“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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Rom. 1:16-17)
Paul says two very interesting things in these two verses. First, he is not ashamed of the gospel for “it” is the power of God for salvation. That little word “it” is extremely important and can revolutionize the way we view evangelism if we understand it properly and what Paul means by it. The power of the gospel, the power to transform lives, the power to save sinners, does not lie in how articulate we are; it does not lie in our ability to argue apologetics; it does not lie in how much scripture we have memorized. Rather, the gospel itself is the power of God unto salvation. When the gospel is communicated, regardless of how well or how poorly that happens, the Holy Spirit works with and through the gospel to regenerate dead souls. This is why Paul was so bold in proclaiming the gospel. He understood that the power to transform sinners into believers has nothing to do with him and has everything to do with the gospel message.
Secondly, Paul says that in the gospel message “the righteousness of God is revealed,” the rightness of God, the right-standing of God, the justice of God. How so? All people are sinful and, therefore, justly deserving of God’s condemnation. God being the just judge of all the universe cannot turn a blind eye to sin otherwise he would be an unjust judge. All sin must be punished. But if God punished every sinner, then all would perish eternally. Thus, God takes on human form and becomes man and then lives a life of perfect obedience to his own law and takes upon himself the punishment which we are deserving of. In this way God’s justice is upheld and sinners are spared from the wrath of God. This is the gospel—the good news! And in the gospel message the righteousness of God is revealed for all who believe. As it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
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