Mutually Encouraged by the Gospel

  • Pete Johnson
Man on top of a mountain with his arms out wide

The Apostle Paul’s introductory remarks in his letter to the believers in Rome can sometimes get overlooked due to the vast riches of Doctrine and Theology throughout his letter to the Romans. Paul is writing to people he does not know personally. He has never been to Rome to preach the Gospel, yet the people to whom he is corresponding have received the Gospel. He writes “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8).
                Later in this chapter, he writes “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” (Romans 1:15). If the recipients of this letter are already born again, why is Paul so eager to preach the gospel to them? I believe it is as Paul describes it “that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:12).
                Rome, during the first century, was not an easy place to live for Christians. Christians were persecuted, the government was oppressive, and even though Rome was the world superpower there were still cultural and moral ills that could easily bring discouragement and despair within the church.
Needless to say, during this time Christians were not winning many political races or claiming victories over the cultural and social wickedness rampant in Rome.
                They had already been saved through the gospel, so why would Paul be so eager to preach the gospel to them again? Isn’t the gospel for sinners? Yes, of which we all are. Yet it is through the gospel that we are saved for eternity, but also for born-again believers it provides much-needed encouragement.
                 Paul provides three insights into the gospel for us to be encouraged by.

  • The gospel reveals the power of God for salvation.

“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 

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor. 1:18

Salvation is God’s ability to do something that no man, woman, or child can do for themselves, or for anyone else. How encouraging, as a true believer, to know that it is the power of God that keeps us and not ourselves! 

  • The gospel reveals the righteousness of God.

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed… “Romans 1:17

God’s righteousness is the standard for entrance into heaven. As we have no power to save ourselves, we have no righteousness apart from God’s.
How encouraging to know that as born-again believers Christ’s righteousness becomes our own!

“And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which, comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.” Philippians 3:9 

  • The gospel reveals the wrath of God.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men …” Romans 1:18

How sobering to know that the only just reward for sinners is God’s wrath, and eternal separation from Him in Hell.
How encouraging to know that as born-again believers, Christians are exempt from the wrath of God!
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 

As you meditate on these three insights regarding the encouragement of the gospel you should:

Live out the gospel every day
Share your encouragement with others.