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(PAPMSD), to the
first & also to the
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)
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
- Tyndale House)
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
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)
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.
Jew and Gentile
Restored to Israel
Slaves to Sin
Slaves to God
Slaves Serving God
Life by Faith
Service by Faith
Modified from Irving
L. Jensen's excellent work "Jensen's
Survey of the NT"
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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
Let me never be ashamed of the truth
of the Gospel,
that I may bear its reproach,
see Jesus as its essence,
know in it the power of the Spirit.
--From Valley of Vision, Banner of Truth, 1975
(gar) is a subordinating conjunction expressing cause or
explanation and thus introduces an explanation (Always pause and ponder
terms of explanation). He is explaining why he
is eager to preach the Gospel to the saints in Rome (notice the
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.
(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.
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.
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 preach (kerusso
= herald as a public crier) Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block
(Greek = skandalon gives us our English "scandal" = circumstance or
action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions), and to
Gentiles foolishness (considered intellectually weak and irrational)
We can thus see
why the Gospel might bring about situations in which one would be
tempted to feel a sense of shame.
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
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
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...
I am a part of the fellowship of
the Unashamed. I have the Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I
have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple
of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be
still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is
secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small
planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking,
chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals. I no longer need preeminence,
prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have
to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I
now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer,
and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow,
my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is
clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned
back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice,
hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the
enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of
I won't give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I've preached up,
prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I
am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I
drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.
And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing
me. My colors will be clear for "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because
it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.."
(Romans 1:16) (Reported to
have been written by Bob Moorehead)
C H Spurgeon wrote that...
When we preach Christ crucified, we
have no reason to stammer, or stutter, or hesitate, or apologize; there
is nothing in the gospel of which we have any cause to be ashamed.
Jamieson writes that
language implies that it required
some courage to bring to "the mistress of the world" what "to the Jews
was a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness" (1Co 1:23). 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
gives a personal illustration of why Paul was not
During my years in high school, I was chosen to be an office monitor.
The other hall monitors sat at various stations around the building, but
I was privileged to sit right outside the door of the main high school
office. I was entrusted with important messages that I had to deliver to
different teachers and staff members, and on occasion even to other
schools. Believe me, it was fun to walk into a classroom and even
interrupt a lesson! No teacher ever scolded me, because all of them knew
I carried messages from the principal. I never had to be afraid or
ashamed, because I knew where my messages came from.
Richard Halverson asks
Why are men ashamed of the
Paul says to the Jew the Gospel is a
"stumbling block" (skandalon);
to the Greek it is "foolishness."
A stumbling block to the Jew because
he requires a sign. What sign does he require? The Jew thought of his
MESSIAH in terms of an earthly kingdom, the restoration of the Throne of
David, giving the Jew a place of preeminence among the nations. They did
not see their MESSIAH as "despised and rejected of men," as a suffering
servant. They did not see their MESSIAH hanging on a Cross, His body
broken, bleeding, a crown of thorns on His head. This could not be their
MESSIAH. But it was; and as we traverse Paul's letter to the Romans, we
shall discover that the Old Testament taught that the MESSIAH was to be
The Gospel is foolishness to the
Greek, and one enamored of intellect. The Gospel is an offense to pride
of intellect, and Paul is writing to Rome, the mistress of the world.
What is his message? He proclaims a despised and rejected Nazarene,
crucified on a Cross as a common criminal. Is this message supposed to
have appeal for the proud Roman? Paul is not ashamed of it! Paul is
proud to declare it; but how many, for no other reason than ego, deprive
themselves of this glorious message?
You will remember the interesting
story of Naaman (2Kings 5:1ff), the captain of the king's host of Syria.
Naaman was a great man, possessing all that any man could want, enjoying
status and position; but says the Scripture with penetrating realism,
"he was a leper," a type of sin in the Bible. He would have paid any
price to be rid of his leprosy. Now it happened that in one of the wars
between Syria and Israel, a little Jewish girl was captured in Samaria
and taken to the house
of Naaman. When she learned of his desire to be cured of leprosy, she
said, "Oh if he only knew of the man of GOD in Samaria!" The king of
Syria, hearing this, order Naaman to go to the King of Israel, and in
the course of events Naaman was brought to Elisha, the man of GOD.
