“This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News.” Romans 1:1
On May 24, 1738, a discouraged missionary went ‘very unwillingly’ to a religious meeting in London. There a miracle took place. “About a quarter before nine, he wrote in his journal “I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for my 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.”
That missionary was John Wesley. The message he heard that evening was the preface to Martin Luther’s commentary on Romans. Just a few months before, John Wesley had written in his journal: “I went to America to convert the Indians; but oh! Who shall convert me? That evening in Aldersgate Street, his question was answered. And the result was the great Wesleyan Revival that swept England and transformed the nation.
In the summer of 386, a young man wept in the backyard of a friend. He knew his life of sin and rebellion against God left him empty and feeling dead; but he just could not find the strength to make a final decision for Jesus Christ. As he sat, he heard children playing a game and they called out to each other these words. “Take up and read! Take up and read!” Thinking God had a message for him in the words of the children, he picked up a scroll laying nearby and began to read. “Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.” (Romans 13:13-14) He didn’t read any further; he didn’t have to. Through the power of God’s Word, Augustine gained the faith to give his whole life to Jesus Christ at that moment. This is only two of the stories about how the book of Romans has impacted lives. The Book of Romans has life-changing truth but it must be approached with effort and determination. As we study the Book of Romans, be prepared for a life changing experience.