As we summarize the last half of the letter to the Romans, we should not forget to whom this letter was written. It was written to freshly saved, storm tossed believers in the great pagan city of Rome. Rome was a city overcome by idolatry and debauchery, and this letter shows us that God always has something to say to His people living in pagan cities. We too are these kinds of people. We live in the midst of “a wicked and perverse generation.”
There are many struggles confronting people justified by faith living in these conditions. So Paul does what he always does so well. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he puts his finger in the wound. And in doing so he heals that same wound by applying the salve of the Gospel. The wound is festering because a great and tragic exchange has been made. The glory of God has been “exchanged for a lie.” This is the great temptation – the great liability of people living in the cities of the world . All of our problems and all of our sorrows can be traced there. This great wound is the cause of the bloodshed in the souls of men. But God is not content to leave sinners in their wounds and so He sends the gospel through the apostle Paul. Paul does a loving thing and puts the healing finger of the Lord Jesus Christ right into the center of the festering wound of mankind – the exchanged glory of God for a lie.
These wounds are with us because we are like heat seeking missiles that follow the heat to the bulls eye of a target. We are all like these missiles, but we are comfort seeking missiles. We are quickly headed in the direction of our own perceived comfort. We go for the heat. We exchange the glory. In our pursuits we exchange the true comforts of the kingdom of heaven for the false ones on this earth. The apostle is presenting to us the only true comfort – the Gospel of God. And, God is the gospel. He is the “God of patience and comfort.” There is only one comfort in life and death and it is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Not to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ… for obedience to the faith– to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever, Amen. Romans 16:25
And so it is true that the gospel is our only continuing comfort in this life. The gospel is our only hope for stability during this life. The gospel is our only hope in death. I know that I am not my own; That I have been bought by the precious blood of Christ; That my sins have been fully paid for; That the power of the devil has been broken; That He will escort me and preserve me to my heavenly home. This is the precious gospel of Jesus Christ.