Many of us have quoted Romans 1:16-17. But this time, let’s read it slowly, pausing after each phrase, and let's ponder it. This little 2-verse is packed with meaning.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel OF CHRIST, for IT is the power of GOD to SALVATION for everyone who BELIEVES, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness OF GOD is revealed from FAITH to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith."
We must not be ashamed of the Good NEWS of Christ. I know some interpret “of Christ” to mean the gospel of the kingdom Christ preached. It certainly includes that. But what Yeshua (Jesus) did for us and to us, is the WAY INTO that fabulous kingdom. There is no good news even possible without His role, His life, His death, His resurrection, His advocacy of His people, His grace, and more. This gospel, it goes on to say in verse 16 leads to SALVATION. Interestingly enough, that’s what Yeshua means: SALVATION.
It’s the POWER OF GOD to salvation. We are saved by God’s power. We are redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
But we have to BELIEVE. Sure, that belief evidences itself in godly actions as James 2 explains. Remember Hebrews 11 – that because Noah believed, he built the ark. Because Moses believed, he led Israel through the Red Sea. So of course, when we believe that true belief is proven by things we do later. But first we believe – we TRUST – then we act because we believe and trust. That’s what Paul explains in Romans 4 and 5, that we first simply believe God. We have to believe the gospel.
The gospel: I do have a sermon or two on this website about the full complete gospel. I need to give another one. Just do a word search on “gospel” in the search bar on this website. The disciples were told to go to all the nations and preach the gospel. And when we read what Peter, James, John and Paul preached, what did they focus on? They focused on the life, death and resurrection and salvation of Yeshua (Jesus). Peter’s whole first sermon in Acts 2 was almost entirely about Yeshua. The first sermon Paul preached after Yeshua confronted him as he went to torture more Christians, was what? HE PREACHED Christ.
The message of and about Christ and His glory and His salvation is very much a part of the true gospel. Without that message, how does one enter the kingdom of God? 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 says that Satan tries to blind people from “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is
the image of God, should shine on them”. In fact, though I know most of you reading this would agree that the gospel is about Christ AND the kingdom of God, just read 1 Cor. 15:1-8 and see what Paul clearly, clearly says was his gospel message. Its right there, plain as day – Christ and how he was crucified and raised the 3rd day, etc. So the gospel has to include the good news about Jesus, and the “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). Paul said he was called to testify to the “gospel [good news] of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24). So it’s also called “the gospel [good news] of your salvation” – Eph 1:13, and the “Gospel [good news] of the blessed God” (1 Timothy 1:11).
So as Paul says, of course we can’t be ashamed of it. And once we understand the gospel is about the way we can each experience and receive the good news of what the Son of God brought and did for us and continues to do for us, we share that good news every chance we get. The end result is that we are put into the kingdom of God, since we found and received the Door, the Way, The Truth and the Life – all of which is Jesus the Christ, or as I call him, Yeshua the Messiah.
Rom 1: 16 continues:“It’s the Power of GOD to salvation for everyone who believes”. All the power you can muster in the world will not save you. Salvation is by GOD’S power, not yours. HE is your Savior, not you yourself.
HOW? “For in it the righteousness OF GOD is revealed”. Be sure to hear my upcoming sermon on “How well do you receive?” We have to receive Yeshua personally and accept HIS holiness, HIS righteousness and HIS power to live a new life. It’s not about my righteousness. It’s not about your righteousness either. No, it’s about the “Righteousness of GOD”. As Paul says clearly in Philippians 3:9 – he didn’t want his own righteousness which is by the Torah. He didn’t want that! Because that righteousness is not enough. The Torah/the law cannot perfect anyone, because of our human weakness (Hebrews 7:19; Romans 8:2-4) we just keep failing. So we have to do what Paul says in Philippians 3:9-11, after calling his own “blameless” keeping of the Torah inadequate and a bunch of rubbish (KJV “dung”):
“and be found in HIM, NOT having my OWN righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is FROM GOD by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of HIS resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. “
We work hard to stay attached to the Vine and let the vine’s power flow into the branches (John 15:4-5). We are the branches and we will DISPLAY the healthy fruit of the Vine (of Christ).LET HIM live in you. His death paid the sin debt. His resurrection is what saves us as HE demonstrates HIS power and HIS life in us. (I pray I can give a sermon soon on Bearing HIS Fruit… watch for it.)
Our changing LIVES should be evidence that Yeshua LIVES, that HE is resurrected! If He lives in us, He will walk and live the same way He did the first time – obediently, as HE changes us. We will be living, walking testimonies of HIS resurrection. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb. We overcome by the power of GOD, including the power from His Holy Spirit. It’s a false righteousness or gospel to believe you can remain as you are. No you can’t. You and I have to change. We have to fight evil, but it’s the POWER OF GOD doing it, and we receive that by faith and let HIM WORK in us. Then HE gets all the credit and the glory. And it’s HIS perfect righteousness then.