Scripture: Romans 1:16
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
Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” – I am not ashamed of the message and the reality of Christ crucified for sinners and raised with power and saving all who trust in him. Why not? Because “[the gospel] is the power of God for [unto] salvation to everyone who believes.” This is the same way that Jesus overcame feelings of shame when he was shamed for the gospel. Jesus looked to the joyful triumph of his cross and resurrection; Paul looked to the joyful triumph of the gospel in eternal salvation.
We do not avoid feelings of shame by altering the gospel to make it popular and inoffensive (see I Corinthians 1:18). We avoid feelings of shame by remembering that the gospel is going to be vindicated in the end. We remind ourselves that the gospel alone brings forgiven sinners to final, everlasting joy. Nothing in the world can do this except the gospel of Jesus Christ. Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam – they do not have a Savior who can solve the problem of separation from a holy God through sin, and offer sinners hope by grace and not works. Only one message saves sinners and brings them safely into the presence of God – the gospel of Jesus Christ. It alone is the power of God unto salvation.
I want to dwell on the words, “for it [the gospel] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” And I will take up only one question: What is this salvation that the gospel so powerfully brings about? We will see in answering this how our faith relates to the gospel in bringing about our salvation.
“The gospel . . . is the power of God unto salvation . . . for [ because] in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” – that’s why the gospel is the power of God to salvation.
The gospel converts people – brings them to faith and repentance –Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” And 1 Peter 1:23-25 says, “You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. . . . And this is the word which was preached to you.” So it is true that we are born of God and converted by means of hearing the powerful word of God, the gospel.
And it’s true that this conversion is called “salvation” in the New Testament. For example, Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” So conversion to Christ by faith is called “being saved.” If you are a believer in Christ this morning, you “have been saved.” The book of Romans should be precious beyond words to you, because, like no other book in the Bible, it unfolds for you what has already happened in God’s saving you – your election, your predestination, your calling, your justification, your sanctification, and the obedience of faith. These are all part of the salvation that is already true of you through faith.
Posted by Fay-Ann Swearing
January 3, 2014
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