- So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
David Guzik from Enduring Word Media writes:
In August of 1513, a monk lectured on the book of Psalms in a seminary, but his inner life was nothing but turmoil. In his studies, he came across Psalm 31:1: In Thy righteousness deliver me. The passage confused him; how could God’s righteousness do anything but condemn him to Hell as a righteous punishment for his sins? Martin Luther kept thinking about Romans 1:17, which says that in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, “the just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). The monk went on to say: “Night and day I pondered until … I grasped the truth that the righteousness of God is that righteousness whereby, through grace and sheer mercy, he justifies us by faith. Therefore I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise … This passage of Paul became to me a gateway into heaven.” Martin Luther was born again, and the reformation began in his heart.
Before we look at these verses in detail, we need to see the flow of Paul’s reasoning. He begins verse 16 with the word for, which connects it with verse 15. There Paul said, “I am ready (or eager) to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” Why? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel….” Why? “For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” How is this gospel the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes? “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.” Is this a new idea that Paul thought up? No, he cites Habakkuk 2:4, “as it is written, ‘But the just shall live by faith.’”
In these passages, we sense Paul’s urgency and determination to press on in the proclamation of the gospel. He would say to the elders of Ephesus, but none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of The Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24).
- Rom. 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
When Paul says that he is not ashamed of the gospel, he is saying that he is not ashamed of the message of the gospel, nor is he ashamed of The Lord of the gospel. He is not concerned if it sounds politically correct or if it is popular.
To say that he is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ is quite a statement. Rome is the capital of the then known world. It was the center of the who’s who in nearly every arena of life. It was a highly sophisticated and educated city. It was a very spiritually liberal city.
But God is not impressed in the least by man’s intelligence or athletic skills or massive amounts of wealth. Remember beloved, lest you and I are prone to be a bit proud, God owns the entire universe and every single thing in it!
You see, a person’s intelligence of lack of it will not save them. A person’s ability to throw a football 500 yards or hit a baseball 600 feet will not save them. A person’s wealth will not save them. Thus, the only message that can save a person’s soul from their debt of sin and alienation from God and give unto them a new heart forever is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Paul was not ashamed to proclaim it, despite the consequences.
Think about it beloved. Paul had been imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:23–24), chased out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:10), smuggled out of Berea (Acts 17:14), laughed at in Athens (Acts 17:32), regarded as a fool in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:18–23), and stoned in Galatia (Acts 14:19). But none of those things moved Paul. He was determined to preach the gospel in Rome in spite of the fact that it was the seat of contemporary political power, athletic skills, academic superiority, wealth, military power and pagan religion.
None of these things that the Romans prided themselves in could curb Paul’s boldness to unashamedly proclaim the gospel.
James MacDonald writes: Shame is the opposite of honor. Shame includes feelings of embarrassment and humiliation. When we are ashamed of Christ, we cower, we retreat, we back down. For the followers of Jesus Christ, retreat is not an option. Listen to these sobering words of The Master Himself.
- For whosoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8.38)
- For it is the power of God unto salvation.
To proclaim the gospel boldly or unashamedly, first we must believe it. But to believe it, we must understand it. The gospel is all about salvation. Salvation is the main need of every person. Because all have sinned, whether they are a religious Jew or the worldly Greek, all are alienated from God by nature and by choice, and are all are under God’s wrath.
Power. The English word “dynamite” comes from this Greek word dunamis. Although the message may sound foolish to some (1 Cor. 1:18), the gospel is effective because it carries with it the omnipotence of God.
Only God’s power is able to overcome man’s sinful nature and give him new life (Rom. 5:6 8:3; John 1:12; 1 Cor. 1:18 23–25 2:1–4 4:20; 1 Pet. 1:23). And if there was ever a city that needed the gospel, it was Rome. The ancient philosopher Seneca called Rome “a cesspool of iniquity” and the ancient writer Juvenal called it a “filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood.” For God so loved the city and citizens of Rome….finish the passage from John 3.16,17.
Paul is not ashamed of the gospel because he knows that the gospel of Jesus Christ has inherent power. The church does not give the gospel power and no one denomination in the church can claim exclusive ownership of the gospel. It is the ascended Lord Jesus Christ Who gives unto the church the authority to preach the gospel.
In a world of bad news, the gospel is the only good news, but it is more than information; it is the power of God unto salvation. “The gospel is not good advice to nice people, who need a little help getting right with The Almighty Holy God and Lord of heaven and earth. It is the very power of God that is needed to save self righteous, unholy, ungodly, enemies of God who despise His moral authority and are rebels by nature and by choice in His universe.”
Salvation. This Greek word that is translated salvation here basically means “deliverance” or “rescue.”
Thus salvation means being delivered from the penalty of sin, which happens the moment we believe (Eph 1.13,14).
