Amplified: For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes--Jews first and also Gentiles. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: For I am not ashamed of the Gospel. I see it as the very power of God working for the salvation of everyone who believes it, both Jew and Greek. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For I am not ashamed of the good news. For God's power it is, resulting in salvation to everyone who believes, to Jew first and also to Gentile (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: for I am not ashamed of the good news of the Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation to every one who is believing, both to Jew first, and to Greek.
"THE GOSPEL ROAD"!
|Romans — 3:21-5:21||Romans — 6:1-8:39||Romans — 9:1-11:36||Romans — 12:1-16:27|
Jew and Gentile
|Demonstration of Salvation|
|Power Given||Promises Fulfilled||Paths Pursued|
Restored to Israel
|Slaves to Sin||Slaves to God||Slaves Serving God|
|Life by Faith:
US IN CHRIST
|Service by Faith:
World should see
CHRIST IN US
Modified from Irving L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's Survey of the NT"
FOR I AM NOT ASHAMED: Ou gar epaischunomai (1SPMI): (I am not ashamed. Ps 40:9,10; 71:15,16; 119:46; Mark 8:38 Lk 9:26 1Co 2:2 2Ti 1:8,12,16 1Pe 4:16)
Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the Gospel,
For (1063) (gar) is a subordinating conjunction expressing cause or explanation and thus introduces an explanation. In simple terms for is a term of explanation and its occurrence should always prompt one to pause and ponder the text and context, asking what the author is explaining, how does he explain it, etc. While not every "for" in the Bible is a term of explanation, most are and since there are over 7500 uses of for (NAS), you will have ample opportunity to observe and interrogate the text. As you practice this discipline of pausing to ponder, you are establishing the context (which leads to more accurate interpretation and thus more apropos application) and you are in effect engaging in the blessed activity of Biblical Meditation (See Ps 1:2- note, Ps 1:3-note and Joshua 1:8-note for the blessed benefits of meditation). When for is used at the beginning of a passage (as here in Ro 1:16) it is usually a term of explanation.
Here Paul is explaining why he is eager to preach the Gospel to the saints in Rome (notice the Gospel is not just to "get one saved" but is actively involved in our ongoing day to day salvation from sin, Satan and self (see Three Tenses of Salvation) Too often in modern evangelicalism we think that once the person is regenerated by the Spirit and the power of the Gospel, the Gospel is not longer needed in that new believer's life. Wrong! It's needed as much after regeneration as before and in both situations is "tapped into" by grace through faith. Most saints have no problem with the teaching that we are saved by faith alone, but then they begin the walk of sanctification with the misunderstanding that they can do it in their own power. Salvation the first time was a miracle and salvation every day from my filthy flesh (not to mention the world system and the devil's minions) is just as much a miracle. Husbands, have you ever thought about how you are going to love your wife like Christ loved the Church? Just try to do it in your own strength (I speak from 42 years of marital experience!) So that is why Paul is addressing believers. He wants them to fully understand the Gospel that saves.
Moule - The “for” links this verse to the last thought. At Rome, if anywhere, he might be “ashamed” (Mark 8:38) of the message of a crucified Saviour; a message, too, which pronounced “the whole world guilty before God.” But he was not ashamed of his message, and so was ready to “see Rome.”
Not (3756) (ou) indicates absolute negation and strongly denies the possibility that Paul might ever be ashamed of the glorious Gospel. The verb ashamed is also in the present tense indicating this was Paul's continual attitude.
Ashamed (1870) (epaischunomai [word study] from epi = upon or used to intensify the meaning of the following word + aischunomai from aischos = disfigurement & then disgrace) (used 2x in Romans) means to experience a painful feeling or sense of loss of status because of some particular event or activity. It describes one's consciousness of guilt or of exposure or the fear of embarrassment that one's expectations may prove false. Epaischunomai is associated with being afraid, feeling shame which prevents one from doing something, a reluctance to say or do something because of fear of humiliation, experiencing a lack of courage to stand up for something or feeling shame because of what has been done.
Epaischunomai - 9x in 9v - Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Ro 1:16; 6:21; 2Ti 1:8, 12, 16; Heb 2:11; 11:16
Writing to the Corinthian saints Paul explained that
We can thus see why the Gospel might bring about situations in which one would be tempted to feel a sense of shame.
Paul was indubitably unashamed and the Gospel had indeed created many "scandals" for Paul - he had been imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:23, 24), chased out of Thessalonica (Acts 17:1-9), smuggled out of Berea (Acts 17:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15-see note), sneered at in Athens (Acts 17:32), regarded as a fool in Corinth (1Cor 1:18 23), and stoned in Galatia (Acts 14:19), but Paul remained eager to preach the Gospel in Rome—the seat of contemporary political power and pagan religion. Neither ridicule, criticism, nor physical persecution could curb his boldness. (See 2Cor 4:5-18; 11:23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28; 12:9). But its inherent glory, as God's life-giving message to a dying world, so filled his soul, that, like his blessed Master, he "despised the shame." (see Hebrews 12:2-note)
Paul knew that Rome was a volatile place and that Christians there had already experienced persecution. He knew that the capital city of the empire was steeped in immorality and paganism, including emperor worship. He knew that most Romans would despise him and that many probably would do him harm. Yet he was boldly eager to go there, for his Lord’s sake and for the sake of the Lord’s people.
He was not ashamed even though he had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Damascus and Berea, laughed at in Athens, considered a fool in Corinth, and declared a blasphemer and lawbreaker in Jerusalem. He was stoned and left for dead at Lystra. Some pagans of Paul’s day branded Christianity as atheism because it believed in only one God and as being cannibalistic because of a misunderstanding of the Lord’s Supper. Although that GOSPEL was then, and still is today, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, it is the only way God has provided for the salvation of men, and Paul was both overjoyed and emboldened by the privilege of proclaiming its truth and power wherever he went.
The fellowship of the unashamed - When we have opportunity to speak for Christ, we often do not. We know the Gospel is unattractive, intimidating, and repulsive to the natural, unsaved person and to the ungodly spiritual system that now dominates the world. The Gospel exposes man’s sin, wickedness, depravity, and lostness, and it declares pride to be despicable and works righteousness to be worthless in God’s sight. To the sinful heart of unbelievers, the Gospel does not appear to be good news but bad, and when they first hear it they often react with disdain against the one presenting it or throw out arguments and theories against it. Fear of men and of not being able to handle their arguments are some of the greatest impediment to being a bold witness for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is said that if a circle of white chalk is traced on the floor around a goose that it will not leave the circle for fear of crossing the white mark. In a similar way, the "chalk marks" of criticism, ridicule, tradition, and rejection prevent many believers from leaving the security of Christian fellowship to witness to the unsaved.
FELLOWSHIP OF THE
You are probably familiar with Christian "T shirts" with the logo "FOTU" (Fellowship of the Unashamed), which stands for "fellowship of the unashamed" which summarizes the credo below...
C H Spurgeon wrote that...
Jamieson writes that Paul's
Warren Wiersbe gives a personal illustration of why Paul was not ashamed:
Richard Halverson asks Why are men ashamed of the Gospel? ...
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Unashamed - On one occasion Frederick the Great invited some notable people to his royal table, including his top-ranking generals. One of them by the name of Hans von Zieten declined the invitation because he wanted to partake of communion at his church. Some time later at another banquet Frederick and his guests mocked the general for his religious scruples and made jokes about the Lord’s supper. In great peril of his life, the officer stood to his feet and said respectfully to the monarch, “My lord, there is a greater King than you, a King to whom I have sworn allegiance even unto death. I am a Christian man, and I cannot sit quietly as the Lord’s name is dishonored, His character belittled, and His cause subjected to ridicule. With your permission I shall withdraw.” The other generals trembled in silence, knowing that von Zieten might be killed. But to their surprise, Frederick grasped the hand of this courageous man, asked his forgiveness, and requested that he remain. He promised that he would never again allow such a travesty to be made of sacred things. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
OF THE GOSPEL: to euaggelion: (Ro 15:19,29 Lk 2:10,11 1Co 9:12,18 2Co 2:12; 4:4 2Co 9:13 Ga 1:7 1Ti 1:11)
The Puritan William Gurnall wrote that...