Elisha sent a servant who said, "Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and
thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean" (2Kings
Naaman responded in proud wrath
saying, "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all
the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned
and went away in a rage" (2Kings 5:12). But with irresistible logic the
servant said, "My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great
thing, wouldest thou not have done it?" Yielding to such clear logic the
wise captain turned and washed in the water seven times and came up
clean. There are men and women who for no other reason than sheer
unmitigated pride are depriving themselves of the cleansing, forgiving,
regenerating power of GOD in the Gospel. Offer them profound thoughts,
some thing intellectual which appeals to their pride of understanding,
this they will take seriously. Give them some difficult thing to do that
they may boast in accomplishment, it is acceptable; but to simply trust
what JESUS CHRIST did on the Cross of Calvary, how many turn their backs
on that incredible offer? Thank GOD that the Apostle Paul, one of the
greatest intellects who ever lived, could say, "I am not ashamed of the
Gospel of Christ." (Ref)
><> ><> ><>
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
The Puritan William Gurnall
The Gospel is the chariot wherein the
Spirit rides victoriously when He makes His entrance into the hearts of
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
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
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
= 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
'Euaggelion (which we call Gospel)...signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tydings, that
makes a mans heart glad, and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy.'
Do this and live, the
But gives me neither feet nor hands.
A better word the Gospel
It bids me fly and gives me wings
reiterated this truth when he said that "The Law is what we must do; the
Gospel is what God will give."
- 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).
- Only once in the
- 2Sa 4:10 clearly not
with the same meaning as "Gospel" in the NT! Note that the verb
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):
the Gospel of the kingdom
the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the
Son of God (Mark 1:1) because it centers in Christ
the Gospel of God (Mark 1:14)
because it originates with God and was not invented by man
the Gospel of the kingdom of God
the Gospel of the grace of God
the Gospel of His Son (Romans
the Gospel of Christ (Romans
the Gospel of the glory of Christ
the Gospel of your salvation
the Gospel of peace (Ephesians
the Gospel of our Lord Jesus
the glorious Gospel of the
blessed God (1Ti 1:11)
In Ro 16:25, 26 (see
called it “my Gospel” indicating that the special
emphasis he gave the Gospel in his ministry.
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)
1 Now I make known to you,
brethren, the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you
received, in which also you stand,
2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I
preached to you, unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received,
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the
third day according to the Scriptures,
5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time,
most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;
7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;
8 and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an
apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did
not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but
the grace of God with me.
11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach (the Gospel which
has inherent power and do so by the empowering grace of God that works
within us) and so you believed.
Spurgeon summarized the Gospel
If our Lord's bearing our sin for us
is not the Gospel, I have no Gospel to preach....The heart of the gospel
is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary
sacrifice of Christ.
See me, see me, once a
Prostrate at His Cross I lie—
Cross, to tame earth's proudest able,
Who was e'er so proud as I?
He convinced me, He subdued
He chastised me, He renewed me;
The nails that pierced, the spear that slew Him,
Transfixed my heart, and bound me to Him.
See me! see me! once a
Prostrate at His cross I lie.
Paul had explained earlier in this
same letter to the church at Corinth that proclamation of the Gospel was
his primary mandate...
17 for Christ did not send
(apostello - our word "apostle") me to
baptize, but to preach the Gospel, (how?) not in
cleverness of speech, (why not use "clever speech"?) that the
cross of Christ (in
synonymous with the Gospel) should not be made void.
18 For the word of the cross (again synonymous with the Gospel)
is to those who are perishing (not being annihilated but
suffering eternal loss and ruin, no longer ever able to be useful for
the purpose for which they were created!) foolishness (this is why Paul
said he was not ashamed of the Gospel for the wise would try to shame
those who proclaim such a foolish message), but to us who are being saved it is the
(inherent ability) power of God .
19 For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE
CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE."
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of
this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not
come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness (Paul
is being sarcastic and explains that God's "foolishness" is wiser than
man) of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified (the heart of the Gospel
message), to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ (and the good news about Him which is ) the power of God
and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of
God is stronger than men.
Paul again explained his
purpose writing in
2:1 And when I came to you, brethren,
I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom,
proclaiming to you the testimony (marturion) of God (the
Gospel, cf "the testimony of our Lord" see discussion
2 Timothy 1:8).
2 For I determined (resolved) to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and
3 And I was with you in weakness (state of incapacity to do something =
we like Paul should be so "weak" that our only power is from God) and in fear and in much trembling
(quaking or quivering with fear but still unashamed).
4 And my message (logos) and my preaching (proclamation) were not in persuasive words of
wisdom (as men would use in attempting to win an argument or debate), but
in demonstration of the Spirit and of power (perfect parallel of
Romans 1:16 emphasizing the intrinsic supernatural, divine power of the
5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom (sophia) of men
(earthly, natural, unspiritual, fleshly, even motivated by the Devil), but on the
of God (the Gospel of God).
