My father was raised on a farm where they planted and harvested potatoes. In the late 1940s and 1950s, he spent days out in the fields helping with the fall harvest. We always had baskets of potatoes in our cellar through the winter months. My mother would send me downstairs each afternoon to get potatoes for dinner. I’m sure that I have eaten bushels of potatoes in my life – baked, boiled, mashed, and fried. Interestingly, potatoes are the number one vegetable crop in the world and they provide an important food staple, filled with lots of good nutrition.
“Potatoes are one of the last things to disappear in times of war … they should not be forgotten in times of peace.” M.F.K. Fisher in her book, How To Cook a Wolf (1942)
As good and beneficial as potatoes are for sustaining physical life, the Gospel is so much more powerful. It produces and grows our spiritual life. The Gospel is God’s power for salvation in our daily lives and for our eternal souls. The book of Romans focuses on the Gospel message. These verses in chapter one present the core truth of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome:
“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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” ~Romans 1:16-17
As you read the book of Romans, look for these spiritual nuggets. Take some time to chew on them and I’d encourage you to memorize some of these key verses.
:: God’s righteousness is revealed and the righteous live by faith (Rom. 1:16-17)
:: We have all sinned and we fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23)
:: God showed His love for sinners (Rom. 5:8)
:: Free gift of God is eternal life (Rom. 6:23)
:: God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God (Rom. 8:28)
:: Confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved (Rom. 10:9)
:: Spiritual worship – present your bodies as a living sacrifice and renew your mind (Rom. 12:1-2)
This powerful quote from Martin Luther sums up the importance and depth of the book of Romans:
“This Epistle is really the chief part of the New Testament and the very purest Gospel, and is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.” (Martin Luther, “Preface to the Epistle to the Romans” (1522), in Works of Martin Luther (1932), Vol. VI, p. 447.)
My husband and I enjoy eating baked potatoes topped with Texas barbeque. Yummy! But the next time I eat one of these potatoes, I am going to pause and think about the book of Romans. Do I think deeply on these verses and view each word as daily bread for my soul? Am I offering the precious message of the Gospel to others throughout each day? I want to cling to these words: The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.