E. Stanley Jones once wrote that while the world's vast array of
Religions are man’s search for God; the Gospel is God’s search for man. There are many religions, but one Gospel.
Samuel Davies writes that the Gospel's...
very name has something endearing in the sound, "good tidings," "joyful news". It is the wisdom of God in a mystery, 1Corinthians 2:7; the mystery which had been hidden from ages and from generations, Col. 1:26; the ministration of the Spirit, and of righteousness, which far exceeds all former dispensations in glory. 2Corinthians 3:8, 9. And it is represented as the only scheme for the salvation of sinners. When the wisdom of the world had used its utmost efforts in vain, it pleased God, by the despised preaching of this humble gospel, to save those who believe. 1Corinthians 1:21. (The Nature of Justification)
W H Luckenbach observes...
What grand truths lie concealed in Romans 1:16, as in a kaleidoscope! The Gospel being its focal point, several easy turns bring into clearest view some of the most precious things of our Christian faith.
I. The first turn presents its EFFICACY: “It is…power.”
II. The second its DIVINITY: “It is the power of God.”
III. The third its OBJECT: “It is the power of God unto salvation.”
IV. The fourth its IMPARTIALITY: “It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone.”
V. The fifth its CONDITIONALITY: “It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.”
VI. The sixth the ORDER in which it was to be preached to and employed by guilty man: “To the Jews first, and also to the Greek.”
A man who can define it so comprehensively and grandly, could not well be “ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” In more than the sense of willingness he is “ready to
preach” it anywhere. (Biblical Illustrator)
Gospel (2098) (euaggelion/euangelion [word study] from eú = good + aggéllo/angello = proclaim, tell) was originally a reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word euaggelion was in just as common use in the first century as our words good news today. “Have you any good news for me today?” would have been a common question. In this secular use euaggelion described good news of any kind and prior to the writing of the New Testament, had no definite religious connotation in the ancient world until it was taken over by the "Cult of Caesar" which was the state religion and in which the emperor was worshipped as a god.
William Tyndale (1494–1536) who was martyred because he was not "ashamed of the Gospel" said
Do this and live, the Law commands,
Martin Luther reiterated this truth when he said that "The Law is what we must do; the Gospel is what God will give."
Euaggelion - 76x in 73v in the NT - Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; 26:13; Mk. 1:1, 14, 15; 8:35; 10:29; 13:10; 14:9; 16:15; Acts 15:7; 20:24; Ro 1:1, 9, 16; 2:16; 10:16; 11:28; 15:16, 19; 16:25; 1Co. 4:15; 9:12, 14, 18, 23; 15:1; 2Co. 2:12; 4:3, 4; 8:18; 9:13; 10:14; 11:4, 7; Gal. 1:6, 1:7, 11; 2:2, 5, 7, 14; Eph 1:13; 3:6; 6:15, 19; Phil 1:5, 7, 12, 16, 27; 2:22; 4:3, 15; Col 1:5, 23; 1Th 1:5; 2:2, 4, 8, 9; 3:2; 2Th 1:8; 2:14; 1Ti 1:11; 2Ti 1:8, 10; 2:8; Philemon 1:13; 1Pe 4:17; Rev 14:6. NAS = good news(1), Gospel(73), Gospel's(2).
Euaggelion - Only once in the Septuagint (LXX) - 2Sa 4:10 clearly not with the same meaning as "Gospel" in the NT! Note that the verb form euaggelizo/euangelizo occurs much more frequently in the Lxx (1Sa 31:9; 2Sa 1:20; 4:10; 18:19, 20, 26, 31; 1Kgs 1:42; 1Chr 10:9; Ps 40:9; 68:11; 96:2; Isa 40:9; 52:7; 60:6; 61:1; Jer 20:15; Joel 2:32; Nah 1:15) but most of these OT uses of the verb were in the context of proclamation of "good news" in general, not the Good News of the NT Gospel.
Euaggelion is found in several combination phrases, each describing the Gospel like a multifaceted jewel in various terms from a different viewpoint (from NASB77):
In light of A W Pink's observation that the modern church is "far more concerned about the results of the gospel than we are about the purity of it" several passages will be reviewed below to give you an accurate Biblical description of the Gospel. To really understand the Gospel one needs to read and study the Book of Romans is in a sense Paul's expanded treatise on the Gospel according to Jesus. In fact pause for a moment and peruse the summary table of the Book of Romans (Table), which is a summary of the bad news followed by the good news! (See also the Romans Road Bridge Illustration of the Bad News & then the Good News).
Paul's "definition" of the Gospel is summarized in the following passage (as you present the Gospel be sure to include these foundational truths)
Spurgeon summarized the Gospel declaring...
Paul had explained earlier in this same letter to the church at Corinth that proclamation of the Gospel was his primary mandate (note again Paul's repeated emphasis on the Gospel as the inherent [dunamis] power of God)...
Paul again explained his purpose writing in
Paul considered himself first as a servant of Christ with his call to proclaim the Gospel as a stewardship...
Finally in Paul explains why he must preach the Gospel...
The so-called "health and wealth Gospel" that has swept through the church in America (especially via television) is not offensive to the world because it offers what the world wants. But this is false Gospel ("a different [heteros] Gospel which is really not another" Galatians1:6-7) and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What does the Gospel do? It saves sinners. What else will save sinners? Not science, not education, not religion, not moral reformation, not fame and fortune. The Gospel, and only the Gospel, saves sinners. But it must be the genuine Gospel, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. God will add the power!
"AN INOFFENSIVE GOSPEL
Geoffrey Wilson emphasizes the need for the "pure" Gospel writing that...
Richard Owen Roberts in fact notes that "The nature of the Gospel is that it divides."
John MacArthur emphasizes that Romans 1:16-17...
To reiterate simply scanning the main subjects in the divisions of Romans (see table) leaves no doubt that the presentation of the Gospel begins with the "bad news" to awaken in the hearer the fact that he or she needs God's provision of righteousness which is credited to the spiritual "bank" account of all those who believe in Jesus' substitutionary (He died the death I should have died for my sins), atoning death on the Cross. As Paul said "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved." (Acts 16:31). "Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." (Romans 10:9, 10-note)
WHAT BETTER NEWS CAN A
Pastor Mark Dever emphasizes that...
Alexander Maclaren describes the Gospel...
From the Valley of Vision A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett, Banner of Truth (1975)...
Blessed Lord Jesus,
Acting in eternal grace, Thou art both
Blessed be Thou, O Father, for contriving this way,
Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;
Take me to the Cross to seek glory from its infamy;
O gracious Redeemer,
I thank Thee for the patience that has borne with me
O unite me to Thyself with inseparable bonds,
ARE YOU PREACHING THE GOSPEL
Jerry Bridges emphasizes our daily need to "preach the Gospel" to ourselves...
FOR IT IS THE POWER OF GOD: dunamis gar theou estin (3SPAI): (Ro 10:17 Ps 110:2 Is 53:1 Jer 23:29 1Co 1:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 2:4, 14:24,25 1Co 15:2 2Co 2:14, 15, 16; 10:4,5 Col 1:5,6 1Th 1:5,6; 2:13 Heb 4:12)
For (1063) (gar) is a subordinating conjunction expressing cause or explanation and thus introduces an explanation. In simple terms for is a term of explanation and its occurrence should always prompt one to pause and ponder the text and context, asking what the author is explaining, how does he explain it, etc. While not every "for" in the Bible is a term of explanation, most are and since there are over 7500 uses of for (NAS), you will have ample opportunity to observe and interrogate the text. As you practice this discipline of pausing to ponder, you are establishing the context (which leads to more accurate interpretation and thus more apropos application) and you are in effect engaging in the blessed activity of Biblical Meditation (See Ps 1:2- note, Ps 1:3-note and Joshua 1:8-note for the blessed benefits of meditation). When for is used at the in the middle of a passage at the beginning of another clause (as in this instance), it is usually a term of explanation.
