The Power of God for Salvation (Romans 1:16-17)
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, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”] —Romans 1:16-
As I contemplate writing this article, I have to admit that I am intimidated. Just reading Bible commentaries confirms I cannot explain or expound on these verses nearly as well as previous writers. Is it possible that I could plumb some new spiritual depth about these crucial verses in this great theological letter to the Romans? Not likely. But each Christian has a testimony of “the power of God for salvation” and that testimony is to be shared. The opening verses of the first chapter of Romans are saturated with gospel and faith; it also talks about Paul’s eagerness to do his mission of spreading this gospel to all people no matter what their background or station in life.
When I read these verses that I memorized decades ago as a high school student, I realize that the confidence Paul has I far too often don’t live. Why? Because I’m too consumed with what people will think if I speak up. Being an introvert it is hard for me to speak in situations that seem uncomfortable or intimidating. This ‘fear of man’ will often rivet my eyes on myself rather than where the focus should be.
But when I truly think about the gospel, that it is “the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes,” how can I keep silent? Do I love others? Then I cannot keep the gospel to myself. Do I desire their salvation? Then I must speak. Do I truly believe that God has revealed this marvelous plan of salvation and that it is open to everyone? Then I should have the same confidence that Paul has. As he wrote to his mentee Timothy: “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…” (2 Timothy 1:8) and “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
So I should do my best to learn the Word of God, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, put it into practice, and obey it. And when I focus on God’s Word and the powerful gospel it contains, I will love the Savior more, rejoicing in my own salvation that He so sacrificially supplied, and it will more naturally overflow from my life to others. I must keep my eyes on Jesus rather than myself, then my confidence will be as Paul’s: “…But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12).
Read more of Romans. What are the implications of the gospel in your life and the lives of others?
Think about those that you will come in contact with today. Do they know the Savior? Do they know that you do?
As you hear news of distressing events in this troubled world, do you get just sad or angry, or do you pray for the gospel to reach those you may think unreachable or even undeserving?
Pray for greater love for Jesus and love for others, and a boldness that God will give you as you focus on gospel truth in His Word.