From the time I was a boy, I was taught that the key verse in the book of Romans is Romans 1:16. To this day I cannot see any reason to argue differently. That lofty verse says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” In this verse, there is a worthy fact, a wonderful announcement, and a worldwide promise.
The worthy fact declared by Paul was that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. Why would anyone be ashamed of the gospel? It is the news that God loved man enough (John 3:16), that He sent His only begotten Son to this world to give His life as a sacrifice for man’s sins (1 Cor. 15:3). How could anyone be ashamed of the fact that the Creator loved the creature enough to forgive him of his sins and save him in the last day?
It is a wonderful announcement that a power exists to save man. The gospel is not just a wonderful announcement in that it saves those who believe, but that it really and truly has the power to do so. Why would it have that power? Because the One who went to the cross was not only a man—which He was—but He was God in the flesh. God dying for man. Surely one can see the power in that act. As the beautiful old hymn goes, “There is power in the blood.” No other man could have done what Jesus did, because no other man was or is without sin. No angel could have done it, because angels do not partake of flesh. But Christ’s blood had the power to save because He endured every temptation we all do (Heb. 4:15), yet was without sin. That is the only blood where the power to save could be found.
The wonderful announcement that there is a power unto salvation, was not an announcement only to God’s chosen people of the Old Testament. It is a worldwide promise to a new people. It is a nation of people without borders. It is not confined to one ethnicity, culture, origin, or race. The announcement of a power unto salvation is, as Paul declared, to everyone that believeth, to the Jew and Greek (or Gentile). Jew and Gentile includes everyone. Thus, as Paul did in his day, the Gospel needs to be taken to the whole world in our day.
Romans 1:16, is doubtless the key verse. The rest of the epistle expands on that wonderful news, and what more beautiful summation could there be than Romans 8:1,2? “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” We are thankful to God for the Gospel of which there is no reason to be ashamed, because it saves. It saves all who will believe it and obey the conditions contained therein.