J C Ryle reminds us of the supernatural power of the Gospel writing that...
W Sidebottom comments on the Gospel as a the power of God...
Roy Gustafson reminds us that...
Notice that "Gospel" begins with "Go" the first portion of the Great Commission Jesus gave to His disciples in Mt 28:18-20. But remember the "operating manual" today is the same as it was in the book of Acts. You will "Go" when you receive power (dunamis) of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Beloved, all believers have received this enabling power because every true follower of Christ is indwelt by His Spirit (Ro 8:9). We can obey Jesus charge to "Go" as we enabled by the power of the Spirit (not our so-called power) and equipped with the Gospel which has inherent power! No wonder Jesus said the gates of Hell shall not prevail against the church! Just make sure you rely on the provision of divine power in the Person of the Spirit and proclamation of the Gospel! Present the Gospel but rely on the Holy Spirit of God to do the convicting and convincing and converting! The great evangelist of yesteryear, George Whitefield made it his practice to share something of the Lord, in the first 15 minutes of meeting someone. Not a bad modus operandi! However, remember that you are under grace, not law, so be sensitive for the opportunities the Lord provides. I have found that as I pray for salvation of specific individuals, God will often give me an opportunity to share the Gospel with them! So pray. Then present the Good News. Then be at peace, for it is God's power, not ours!
Vance Havner challenges all disciples of Christ to "Go" and share the Gospel reminding us that...
Any man (or woman) touched by Jesus Christ
For (gar) explains why Paul is not ashamed of the Gospel. Why isn't he ashamed? Are you ashamed of the Gospel? What does Paul's description teach us that "takes the pressure off of us" so to speak? In other words when we present the plight of man in sin and the present of God in the Gospel (see 1Cor 15:1-8 above) is the efficacy or effect of the Good News dependent on our eloquence or persuasiveness? Is God interested in our ability or our availability (our willingness to present the bad news about men in Adam and the good news about men in Christ (Ro 5:12, Ro 3:23, Ro 6:23, Ro 10:9, 10, 1Cor 15:22). Remember also that whenever you observe the little preposition "for" at the beginning of a sentence, it is often used by the writer as a term of explanation. This observation provides an excellent opportunity to pause and ponder the passage. In other words, as you learn to "slow down" (it's difficult to meditate when you are speed reading!) and interrogate what (why?, how?, when?, to whom?, etc) is being explained. As you interact with the text and the Divine Author (the Spirit), you are practicing the rewarding art of Biblical Meditation (See what God promises when we meditate on His Word -Joshua 1:8-note, Ps 1:2-note, Ps 1:3-note).
Power of God - Study the 13 NT occurrences of this great phrase = Mt 22:29; Mk 12:24; Lk 22:69; Acts 8:10; Ro 1:16; 1Cor 1:18, 24; 2:5; 2Cor 6:7; 13:4; 2Ti 1:8; 1Pet 1:5. Note that in each of these passages power translates one of my favorite Greek words, dunamis , the inherent ability to accomplish a task (see below).
Matthew Henry alluded to the power of God when he pointed out that...
John Calvin conveyed this same thought (that the Gospel is the power of God) when he said...
Spurgeon comments on Romans 1:16 noting that...
The power of God - As Morris says...
John MacDuff writes of the Christ of the Gospel that...
Power was an attribute that certainly characterized the Roman Empire in Paul's day, but their power was only human power and the "powerful" Romans like all men of all ages were powerless to make themselves righteous before a holy God! Seneca in fact called Rome a "cesspool of iniquity" and Juvenal was not much kinder referring to Rome as a "filthy sewer into which the dregs of the empire flood." And so we see that humanly "powerful" Rome, like all men who are born into Adam (Romans 5:12-note) was in desperate need of the Gospel and the righteousness of God revealed in that good news!
Mark Dever describes the power of the Gospel and the joy that it brings into one's life...
Greg Herrick tells a story that aptly illustrates the Gospel's power...
Moule - The doctrine of the true Messiah brought to bear God’s energy (dunamis), to the result of “salvation.”
Power (1411) (dunamis [study] from stem duna-/dyna- ~ basic sense of ability or capability) in simple terms describes inherent power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature. Dunamis is power that which overcomes resistance. Dunamis is power in action, the power to accomplish. Dunamis is the ability to produce a strong effect. Dunamis is the capacity for something (ability or capability to carry out something) as in 2Cor 8:3. Dunamis is translated miracle, miracles or miraculous powers 22 times (out of 119 uses in the NT) which gives you as sense of the meaning, these uses of course reflecting the supernatural manifestation of power.
Dunamis is the root from which we derive the English word dynamic, (synonyms = energetic, functioning, live, operative, working) which describes that which is marked by usually continuous and productive activity or change. That which is dynamic is characterized by energy or forces that produce motion, as opposed to that which is static. Another English word dynamite, is derived from dunamis and since dunamis is used by Paul to describe the "power of God", some have suggested that the Gospel is "God’s dynamite". This is misapplication of this English derivative in an attempt to try to picture the life saving power of the Gospel. Dunamis does not refer to explosive power, as if the Gospel will blow men to bits but as discussed above, it refers to intrinsic power (cp Jer 23:29) The Gospel is dynamic, God’s dynamic, and so is powerful and able to effect radical regeneration of spiritually dead men and women. The Gospel makes dunamis power available to all believers.
Dunamis - 119x in 115v in the NT. Clearly dunamis is a key word in the NT and is found most often in the Gospels - Mt 7:22; 11:20, 21, 23; 13:54, 58; 14:2; 22:29; 24:29, 30; 25:15; 26:64; Mark 5:30; 6:2, 5, 14; 9:1, 39; 12:24; 13:25, 26; 14:62; Lk 1:17, 35; 4:14, 36; 5:17; 6:19; 8:46; 9:1; 10:13, 19; 19:37; 21:26, 27; 22:69; 24:49; Ac 1:8; 2:22; 3:12; 4:7, 33; 6:8; 8:10, 13; 10:38; 19:11; Ro 1:4, 16, 20; 8:38; 9:17; 15:13, 19; 1Co 1:18, 24; 2:4, 5; 4:19, 20; 5:4; 6:14; 12:10, 28, 29; 14:11; 15:24, 43, 56; 2Co 1:8; 4:7; 6:7; 8:3; 12:9, 12; 13:4; Gal 3:5; Ep 1:19, 21; 3:7, 16, 20; Php 3:10; Col 1:11, 29; 1Th 1:5; 2Th 1:7, 11; 2:9; 2Ti 1:7, 8; 3:5; Heb 1:3; 2:4; 6:5; 7:16; 11:11, 34; 1Pe 1:5; 3:22; 2Pe 1:3, 16; 2:11; Re 1:16; 3:8; 4:11; 5:12; 7:12; 11:17; 12:10; 13:2; 15:8; 17:13; 18:3; 19:1. Translated as - ability(4), meaning(1), mightily(1), mighty(1), miracle(2), miracles(17), miraculous powers(3), power(83), powers(6), strength(2), wealth(1).
Paul's confidence in the Gospel was based on the supremacy (that which holds the highest place in power, that which is greatest or most excellent) of its divine message to a world enslaved to and deceived by sin. He knew the Gospel was superior to any religion or philosophy ever concocted by the sinful minds of men. The ancient world in Paul's day was dominated by Greek logic, Roman law and Hebrew thought but all paled before the the supremacy of the Gospel of God.
