Romans: The gospel as it really is
The epistle of the apostle Paul to the Church in Rome sets out clearly the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as it really is and its implications for our lives. Romans has been called: ‘the world’s most influential letter’. In the year 386 Augustine was convicted through reading Romans 13:13-14, he turned from sin, became a Christian (aged 31) and became the leading intellectual of the early medieval era. Martin Luther was a monk, dedicated and zealous, yet he found no peace of conscience until he read Roman 1:17 and realised that ‘the just shall live by faith’ and that a right standing with God (justification) was by faith and not merited by any good works that a person may do. The reformation that swept through Germany and later through Europe was the result of Luther’s conversion and subsequent teaching. It was in Aldersgate Street, London on 24th May 1738 that a disillusioned, former missionary John Wesley attended a Bible study on the book of Romans. He recounted his conversion experience in his journal:
"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death”
The Methodist revival which transformed England spiritually and socially was a fruit of Wesley’s conversion. Great things happen when people understand and embrace the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel as it really is, is the title of this series and the theme of the book of Romans.