January 3 - Romans 1:16-17

Friday, January 3, 2014

Romans 1:16-17 – Live by Faith

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

One of the first things you learn to do in order to begin a well-written paper is to design and set forth a thesis statement that allows the reader to understand everything that follows. These two verses are Paul’s thesis statement … they are the theme of this entire letter.

Many believe that these verses are pivotal to the New Testament. This statement is one of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity.

Since the letter is about God’s work in our lives, Paul’s theme is presented. The heart of the gospel is God’s salvation for everyone. God begins the process of salvation and he completes it as well.

Paul writes that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. There are so many of us who believe that the Good News is simply good advice. We are happy to relegate Jesus to the status of a prophet, a good man, maybe a historical figure. But that isn’t the truth of it. There is power in this story. There is power that looked like tongues of fire alighting on believers at Pentecost. There is power found in the miracles and transformed lives. This power is not something that is there for just miracles, but is aimed at saving hearts. It is there to change lives, not to make a Christian’s life easier. The purpose for this power is salvation.

Righteousness is kind of an amazing thing. It is an attribute of God. God … is … righteous. The two are interchangeable. But, the glorious thing about God’s righteousness is that in him it is limitless. For those who turn to him and are saved by his power, he declares them to be righteous.

The gospel brings the power of God to bear for the salvation of all humanity. Those who live by faith in Him are saved and thus become righteous as He is righteous.

Paul has given us the theme for his letter. He is only beginning to tell the Romans (and us) what it means to live a life with God.