Augustine said that every individual is created with a spiritual "God shaped vacuum" and it will be filled by something ("Nature abhors a vacuum!"), either divine spiritual truth or demonic spiritual lies. Every one has an innate desire to be changed especially in a way that will make them feel less guilty and more content. They seek to fill this need by immersing themselves in a variety of programs, philosophies, and religions (cp Paul's strong warning in Col 2:8-note) that promise to meet their felt need. Sadly, these "methods" may ostensibly succeed in making people feel better about themselves, but they have no ability to liberate them from their enslavement to the power of Sin which stimulates sinful behavior and the resultant feelings of guilt and discontent (ultimately an uneasiness that they are not "right" with God, because they're not!). The tragedy is that the more "successful" such approaches are, the more they drive people away from God and insulate them from His salvation. (cp futile speculations followed by a heart that becomes darkened to life giving spiritual truth - Ro 1:21-note).
John MacArthur discusses power in the Bible noting that
Ancient pagans mocked Christianity not only because the idea of a substitutionary atonement seemed ridiculous but also because their mythical gods were apathetic, detached and remote, in short, totally indifferent to the welfare of men. The idea of a caring, redeeming, self-sacrificing God was beyond their comprehension (1Cor 1:18, 21, 23, 25, 2:14). While excavating ancient ruins in Rome, archaeologists discovered a derisive, utterly blasphemous painting depicting a slave bowing down before a cross with a donkey hanging on it. The caption reads, “Alexamenos worships his god.” Doubtless the painter of that horrible image, has had time to ponder the "error" of his ways!
J R Miller Illustrates the Power of God - A Christian left a Bible in a godless home. As the man and his wife sat together in the evenings, the man took up the book, and reading in it began to feel its power. "If this book is true," he said one evening to his wife, "then we are wrong!" He read more, and a few evenings after said again, with deep concern and alarm, "If this book is true—then we are lost." He read still further, and through the darkness the light began to break, as he caught a glimpse of the cross and the Savior, and at last he said to his wife with glowing joy, "If this book is true—then we may be saved." That is the story always of the work of grace in the heart. First there is the law-work, which shows us our guilt and hopelessness in ourselves. Then the gospel comes, showing us salvation and life. (Pauls Message for Today)
JOHN WESLEY'S ENCOUNTER WITH THE GOSPEL - The simple truth of this poem was dramatically illustrated in the conversion of the renowned preacher John Wesley who had just returned to England from an discouraging "evangelistic" trip to Savannah, Georgia, having encountered difficulty with the colonists and also coming under conviction that he himself might not be genuinely born again. On the evening of May 24, 1738, he unwillingly agreed to attend a society in Aldersgate Street, where someone was reading Luther's Preface to the Epistle to the Romans not knowing that he would soon be forever a new man. Wesley later wrote
Armed with the liberating Gospel message Wesley embarked on 40 years of ministry and was instrumental along with George Whitfield in launching the First Great Awakening in the 1730's and 1740's in England and across the Atlantic in colonial America. Before this spiritual reawakening ended, over half of America's colonists were touched by the preaching of the Gospel and the foundation was in fact laid for the American Revolution. The Gospel certainly is the power of God to change a man and change a nation. May God be pleased to once again send His revival winds on the spiritually darkening land of America.
FOR SALVATION: eis soterian:
For (1519) (eis) is first of all a preposition that indicates motion into a place or thing. Figuratively as used in this verse eis marks the object or point toward which the Gospel ends, i.e. salvation. More literally it reads "unto salvation". As Spurgeon says "This, indeed, is the great reason why the Bible is written, that we may believe on the Lord Jesus and have life through His name." (cp Jn 20:30, 31)
Salvation (4991) (soteria [word study] from soter [word study] = Savior in turn from sozo [word study] = save, rescue, deliver) describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril. As discussed more below, salvation is a broader term in Greek than we often think of in English. Other concepts that are inherent in soteria include restoration to a state of safety, soundness, health and well being as well as preservation from danger of destruction. (See also soterios/soterion and rhuomai the verb meaning to deliver.)
Greg Herrick writes...
There are 45 uses of soteria in the NT - Mark 16:8; Lk 1:69, 71, 77; 19:9; Jn 4:22; Ac 4:12; 7:25; 13:26, 47; 16:17; 27:34; Ro 1:16; 10:1, 10; 11:11; 13:11; 2Co 1:6; 6:2; 7:10; Ep 1:13; Phil 1:19, 28; 2:12; 1Th 5:8, 9; 2Th 2:13; 2Ti 2:10; 3:15; Heb. 1:14; 2:3, 10; 5:9; 6:9; 9:28; 11:7; 1Pe 1:5, 9, 10; 2:2; 2Pe 3:15; Jude 1:3; Re 7:10; 12:10; 19:1. NAS = deliverance(2), preservation(1), salvation(42).
The Hebrew (cp Ge 49:18, Ex 14:13, 15:2 where Salvation = yeshuah [= deliverance - related to the Hebrew Name for Jesus - Yeshua]; Lxx = soteria) and the Greek words for salvation both convey the ideas of deliverance (rescue), safety, preservation, healing, and soundness so that in context the picture of the Gospel is that it manifests the power of God to rescue men from the penalty of sin which is everlasting spiritual death and separation from the presence of God's Glory (2Th 1:8,9).
Salvation carried tremendous meaning in Paul’s day, especially its basic of “deliverance,” for this concept was applied not only to personal but also to national deliverance (something Israel was looking for in Messiah Who they for the most part failed to recognize as their personal Deliverer - Jn 1:11). And so the emperor of Rome was looked on as a sort of a "savior".
It is fascinating to read this secular definition of salvation in Collin's dictionary...
Men are continually looking for salvation of one kind or another. Even before Paul’s day, Greek philosophy had turned inward and begun to focus on changing man’s inner life through moral reform and self-discipline. The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus called his lecture room “the hospital for sick souls.” Epicurus called his teaching “the medicine of salvation.” Seneca, a contemporary of Paul, taught that all men were looking ad salutem (“toward salvation”) and that men are overwhelmingly conscious of their weakness and insufficiency in necessary things and that we therefore need “a hand let down to lift us up”, to which I echo "Amen!"
As Oswald Chambers said...
How relevant to Seneca's declaration is God's rhetorical question in Isaiah's prophecy...
Again in God declares
Salvation is the great inclusive word of the Gospel, gathering into itself all the redemptive acts and processes: as justification, redemption, grace, propitiation, imputation, forgiveness, sanctification, and glorification. The Gospel has the power to...Forgive sins (past), impart new life (present) and admit into heaven (future). No other power on earth can do that!
Through Jeremiah (cp "through His prophets" - Ro 1:2-note), the Lord asked...
It is note within man's power to change his own nature. In rebuking the Sadducees who tried to entrap Him, Jesus said,
Only the power of God is able to overcome man’s natural tendency to commit sin and impart supernatural life. The Bible makes it clear that men cannot be spiritually changed or saved by good works (Ep 2:9-note), by the church, by being raised in a God fearing home, by rituals (including water baptism), or by any other human means (cp Jn 1:12, 13, Ro 5:6-note).
Salvation through Christ is God’s powerful hand, as it were (Is 50:2, 59:1), that He has let down to lift men up from the deadly "bite" and despair of sin (Jn 3:13, 14, 15) and the destiny of eternal separation from His glorious presence (2Th 1:8, 9). His salvation brings deliverance from the spiritual infection of “this perverse generation” (Acts 2:40, Php 2:15-note), from lostness (Mt 18:11), from sin (Mt 1:21 = Jesus very name = Jehovah saves!), and from the wrath of God (1Th 1:10-note, Ro 5:9-note). The Good News believed brings about deliverance from gross and willful spiritual ignorance (Ho 4:6; 2Cor 4:3, 4, 5), from evil self-indulgence (Lk 14:26), and from the kingdom of darkness and dominion of Satan (Acts 26:18, Col 1:13-note; 1Pe 2:9-note).
Clearly all men possess an innate knowledge of their great need for salvation (cp Ro 2:14, 15, 16-note) and they attempt many ways to attain it as the following Global Prayer Digest story illustrates (Beloved, I highly recommend you consider adding this precious resource to your daily intercessory prayer list - it provides the priceless privilege of praying for those have never heard the Gospel and in so doing, as led by the Spirit, storing up treasure in heaven - cp 1Th 2:19, 20-note)...
Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament entry has an interesting description of the word group ("salvation") as used in secular Greek. As you read through these various uses, see if you can identify any spiritual parallels (you will be intrigued I think)..
TO EVERYONE WHO BELIEVES: panti to pisteuonti (PAPMSD) :
Everyone (3956) (pas) means all with no exception. In the present context there is the qualification that the "all" truly believe the Gospel. Paul writes later that "whoever will call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved." (Ro 10:13-note). If you stopped with "salvation to everyone" and yanked it out of context, you would have the false teaching of universalism. Paul qualifies it with "who believes" which in the present tense signifies they keep on believing the truth of the Gospel. In short, the offer of the Gospel is universal, but participation is limited to those who trust.
Spurgeon tells the story illustrating the power of the Gospel...
Here's another story that speaks to the mysterious supernatural power of God's Word for salvation to everyone who believes His Gospel...
Related Resource: See study on the Power of God's Word
Believes (4100) (pisteuo [word study]) means an adherence to, committal to, faith in, reliance upon or trust in a person or an object, in this case the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As discussed below this belief involves not only the consent of the mind, but an act of the heart and will. As someone has said (probably someone's mother) the medicine will not cure you if it is not taken. One must believe the objective facts of the Gospel. To truly believe unto salvation is more than mental assent although it certainly does include use of our reasoning faculties and initial receipt of the truth (e.g., "come let us reason together" in Isa 1:18, "And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard?" Ro 10:14 - see note). Genuine belief includes (this definition is adapted from from Vines Lexicon entry for pisteuo)
Daily living is filled with acts of faith. Virtually all of life requires a natural faith. But Paul has in mind here a supernatural faith, made available by God, for it is a “faith that is not of yourselves but the gift of God” (see Eph 2:8-note). Eternal life is both gained and lived by faith from God in Jesus Christ. (from faith to faith). All who believe may be saved. Only those who truly believe will be.
Salvation is not something we ACHIEVE, but something we RECEIVE when we BELIEVE. (cp Jn 1:11, 12, 13) I would add that the Gospel is not just some "thing" we receive but some "One" we receive for when we believe we receive the Spirit of Jesus Christ indwelling our bodies, His "temple".
TO THE JEW FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEK: Ioudaio te proton kai Helleni:
To the Jew...and...Greek - From a Biblical perspective all humanity is either Jew or Gentile. This phrase again stresses the offer of God's salvation in the Gospel is to everyone...specifically everyone who believes.
Samuel Davies writes that Paul ...
represents it as a 'catholicon', a universal remedy, equally adapted to Jews and Greeks, to the posterity of Abraham, and to the numerous Gentile nations, and equally needed by them all. (The Nature of Justification)
Jew (2453) (ioudaios) according to Easton's Dictionary "derived from the patriarch Judah, at first given to one belonging to the tribe of Judah or to the separate kingdom of Judah (2Ki 16:6), in contradistinction from those belonging to the kingdom of the ten tribes, who were called Israelites. During the Captivity, and after the Restoration, the name, however, was extended to all the Hebrew nation without distinction. Originally this people were called Hebrews, but after the Exile this name fell into disuse. In the NT "Jew" is frequently used to distinguish the descendants of Israel from proselytes, Samaritans, and Gentiles.
The ISBE entry states that
To the Jew first - This phrase was fulfilled literally and historically as Luke documents in the book of Acts, e.g. on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1, 5. Certainly we are still to proclaim the Gospel to the Jews, but this phrase does not imply that we are required to evangelize the Jew before we go to the Gentiles. Even in context this phrase is preceded by the non-exclusive word everyone.
First (4413) (proton) as alluded to in the preceding comment means first in time as actually occurred in the first century AD.
John Piper has an entire sermon entire sermon (click here) in which he addresses the specific question "in What Ways Do the Jews Have Priority?"
Newell explains first ...
Murray adds that...
S Lewis Johnson remarks that first to the Jew and also to the Greek is...
Other Scriptures substantiating that the Gospel is to be preached to all men, both Jews and Gentiles, without preference for either...
Barnhouse writes that To the Jew first and also to the Greek...
Newell commenting on to the Jew first and also to the Greek writes that...
James Montgomery Boice adds that...
Barnes writes that first means...
Leon Morris comments that...
As J Vernon McGee says...
Greek (1672) (hellen) could refer either to a Greek either by nationality, whether a native of the main land or of the Greek islands or colonies or in a wider sense Greek embraces all nations not Jews that made the language, customs, and learning of the Greeks their own; the primary reference is to a difference of religion and worship. In the context of the preceding word everyone, Greek is synonymous with Gentiles. Just as all men are either in Adam (unregenerate) or in Christ (born again), so too all the world can be divided Biblically speaking into two groups, Jews and Gentiles and that is the idea of the word Greek in this passage.
Jesus had instructed His disciples that repentance and remission of sins were to be preached in His Name unto all the nations, “beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). They were to be His witnesses first in Judea and Samaria, and then unto the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). Salvation was to come first to the Jews because it was through them He ordained salvation to come (Jn 4:22). The Messiah came first to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt 15:24). In the Gospels and in the Book of Acts the preaching of the Gospel was addressed to the Jews first, and, at the beginning, to them alone, (Mt 10:5, 6, 7).
The Scottish evangelist Robert Haldane wrote:
D-Day began the liberation of Europe June 6, 1944, the day Allied forces landed in northern France to begin the liberation of occupied Europe in World War II. General Eisenhower’s D-Day Proclamation was sent to all in combat...
Step one to the Allied Forces victory over a vicious enemy was the establishment of a beachhead. In a similar way, "step one" is establishing a beachhead by proclaiming and living in light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To paraphrase Eisenhower "We will achieve nothing less than full Victory" through the Gospel, the supernatural, undefeatable power of God. Amen
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GOSPEL OF POWER - One reason many Christians are so hesitant to witness for Christ is that they fear failure. They forget the life-changing power of the Gospel.
Peter V. Deison, in his book The Priority Of Knowing God, tells about Ramad, a man in India who was a member of a gang of robbers. On one occasion, while burglarizing a house, Ramad noticed a small black book containing very thin pages just right for making cigarettes. So he took it. Each evening he tore out a page, rolled it around some tobacco, and had a smoke. Noticing that the small words on the pages were in his language, he began to read them before rolling his cigarettes.
One evening after reading a page, he knelt on the ground and asked the Lord Jesus to forgive his sins and to save him. He then turned himself over to the police, much to their amazement. Ramad the bandit became a prisoner of Jesus Christ. And in the prison where he served his sentence, he led many others to the Savior.
What was the book he had been reading? It was a Bible. The Holy Spirit used "the Gospel of Christ," and for Ramad it became "the power of God to salvation" (Romans 1:16).
Because there is great power in the Gospel, we can always share the good news with confidence. —Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The words we speak, the lives we live
Some evangelicals feel that God has revealed the Gospel in the stars, a theory that may have been popularized by E W Bullinger's book and the teaching of Chuck Missler. A few well respected teachers like the late D James Kennedy espoused this theory. Creationist Dr Henry Morris felt that at one time in the history of the world, the Gospel may have been evident in the stars. He wrote "It may be impossible at this late date to fully recover this ancient “gospel in the stars,” though a number of attempts have been made. For that matter, since we no longer need this revelation, its main value now is as a weapon in our arsenal of Christian evidences." (The Remarkable Record of Job) I certainly agree that we no longer need this revelation, but have serious doubt that the Gospel was ever "written" in the stars. Here are several others who agree that this is an untenable postulate...
J VERNON MCGEE - There are people who try to find the gospel written in the stars or try to find their future written in the stars. Shakespeare said, “It’s not in our stars but in ourselves that we are underlings.” Our problem is within ourselves, not up yonder in the stars. We won’t find the gospel in the stars; we find it in the Word of God. Without the Word of God we would not suspect that the gospel was in the stars (Ed: Excellent point!). Mankind is not without excuse because they could read the gospel in the stars but because all creation reveals God’s eternal power and Godhead.
