< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: More on Romans 1:16-17

Thursday, August 30, 2007

More on Romans 1:16-17

“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."

These two verses are really the whole theme of Romans. They are the heart of Biblical religion. The gospel is power. It’s not about God’s power and it doesn’t point the way to power. It is the power by which God accomplishes salvation in those who are being saved.

Hebrews 4:12 says “The Word of God is living and active.”

Of all the things going on in the world this minute, the preaching of the gospel is the most important. The spirit of God is a work.

When the gospel is preached, people are delivered from the bondage of sin and set free spiritually. Lives are transformed. God isn’t simply just telling us about salvation. God Himself is providing salvation through the gospel. And Paul is saying that his trust in God’s power and goodness has not been misplaced, nor his hope in Christ’s redemptive sacrifice been disappointed. (That’s what he means by “not ashamed”.)

The second part of verse 16 is equally important to everyone who believes. In the book of Acts, Peter declared at Pentecost, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The entire Bible actually ends in Revelation with the verse, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come” “whoever wishes, let him take of the free gift of the water of life.”

God doesn’t reveal His righteousness so that we look at Him and try and try and try to be like Him and fail and fail and fail. It was revealed as God’s free gift through Christ. The only work involved is opening your hand to receive it.

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