Agonizomai: Romans Chapter 1<br>The Great Theme - Part 2

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Romans Chapter 1
The Great Theme - Part 2
The Necessity of Faith

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "He who through faith is righteous shall live."
The power of God in the gospel is effective only for those who believe. That does not mean that the gospel should be preached only to believers. Jesus commanded that the gospel be preached to every creature under heaven. We proclaim God’s fully trustworthy promise that whoever repents and believes the gospel will be saved. We never know who will believe because that knowledge rests with God. We trust, we pray, we preach the Word – all in obedience to the command of the very Lord Who saved us.

We hope that our preaching is the very means that God has ordained for the salvation of some souls – often very specific souls who are close to us. And, though only God can save, when we walk in the means which He has given us to bring the gospel message, we will discover that we are the will of God, yielded to what He purposed to do from eternity. Let us be foolish. Let us do what seems silly to the world, or what we expect may cause others to roll their eyes, snort or heap disdain upon us. They did this to Christ.

When we speak of the power in the gospel to save people, we simply mean that the gospel is spirit (spiritual truth) and is the means the Holy Spirit uses to bring them to a decision, to move them to walk down an aisle, to say a prayer of acceptance. But is that all the gospel does? Does it stop there? No! The gospel is for those that believe, and it is the power of God unto salvation for them, through the process of sanctification by the Spirit.

Remember that salvation, though we often speak of its various aspects separately, consists of all three of these things – justification, sanctification and glorification. In final glorification faith will be replaced by sight. But in the first two it is the power of God at work in those who believe (and keep on believing) the gospel. Therefore the whole gospel needs to be given to the church continually. And what is that gospel? It is the good news of Jesus Christ, foreshadowed in Genesis 3:15 and throughout the Old Testament, revealed in the gospels themselves and concluded in Revelation 22. In other words, the complete gospel is the whole of the Bible.

The phrase “from faith to faith” might mean from the OT faith to the NT faith, signifying that faith was always the means by which God saved. Or it might refer to the growth of faith through experiential obedience in the same sense that, “To him who has will more be given, and he will have in abundance, but from he that has not will be taken away even that which he has.” {Matthew 13:12}


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