In a series of sermons based on the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, Dr. David Schmitt, professor of homiletics at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, observes that “Paul’s letter is filled with the power of the resurrecting Christ, bringing life and salvation to all people.” A focus on power is what one would expect when writing to a group of believers who lived in the city of Rome during the days of the Roman Empire. On a daily basis the believers in Rome witnessed the power of the Roman Empire on display.
In his opening paragraph of the letter Paul says that Jesus, “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4, ESV) So from the start of his letter Paul asserts that God has more power than any earthly king can imagine; the power over death.
Just a few verses later Paul gets to the main theme of his letter: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, ESV) God’s power is not shown in armies and military strength. It is shown in the simple message of the Gospel: “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, ESV)
When referring to Jesus, Professor Schmitt prefers the term resurrecting Christ over resurrected Christ. Resurrected Christ affirms that Jesus rose from the dead. Resurrecting Christ affirms that not only did Jesus rise from the dead he has the power to raise others from the dead. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26, ESV)
In chapter nine Paul refers back to what happened in the Old Testament in the days of the Exodus. God raised up Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to display his power: “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’” (Romans 9:17, ESV)
God showed his power over Pharaoh for a very good reason; Pharaoh was enslaving God’s people. There is no limit to the power God is willing to use to rescue his people. This passage was probably very comforting to the Roman believers since soon after Paul wrote his letter to them the Roman emperor Nero began a long period of Christian persecution at the hands of the Romans.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39, ESV) There are a lot of powerful things mentioned in this passage: death, life, angels, demons, things present, things to come. But none of them are more powerful than God’s love because none of them can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God wants his children to live lives of abundance, abundance of hope: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13, ESV) Our abundance of hope comes not by our efforts or strength but by believing in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
How can we fail to have hope when we serve a God with unlimited power who is always willing to use his power to help and protect his people?
To watch a sermon based on this post click here.