It also means that we are being delivered from the power of sin, as we “put on Christ” grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him (Eph 4.24; Col 3.10; 2 Pet 3.18).
It ultimately means that we will be delivered from the very presence of sin when we stand blameless in His presence in glory (Jude 24).
Biblical salvation is not simply a one- time event that has absolutely no impact on the way that you live, but it is an ongoing condition of abiding and growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And it is given to everyone who believes. The Greek word for believes here means to trust in, cling to, rely on, or have faith in. True saving faith is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8)
The only limitation to the saving power of the gospel is whosoever believeth. While the atonement of Jesus Christ is unlimited in it’s power and scope, it is only applied to whosoever believes in Him unto eternal life.
This gospel is not limited to one race or ethnic group of people; it is the power of God unto the Jew first, and then to the Greek. The redeemed in glory are said to be out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation (Rev 5.9)
Rom. 1:17 for therein (the gospel of Christ)is righteousness of God revealed. Better translated, “righteousness from God. Only God is inherently righteous, and man falls woefully short of the divine standard of moral perfection (Rom. 3:10 23). But the gospel reveals that on the basis of faith—and faith alone—God will impute his righteousness to ungodly sinners.
The righteousness of God revealed in the gospel is that He grants to the believing sinner a right standing before Him because His Son Jesus Christ has met the righteous requirement of His perfect Law and died on the cross to pay the penalty that God’s holiness demands and absorb the wrath that all sinners deserve.
Thus redeemed sinners are not justified or made righteous by their own good works or by keeping the Law (Gal. 3:11), but rather by God imputing the righteousness of Christ to them by faith. Paul states this plainly in Philippians 3, where he contrasts his former attempts to be righteous by keeping the Law with his present experience with Christ, where he says (Phil. 3:9), “not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.”
In other words, by the grace of God, all of my sin, all of my wrath and all of my guilt was placed upon Jesus Christ on the cross. By God’s grace, through faith in Him, I have imputed or reckoned unto me all of Christ’s righteousness, all of His grace and all of His mercy. And it is all of grace from faith for faith. The righteousness from God is completely on the basis of grace through faith from beginning to end. As it is written in Hab. 2:4. The just shall live by faith.
“He saith not, from faith to works, or from works to faith; but from faith to faith, i.e. only by faith.” (Poole)
This phrase from faith to faith underlines that true faith is not a single event, but a transformed way of life by the power of God’s Spirit by which a person, like a newborn baby, begins to progressively and purposefully walk after the things of The Lord and in newness of life.
A challenge to KF…..2 Tim 1.8 tells us not to be ashamed of the testimony of Our Lord.
The idea is a courtroom setting and it your turn to take the witness stands. People are watching and listening. Will you speak unapologetically about Jesus Christ and His gospel no matter whom it is you are talking to or where you are? Will you speak to please men or God?
Remember beloved, God has given unto us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1.7
Don’t be cocky, by confident in Christ. Don’t be brash, but be bold in The Lord. Don’t be loud and condemning, but be loving and straightforward. The Holy Spirit will quicken you, and anoint you….God would never have opened the door only to have you or me shut our mouths.
Pastor Steven Cole writes this:
We do not need God’s salvation and Christ did not need to die on the cross if we’re all basically good people who just need a little encouragement to be right with God. We do not need a crucified Savior if our main need is to polish our self-esteem and learn some helpful hints for happy living.
We need a Savior who was crucified for our sins because we all by nature are ungodly rebels who are under God’s righteous wrath. This is offensive to the natural man, but if we pull our punches on this point, we miss the very heart of the gospel. The gospel is only good news to the person who realizes that he needs to be saved or he will eternally perish.
I want to be clear on a few very important things here.
Saving faith in Christ is not a general belief that He is the Savior. It is not an intellectual assent to the historic fact that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and died on the cross. The demons believe that, but they are not saved. Rather, saving faith has three elements.
First, with the mind we must understand the content of the gospel: who Jesus is, what His death on the cross means, and that He was raised from the dead.
Second, we must have a heart response to the truth of the gospel, where we agree that it is true and our agreement causes our hearts to be sorrowful about our sin, but also to rejoice in the free offer of God’s grace.
Third, saving faith includes commitment to Christ, where we trust in Him and His death on the cross as our only hope of eternal life and we follow Him as Lord. Saving faith is not a work that we do, but rather simply receiving all that God offers to us in Christ. It is the hand that receives the free gift of God.
Perhaps some of you are at that place of making that decision right now. You would ask me, Pastor Ray, what must I do to be saved? I would say to you repent of your sin, believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, confess Him as Lord, and begin to follow Him as Lord of your life. If that is you right now, do not grieve the Spirit of grace. Write me and I will do my best to answer any questions you have and pray with you….