JOHN MACARTHUR - One surprisingly popular view is that the gospel is revealed through the signs of the zodiac. The zodiac could be interpreted in a myriad of ways (as a comparison of any two random horoscopes will show). Some have suggested that it gives an account of the gospel in pictorial fashion. Virgo supposedly speaks of the virgin mother, the serpent is ostensibly Satan, and some of the other constellations are said to picture Christ in various stages of humility and triumph. E. W. Bullinger wrote an entire book titled The Witness of the Stars in 1893 outlining the gospel through the signs of the zodiac. The view has been revived recently and promoted by D. James Kennedy and Chuck Missler. Some have even suggested that the zodiac is an extra-biblical witness to the gospel through which multitudes who have never had the Scriptures preached to them might find Christ. The problem with this view is that it is based on nothing but sheer imagination. One thing is certain: The zodiac has never communicated the gospel in any sensible way to those who are most obsessed with it. And there is no credible record of anyone who ever discovered the gospel message in the stars that way.
JONATHAN F HENRY - Some have claimed that the constellations were a kind of primeval revelation before God gave His written word to mankind, so there is a “gospel in the stars.” If this were true, there is introduced into the pre-Mosaic dispensations a mode of revelation present in nature that went beyond the general revelation mentioned in Romans 1:20. However, the Bible specifies that even in the pre-Mosaic dispensations, God gave special revelation to man through chosen prophets and preachers (Gen 5:21–24; Jude 14–15), and since the close of the apostolic age, only through His written Word....Was there ever a need for a Gospel in the stars? A careful reading of the Bible suggests not, for even among the ante-diluvians Enoch (Gen 5:21–24) “prophesied . . . saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints” (Jude 14–15). And long before this, Genesis 3:15—the so-called “proto-evangelium”—records that God, speaking to Adam and Eve, had prophesied the coming of His Son to earth. (Scroll down to page 15 and read the section subtitled "Is the Gospel in the Stars?" in Dr Henry's article Origin Of The Constellations At Babel - Journal of Dispensational Theology - formerly "The Conservative Theological Journal")
NORMAN GEISLER - Some, following E. W. Bullinger (1837–1913) in The Witness of the Stars, have even contended that the gospel is spelled out in the constellations, later distorted into what we know as the signs of the zodiac. There are several serious problems with this view.
In summary, the teaching of "The Gospel in the Stars" is speculation, has no definitive Scriptural support and is not needed now that we have the written Word of God.
Amplified: For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith]. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith. [Hab 2:4] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life." (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: I see in it God's plan for imparting righteousness to men, a process begun and continued by their faith. For, as the scripture says: 'The just shall live by faith'. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: for God's righteousness in it is revealed on the principle of faith to faith, even as it stands written, And the one who is just, on the principle of faith shall live. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: For the righteousness of God in it is revealed from faith to faith, according as it hath been written, 'And the righteous one by faith shall live,'
The Septuagint (LXX) of Hab2:4 is word for word identical to the Greek in Romans 1:17 = de dikaios ek pisteos mou zesetai (3SFMI) Throughout Romans when Paul quotes the OT he quotes primarily from the Septuagint.
FOR [because] IN IT THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD: dikaiosune gar theou en auto:
In it - The question is "In what?" and the obvious answer is the Gospel.
Righteousness (1343) (dikaiosune see study of related adjective dikaios) is derived from a root word that means “straightness.” It refers to a state that conforms to an authoritative standard or norm and so is in keeping with what God is in His holy character. Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness. God is totally righteous because He is totally as He should be. The righteousness of human beings is defined in terms of God’s. In short, the righteousness of God is all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves and all that He provides (through the Gospel).
The righteousness of God in opposition to the righteousness of men (Php 3:9, Ps 71:15, 16, Is 45:24, 25, 53:11, Jer 23:6, 33:16, Ro 3:21, 22, 4:5, 6, 1Co 1:30, 2Co 5:21, Ga 2:16, 2Pe 1:1): and because it justifies men in the sight of God. This specific phrase Righteousness of God is found in 7v in NASB (Click here)
Here are the 92 uses of dikaiosune in the NT -- Mt 3:15; 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1, 33; 21:32; Lk. 1:75; Jn. 16:8, 10; Acts 10:35; 13:10; 17:31; 24:25; Rom. 1:17; 3:5, 21, 22, 25, 26; 4:3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 22; 5:17, 21; 6:13, 16, 18, 19, 20; 8:10; 9:30, 31; 10:3, 4, 5, 10; 14:17; 1 Co. 1:30; 2 Co. 3:9; 5:21; 6:7, 14; 9:9, 10; 11:15; Gal. 2:21; 3:6, 21; 5:5; Eph. 4:24; 5:9; 6:14; Phil. 1:11; 3:6, 9; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; 3:16; 4:8; Titus 3:5; Heb. 1:9; 5:13; 7:2; 11:7, 33; 12:11; James. 1:20; 2:23; 3:18; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:14; 2 Pet. 1:1; 2:5, 21; 3:13; 1 Jn. 2:29; 3:7, 10; Rev. 19:11; 22:11
A T Robertson says that "righteousness of God" in the Greek is "Subjective genitive, "a God kind of righteousness," one that each must have and can obtain in no other way save "from faith unto faith"
Another rendering is righteousness from God, indicating that He imparts His own righteousness to those who believe. It is thereby not only revealed but reckoned to those who believe in Christ (see Ro 4:5-note).
Ray Pritchard comments on righteousness made available in the the Gospel:
Matthew Henry adds that...
The great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge said this about "righteousness from God":
Jaroslav Pelikan says that
Righteousness is that which comes from a surrendered relationship to Christ. If you want to be righteous then bow down to Him and surrender to His Word. Admit the weakness of your flesh. Confess your sin. Repent of that sin. And then let Jesus be Jesus in your life. Righteousness ("righteous living") is the outflow of a surrendered will. In Isaiah 64:6 the prophet describes man's own inherent righteousness as filthy rags. No man in his flesh can produce what God commands and demands from His righteousness. However, enabled by His grace, this righteousness can come forth in our lives as we walk by faith, for without faith it is impossible to please Him.
As noted above this phrase is probably better translated, “righteousness from God” and this great truth is clearly a major theme of Romans appearing over 30 times in one form or another (Romans). Other terms from the same Greek root occur some 30 times and are usually translated “justified,” “justification” or similarly. Only God is inherently righteous (Dt 32:4; Job 9:2; Ps 11:7; 116:5; Jn 17:25; Romans 3:10 [note]; 1Jn 2:1; Re 16:5 [note]), and man falls woefully short of the divine standard of moral perfection "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (see Ro 3:23 note). But the Gospel reveals that on the basis of faith alone, God will impute His righteousness to ungodly sinners (Romans 3:21, 22, 23 see notes Ro 3:21ff).
F B Meyer wrote that...
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Count Zinzendorf founder of the Moravians wrote the following great hymn relating to God's righteousness made available in Christ. Zinzendorf's life motto was...
IS REVEALED: apokaluptetai (3SPPI):
Is revealed - More literally "is being (continually) revealed".
Revealed (601) (apokalupto [word study] from apó = from + kalúpto = hinder the knowledge of a thing; cover, conceal; see study of related word apokalupsis) means literally to remove the veil or covering exposing to open view what was before hidden.
Here are the 26 NT uses of apokalupto -- Mt. 10:26; 11:25, 27; 16:17; Lk. 2:35; 10:21, 22; 12:2; 17:30; Jn. 12:38; Rom. 1:17, 18; 8:18; 1 Co. 2:10; 3:13; 14:30; Gal. 1:16; 3:23; Eph. 3:5; Phil. 3:15; 2 Thess. 2:3, 6, 8; 1 Pet. 1:5, 12; 5:1
This righteousness is continuously (present tense) caused to be (passive voice = outside Source, the so-called "Divine" passive) fully known, disclosed, exposed to open view though previously hidden. This righteousness is not known by the revelatory light of the CREATION (i.e., the Gospel is not "in the stars" but in the "Book"!), nor by the LAW of Moses. This righteousness made available through the Gospel is hidden from every natural (in Adam) man, including the wisest and most prudent, and is even hidden from God's elect until conversion at which time it is revealed. Note that although the Gospel was not as clearly stated in the Old Testament, it was present for Paul in his description of Abraham's salvation writes that...
The Gospel which Abraham heard was “good news”, the good news that salvation was by faith alone. Salvation by keeping the Law or by doing "good" works would not be good news but bad news! How would you know when you had done enough? How impossible it would be keep the Law perfectly? Observe also in this verse from Galatians that Scripture is personified as if speaking for God and affirms the truth that when the Bible speaks, God speaks! This is an awesome truth. Do you believe it? Does the time you spend reading God's Word demonstrate that you really believe it is God Himself speaking?
Vincent has this note regarding revealed
For a long time Martin Luther saw only the condemning righteousness of God and hated it. When he saw that that righteousness that condemns when rejected but saves when accepted by grace through faith, the light of the Gospel broke into his sinful, dead, spiritually darkened heart and soul. This righteousness Paul says is revealed in the Good Hews, the Gospel of our salvation, even as it was Luther's Good News of salvation. Martin Luther wrote that he loved his wife Catherine Von Bora, and once said of the Book of Romans "It is my Catherine Von Bora”. It is notable that John Chrysostom (the fifth century’s greatest preacher) had Romans read aloud to him once a week!
FROM FAITH TO FAITH: ek pisteos eis pistin:
Faith (4102) (pistis [word study]) is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. Note that this discussion of pistis is only an overview and not a detailed treatise of this vitally important subject. Those interested are directed to respected, conservative books on systematic theology for more in depth discussion (eg, Dr Wayne Grudem's book Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine is an excellent, uncompromising, imminently readable resource for the lay person. See especially Chapter 35 which addresses the question "What is saving faith?" in an easy to understand manner.) Much of this "definition" deals with the general word group for faith (pistis = noun, pistos = adjective, pisteuo = verb)
As pistis relates to God, it is the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things well as the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ. As faith relates to Christ it represents a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through Whom we obtain eternal salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. Stated another way, eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way.
Wayne Grudem defines faith that saves one's soul...
Larry Richards has an excellent discussion on faith writing that...
William Barclay notes that...
Faith is relying on what God has done rather than on one's own efforts. In the Old Testament, faith is rarely mentioned. The word trust is used frequently, and verbs like believe and rely are used to express the right attitude to God. The classic example is Abraham, whose faith was reckoned as righteousness (Ge 15:6). At the heart of the Christian message is the story of the cross: Christ's dying to bring salvation. Faith is an attitude of trust in which a believer receives God's good gift of salvation (Acts 16:30,31) and lives in that awareness thereafter (see Galatians 2:20 -note; cf. Hebrews 11:1 note).
From faith to faith has been variously interpreted as meaning:
(1) from the faith of the OT to that of the NT
(2) from the faith of the preacher to that of the hearers
(3) from God's faithfulness to man's faith
(4) from a young faith to a mature faith.
Literally, the words can be translated "out of faith into faith." Although one cannot be dogmatic, the fourth interpretation is the most probable. This new life in Christ begins out of faith and is lived out daily by faith (sanctification as described in Romans 6-8) and that faith holds on firm to the end when faith becomes sight being consummated in glory in the glorious presence of God. Faith then is pictured as one's all in all, both in the beginning and in the progress of one's Christian life.
Vine explains this faith to faith --
AS IT IS WRITTEN BUT THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH: kathos gegraptai (3SRPI) ho de dikaios ek pisteos zesetai (3SFMI): (Hab 2:4 Jn 3:36 Ga 3:11 Php 3:9 Heb 10:38; 11:6,7)
As is the strong connecting word kathos, meaning “just as,” and the use here emphasizes sameness and the formula “it is written” reminds the reader that Paul is quoting authoritative Scripture.
Written (1125) (grapho [word study] from root graph- = primarily means to scratch on or engrave as on an ornament, reports, letters, etc; English = graph, graphic, etc) means to engrave or inscribe with a pen or stylus characters or letters on a surface which can be wood, wax, metal, leather, stone, parchment, dirt (John ), paper, etc. (Click all 191 uses of grapho in the NAS)
The phrase It is written occurs 76 times in the NAS (Mt. 4:4, 6, 7, 10; 11:10; 21:13; 26:24, 31; Mark. 1:2; 7:6; 9:13; 14:21, 27; Lk. 2:23; 3:4; 4:4, 8, 10; 7:27; 19:46; 24:46; Jn. 6:31, 45; 12:14; Acts 1:20; 7:42; 15:15; 23:5; Ro 1:17; 2:24; 3:4, 10; 4:17; 8:36; 9:13, 33; 10:15; 11:8, 26; 12:19; 14:11; 15:3, 9, 21; 1 Co. 1:19, 31; 2:9; 3:19; 9:9; 10:7; 14:21; 15:45; 2 Co. 8:15; 9:9; Gal. 3:10, 13; 4:22, 27; Heb. 10:7; 1 Pet. 1:16). When we were children and our parents told us to do something and we questioned "Why?", the answer was usually "Because I said so!". Why are we commanded to be holy? Because God said so! A popular saying is
This sounds good but isn't accurate because God's Word is true, irregardless of whether we believe it or not. A more accurate "saying" would be
It is written should put a stop to every complaint or excuse. Paul is saying don't judge but remember you will appear before Me to give an account (as the next verse clarifies). This sobering thought should motivate us to obey this injunction.
NIDNTT has a historical note writing that...
The verb grapho is perfect tense (gegraphtai) signifying that God's Word has been written down at a point of time in the past (cf Lev 11:44, 19:2, 20:7 were originally inscribed with a stylus by Moses probably on clay tablets under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit circa 1500BC) and remains on record as the eternal, unchanging Word of God.
Where is it written? The Old Testament, Habakkuk 2:4. So what is Paul's point? The news he is explaining in Romans is not new news but good news "promised beforehand through the prophets" (Ro 1:2-note:2). The Gospel is not a "novel upstart" doctrine. In a sense the righteousness from faith to faith could be from Old Testament faith in a Messiah Who was promised to come to New Testament faith in a Christ already come.
In Romans 1, Paul introduces the theme of righteousness, on which the entire book focuses. The Gospel is about a righteousness that comes from God and is appropriated "by faith from first to last" (Romans 1:17). The NT shifts emphasis from a righteousness linked with human behavior to a righteousness that God provides in Christ. The NT explains the truth first clearly seen in Genesis 15:6 that "Abraham believed God and He reckoned it to him as righteousness." God's righteousness was placed on the account of those who had faith.
Whereas this verse from Habakkuk 2:4 in the specific Old Testament context referred to physical life for Israel, in Romans 1:17 the Spirit inspired text refers to God's gift of eternal life.
Righteous (1342)(dikaios [word study] from dike = right, just) defines that which is in accordance with high standards of rectitude. It is that which is in right relation to another and so in reference to persons defines the one who is morally and ethically righteous, upright or just.
The Greek writers used dikaios in the context of social rule to refer to that which is well-ordered or civilized. Thus one Greek writer describes a "dikaios" citizen - a "good citizen" or a "civilized (dikaios) way of life."
Vine comments that
Here are the 79 NT uses of dikaios -- Matt. 1:19; 5:45; 9:13; 10:41; 13:17, 43, 49; 20:4; 23:28, 29, 35; 25:37, 46; 27:19; Mark. 2:17; 6:20; Lk. 1:6, 17; 2:25; 5:32; 12:57; 14:14; 15:7; 18:9; 20:20; 23:47, 50; Jn. 5:30; 7:24; 17:25; Acts 3:14; 4:19; 7:52; 10:22; 22:14; 24:15; Ro 1:17; 2:13; 3:10, 26; 5:7, 19; 7:12; Gal. 3:11; Eph. 6:1; Phil. 1:7; 4:8; Col. 4:1; 2 Thess. 1:5, 6; 1 Tim. 1:9; 2 Tim. 4:8; Titus 1:8; Heb. 10:38; 11:4; 12:23; James. 5:6, 16; 1 Pet. 3:12, 18; 4:18; 2 Pet. 1:13; 2:7, 8; 1 Jn. 1:9; 2:1, 29; 3:7, 12; Rev. 15:3; 16:5, 7; 19:2; 22:11
The basic meaning of the adjective dikaios describes that which is proper, right, fitting, fair, righteous, just (acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good). From a legal viewpoint dikaios refers to one who is law-abiding (doing all that law or justice requires), honest and good in behavior and from a religious viewpoint one who is rightly related to God. In simple terms this trait describes being in accordance with what God requires. The righteous man does what he ought. He or she is the person who conforms to the standard, will or character of God. For example, Luke describes Zacharias and Elizabeth (John the Baptist's parents) as
Zacharias and Elizabeth were rightly related to God and because of their right relationship which was secured by God's grace and their personal expression of faith in the truth that had been revealed about the Messiah and they walked or conducted themselves accordingly (see related discussion on Paul's phrase "Obedience of faith"). The Bible repeatedly teaches the clear relationship between personal righteousness (positional righteousness - God now sees saints in Christ, the Righteous One) and righteous conduct in His sight.
John gives us an easily understandable Scriptural "definition" of dikaios writing...
The one who habitually (not perfectly - think "direction not perfection") does what is right is righteous (dikaios). Righteous character expresses itself in righteous conduct. True belief breeds godly behavior. If a man knows God, he will obey God, not perfectly but as the general "tenor" of his life. A man cannot claim genuine salvation if he is habitually living in sin. On the other hand, a man can only practice genuine righteousness because he possesses the nature of the One Who is righteous. Remember that the practice of righteousness is not what makes the individual “righteous” (dikaios), but is that which reveals the inner nature of the one who says they believe in Jesus. A person practices righteousness because of his or her righteous character. The indwelling Holy Spirit empowers holy living. In a parallel declaration (in context speaking primarily of false teachers) our Lord Jesus said
An individual’s conduct is certain evidence of his or her nature. The one who practices righteousness does so because he or she has been granted the righteousness of God and has the indwelling power to live righteously.
Charles Colson once remarked that...
Shall live by faith - See discussion above of pistis.
Spurgeon in Faith's Checkbook offers these devotional thoughts on the just shall live by faith emphasizing that Paul is saying...
Shall live (2198) (zao) in this context means “shall be saved”. It is consistent with the salvation mentioned in the previous verse. Remember that salvation past (justification), present (sanctification) and future (glorification) are all the result of faith. (see The 3 Tenses of Salvation). Salvation results in life that can be lived as God meant it to be lived -- lived to the full, lived for His glory, lived in light of eternity. And it is the Gospel which opens the door to real life, yea, even abundant life (Jn 10:10, cp especially Mt 4:4, 2Co 5:5, 13:4, Gal 2:19, 20; 3:11, 12; 5:25, Phil 1:21, 1Th 3:8, 5:10, 2Ti 3:12, Titus 2:12, 1Pe 2:24, and I love 1Jn 4:9).
Here are the 140 uses of zao in the NT -- Matt. 4:4; 9:18; 16:16; 22:32; 26:63; 27:63; Mark. 5:23; 12:27; 16:11; Lk. 2:36; 4:4; 10:28; 15:13, 32; 20:38; 24:5, 23; Jn. 4:10, 11, 50, 51, 53; 5:25; 6:51, 57, 58; 7:38; 11:25, 26; 14:19; Acts 1:3; 7:38; 9:41; 10:42; 14:15; 17:28; 20:12; 22:22; 25:19, 24; 26:5; 28:4; Ro 1:17; 6:2, 10, 11, 13; 7:1, 2, 3, 9; 8:12, 13; 9:26; 10:5; 12:1; 14:7, 8, 9, 11; 1Co. 7:39; 9:14; 15:45; 2Co 1:8; 3:3; 4:11; 5:15; 6:9, 16; 13:4; Gal. 2:14, 19, 20; 3:11, 12; 5:25; Phil 1:21, 22; Col 2:20; 3:7; 1Th 1:9; 3:8; 4:15, 17; 5:10; 1Ti 3:15; 4:10; 5:6; 2Ti 3:12; 4:1; Titus 2:12; Heb 2:15; 3:12; 4:12; 7:8, 25; 9:14, 17; 10:20, 31, 38; 12:9, 22; James. 4:15; 1Pe 1:3, 23; 2:4, 5, 24; 4:5, 6; 1Jn 4:9; Re 1:18; 2:8; 3:1; 4:9, 10; 7:2; 10:6; 13:14; 15:7; 19:20; 20:4, 5. (The Living God is a repeated phrase -- Mt 16:16; 26:63; Ac 14:15; Ro 9:26; 2Co 3:3; 6:16; 1Ti 3:15; 4:10; Heb 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Re 7:2. Cp OT occurrences of The Living God - Deut. 5:26; Jos. 3:10; 1 Sam. 17:26, 36; 2Ki. 19:4, 16; Ps 42:2; 84:2; Is 37:4, 17; Jer. 10:10; 23:36; Da 6:20, 26; Ho 1:10)
Paul intends to prove that it has always been God’s way to justify sinners by grace on the basis of faith alone. There is emphasis here on the continuity of faith. It is not a one-time act, but a way of life. The true believer made righteous will live in faith all his life. This expression emphasizes that true faith is not a single event, but a way of life—it endures. Theologians have called this “the perseverance of the saints”, not that their perseverance saves them but that it proves or shows them to be saved.
God established Abraham as a pattern of faith (Romans 4:22, 23, 24, 25; Galatians 3:6, 7) and calls him the father of all who believe (Romans 4:11, 16). Elsewhere, Paul uses this same phrase to argue that no one has ever been declared righteous before God except by faith alone (Galatians 3:11) and that true faith will demonstrate itself in action (Php 2:12, 13).
In its original context the statement in Habakkuk 2:4 refers to the necessity for God’s people to trust His purposes and His providence regarding the temporal fate of the nation of Israel, specifically their deliverance from the hands of their enemies. Habakkuk began by complaining to God about the injustice being suffered by some Israelites at the hands of their own countrymen (Hab1:1, 2, 3, 4). God replies that he is already planning to rectify the situation by having the cruel Babylonian hordes overrun and plunder the land (Hab 1:56, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11). Habakkuk then says in effect “Lord, are you sure you know what you are doing? If this happens, won’t the ‘cure’ be worse than the disease? Please explain” (Hab1:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 16, 2:1). Part of God’s reply is to say "I know you don’t understand, Habakkuk; but you will just have to trust me “the righteous will live by his faith” (Hab 2:4). It is not clear whether “will live” by faith here means “will conduct his life” by faith, or whether it means “will be preserved alive” by faith when the enemy comes. If the former, it is an admonition on how to live. If the latter, it is a promise to the faithful. In any case it is the promise of earthly deliverance in the face of an earthly threat.
Vine explains the nuances of the 3 NT quotes of Habakkuk 2:4 writing that...
Romans 1:16-17 changed the world. It first changed a man, and that man changed the world. It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of this text in the history of western civilization.
Martin Luther, reflecting back on what this text meant in his life, offered this testimony:
When Martin Luther found this text—or more accurately—when this text found him, it turned his life upside down. No longer was he willing to remain a simple monk at the monastery in Erfurt. Once the blazing truth of justification by faith set a fire burning in his soul, he set himself to igniting a fire that eventually spread throughout Europe and eventually to the ends of the earth.
Martin Luther later commented on Romans that...
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