“I am not ashamed of the Gospel. It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes”. Paul speaks today about the Gospel or his Gospel. When Paul is writing his letters in the 50’s the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John have not been written. Mark’s Gospel was the first Gospel to be written sometime around 70 AD. Paul’s Gospel centers on the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus which reveals God’s way, God’s wisdom and power.
In today’s passage Paul tells us that this Gospel reveals the “righteousness of God.” To say that God is righteous means that God is both just and merciful. A just God condemns sinners and pours out His wrath on them. A merciful God, pardons sinners and recreates them. As the rest of this letter will bring out, Paul sees God as more merciful than just or almost so wasteful or prodigal in His mercy that God borders on being unjust by not punishing sinners as they justly deserve. Paul, of course, inherits this view of God from Jesus who teaches in his parables and in his actions that God welcomes sinners and eats with them and that God is prodigal or wasteful in his forgiveness like the Prodigal Father.
Paul talks about the Gospel being a power, “It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…”. When we hear this Gospel, truly hear this message of God’s overwhelming mercy and accept this gift of God’s mercy and love we are transformed and even recreated and made holy. It is this grace and gift of God’s love that makes us new and empowers us to do God’s will and show that same mercy and forgiveness to one another.
Let us today listen to the Gospel. God wants to speak to our hearts. God wants us to receive and accept the gift of His grace, the gift of His love. Today let this power of God change us and save us.