For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1.16-17).
These verses are important because they state the theme of Romans and the whole of the Christian life. The Gospel of God (Romans 1.1) is the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1.16). Paul gives a five-fold statement concerning this Gospel:
- He is not ashamed of the Gospel.
- The Gospel is the power of God.
- The Gospel is to salvation.
- The Gospel is for everyone who believes.
- The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith.
Belief and faith are the same. First, the Gospel is for everyone (the Jew first and also for the Greek). Second, the Gospel has the potential to save everyone because it is powerful. Third, not everyone is saved or will be saved. The Gospel is for everyone who believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore those who will not believe the Gospel will not be saved.
The Gospel reveals the righteousness of God from faith to faith. The just ones or the righteous ones live by faith. God’s righteousness includes not just the idea of being put right with God, but we are declared right with God. The moment a person trusts in the Gospel message (any person), is the moment that that person will be saved.
God’s righteousness is revealed to us and through us from faith to faith. We grow in our understanding of God’s righteousness. We increasingly display God’s righteousness in our lives (faith to faith to faith to faith… etc.). We do this for the glory of God.
We grow from faith to faith (Habakkuk 2.4; Galatians 3.11; Hebrews 10.38). Faith is the starting point (justification) and the finishing line (glorification). Between the starting point and finishing line is our growing awareness and manifestation of the righteousness of God by faith (sanctification). The just shall live continually by faith and by faith alone.
It should be understood that it is possible for a Christian to fail to grow in faith. It is not realistic to think otherwise. However, that believer will not receive rewards in the life to come and will fail to have confidence and assurance in this present life. We must not question to position of a blood-bought child of God. We question the condition of their lives. We must exhort one another to reflect that we are indeed God’s children.
The Christian is made right with God for the purpose of demonstrating God’s righteousness for God’s glory. The means by which we do this is through the study of God’s Word illumined by God’s Spirit.
As Christianity declines in its popularity, Christians must be willing to be very open and vocal about the righteousness of God for the glory of God. We carry the reproach of Christ. We take up the cross and follow Jesus. Our faith must be renowned throughout the world (cp. Romans 1.8).