the good news about [God’s] Son” (vv.7-9). And he conveys how desperately he has desired to visit the city personally: “I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome” (v.15).

Paul then turns from his brief introduction to make a stunningly clear pronouncement on where he stands when it comes to the message of Christ:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
– Romans 1:16

Paul was confident in his calling to preach the gospel because he was certain of the saving power of his God. I am a servant of Christ… I am an apostle… I am set apart for the gospel… I am eager to preach the good news… I am not ashamed.

It is with this unshakeable confidence that Paul, the self-proclaimed “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), wrote to the believers at Rome—to explain to Jewish and Gentile converts alike what it means to believe in and be redeemed by Jesus Christ. For this is no metaphorical salvation; it is the real-life rescue of broken and complicated people by the all-powerful hand of a merciful God.

Lean in close as Paul presents his longest letter in Scripture, a sermon on what it means to be a Christ follower in this life. Listen as he tells of God’s holiness, justice, and compassion. Read this book as though it is telling a single story—the story of how God rescues us through the sacrifice of Christ.

Post Comments (538)

538 thoughts on "Set Apart for the Gospel"

  1. Lilly Stover says:

    I love the confidence that Paul has in his relationship with God and it’s very inspiring! He isn’t ashamed of who he is!

  2. Amber Behm says:

    Romans 1:11-12. Speaks volumes to me. Paul says right there that we need to be surrounding one another and helping one another in our journey with Christ. So amazing. We aren’t meant to do this alone.

  3. McKara Johnston says:

    Paul calms himself a servant of Christ and also an apostle. He says that we too as believers share in this identity. We are slaves with authority. We are sinners and saints. God has redeemed us to a new state of being and we are becoming what we already are!

  4. alex says:

    sometimes we believe that one’s sins are more elevated than others – as if ‘my’ sin is worse than ‘theirs.’
    however, if the gospel is meant to be taking brokenness and redeeming that brokenness for the sake of restoration in christ, we shall rejoice. there is hope.

    my sin is no worse than ‘theirs,’ but in jesus christ, i can loudly and boldy pronounce that i am not ashamed of the gospel no matter what paths i have chosen to pursue – ones not pleasing to the lord, etc.

    if i were perfect, the gospel wouldn’t be necessary.

    god – make me aware that my story is just as useful as someone who doesn’t struggle with the same things. you are good and you are working all things together for my good. praise and hallelujah for the gospel. there is no condemnation in my sin – no condemnation in christ! i am forgiven. we are forgiven.

  5. Abi Hicks says:

    The verse Romans 1:16 is a verse I am trying to apply to my own life and show that I am that way. I am just starting this study. A friend shared it with me and I’m enjoying it so far.

  6. Steph C says:

    “to be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (1:12). Paul expresses such a clear desire for good Christian fellowship. Not shallow, “hope you’re doing well” fellowship. But real, honest fellowship. He’s not wanting to go to Rome so that he can be seen as someone special. Rather he seeks to encourage the believers in Rome and to be encouraged by them! So often when life is busy or hard I try to isolate myself. I don’t want to talk with others. My pride holds me back from sharing burdens. But God says that in these times we need each other even more! We need to be bearing the burdens and concerns of other. We need to give and receive comfort and help. We need to be asking for prayer and actively praying for others. In humility we receive God’s mercy and grace. When I bow before Him, He lifts me up. I desperately need His grace. I desperately need His people!

    1. Kasey Miller says:

      As someone who finds it easier to withdraw… thank you for this sweet reminder. We need Him, and we need each other!

  7. Courtney Hamilton says:

    It has been a blessing to find a study of Romans. There are many times that I am bogged down by the world around me but there is a simple but vast love of God. “Yet, while we were sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:8. Paul always has a beautiful way of getting to the point of salvation and brings passion to faith. I praise God for his ever lasting grace and love for His people.

  8. Hannah Gill says:

    God knew what I needed this morning! I’ve been struggling a lot with being hard on myself because of my sin. Reading these words and it being pointed out that God took Paul (someone who once killed Christians) and used him to proclaim the gospel. So encouraging. I pray that I am as bold as Paul everyday.

    1. Courtney Hamilton says:

      Praying for boldness for us both! Sometimes I feel the hardest part of forgiveness is also forgiving ourselves and allowing God to show us there is purpose past our guilt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *