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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,[a] as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
Undoubtedly, the most powerful message that exists is the gospel. The gospel is the power of God in action, a force for transformation and for imparting the life of God to those dead in sin who believe in Jesus Christ. Once again, we are back to the gospel and we will keep coming back to the gospel, throughout the book of Romans. More importantly, you will keep coming to the gospel throughout your walk with God in your lifetime, dwelling on it, examining it and grasping it more and more in its richness and fullness. Martin Luther, theologian and father of the church reformation declared: “The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough”.
Why is this important for you as a new believer in Christ? Because a dangerous pitfall that many Christians fall into is that they quickly forget the means of grace and the channel of God’s power displayed to mankind- the gospel. It is easy to soon think that only sinners are in need of the gospel. This is a grave error, and one that has led many Christians astray and away from the faith. The gospel is and continues to be the power of God for salvation, today and your final salvation and the work of the gospel in your life will continue for as long as you live. As Martin Luther stated, you can only increase in your grasp of the gospel for it truly cannot be completely grasped for we can neither fully grasp the power of God in this plan of salvation nor the full picture of His righteousness.
The second part of this text mentions a very integral part of the gospel- it reveals to us the righteousness of God, that is, our right standing with God that comes from being justified by faith in Jesus Christ. And our right standing with God, this righteousness of God comes from faith, that is faith in Jesus Christ for faith, that is our continuing faith in Him.
This brings us to another important lesson. That the new life in Christ is birthed in faith and also kept and secured by continuing faith in Christ. Faith in Jesus Christ is not a one off thing that you have only at the point of conversion but an abiding faith that is daily exercised. And this is where the continuing work of the gospel is displayed; that by daily growing in our knowing the gospel, our faith is further grown and matures. This text ends by stating simply: The righteous shall live by faith, and this could be described as the motto of the Christian life. It is a life that is born by faith, abides and grows by faith and will be glorified through faith.
To summarize, the gospel of God is not just simply a message you know, but it is the power of God himself at work in bringing about your salvation. So never stop keeping the gospel in view no matter the number of years you live as a Christian. Let it be your north star, let it be your guide and your watchword. And the work the gospel does in you is birthed through faith and sustained by faith. Without faith, you cannot live the Christian life.
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