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature (see
teleios); a wisdom, however,
not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away
(not so much simply dying but katargeo = basic idea is they are useless
7 but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God
predestined before the ages to our glory (He made it for our benefit
before the world began); (1Corinthians 2:1-7)
Paul considered himself
first as a servant of Christ with his call to proclaim the
Gospel as a stewardship...
1 Let a man regard us (indicating
Paul, Apollos, Cephas, and, by extension, all other “fellow–workers”)
in this manner, as servants (huperetes = “under rowers” =
lowest galley slaves rowing on bottom tier of ship = most menial,
unenvied, despised of slaves = thus subordinates of any sort, to those
under the authority of another) of Christ (servants cannot serve men
rightly unless they serve their Lord rightly and they cannot serve Him
rightly unless they see themselves rightly = as His under-slaves, His
menial servants - he serves Christ first and then and only then can he
best serve people), and stewards (responsible for the Master's
"property" and one day to give an account) of the mysteries (musterion
= in NT that which was previously hidden but now made known only by
divine revelation) of God.
2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards (oikonomos =
“house manager” = person placed in complete control of household
supervising property, fields, finances, etc on behalf of his master)
that one be found trustworthy (faithful).
Paul explains why he must preach the Gospel...
16 For if I preach the
Gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion (if
someone is compelled they are driven irresistibly - Does that describe
you? Do we eagerly look for opportunities to tell others of the glorious
Gospel?); for woe
is me if I do not preach the Gospel.
17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my
will, I have a stewardship (responsible management of the Gospel
entrusted to Paul’s care) entrusted to me.
18 What then is my reward? That, when I preach the Gospel, I may offer
the Gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the
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
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
IS AN INOPERATIVE GOSPEL"
Geoffrey Wilson emphasizes the need for the "pure" Gospel writing
The unpopularity of a crucified Christ has
prompted many to present a message which is more palatable to the
unbeliever, but the removal of the offense of the cross (1Co1:18)
always renders the message ineffective. An inoffensive Gospel is also an
The Good News Is Not Simply That We
The Good News Is Not Simply That God Is Love
The Good News Is Not Simply That Jesus Wants to Be Our Friend
The Good News Is Not Simply That We Should Live Right
Roberts in fact notes that "The nature of the Gospel is that it
John MacArthur emphasizes that Romans 1:16-17...
express the theme of the book of Romans, and
they contain the most life-transforming truth God has put into men’s
hands. To understand and positively respond to this truth is to have
one’s time and eternity completely altered. These words summarize the
Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Paul then proceeds to unfold and explain
throughout the remainder of the epistle. Some years ago after speaking
at a youth rally, the wife of the rally director approached (MacArthur)
and said, “Your message offended me, because you preached as if all of
these young people were sinners.” To which he replied “I’m glad it came
across that way, because that is exactly the message I wanted to
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press
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)
BETTER NEWS CAN A
SPIRITUALLY DEAD SINNER HEAR?
Dever emphasizes that...
Good News of Christianity has a
specific, cognitive content. It is not simply a religious enthusiasm. It
is not simply a deep personal intuition. It is news—news that says
something about ourselves, about God, about Jesus. It is either right or
wrong. Either we are sinful (as the Bible claims) or we are not sinful.
Either God does or does not exist. Either He is or He is not who the
Bible says He is. Either Jesus did die on the Cross and rise from the
dead or He did not. In our own local church, I always ask prospective
members to tell me the Gospel in one minute or less (unlike what I’ve
done in this chapter!). I do that because I want it to be clear. I want
people to know the Gospel, to understand what they’re saying. Have you
stopped and thought recently about what you claim to believe if you are
a Christian? B. B. Warfield described it this way:
A dozen ignorant peasants proclaiming
a crucified Jew as the founder of a new faith; bearing as the symbol of
their worship an instrument which was the sign of ignominy, slavery and
crime; preaching what must have seemed an absurd doctrine of humility,
patient suffering and love to enemies—graces undreamed of before;
demanding what must have seemed an absurd worship for One Who had died
like a malefactor and a slave, and making what must have seemed an
absurd promise of everlasting life through one Who had Himself died, and
that between two thieves.
As extraordinary as this message is,
it is true. It really happened this way. This is what God has done.
These other messages—“I’m O.K., you’re O.K.,” “Whatever you think of as
love is God,” “Jesus is your friend,” “You should live right”—these
messages are messages other than the Good News of Christianity. They are
half true at best, and they are dangerously untrue when they are relied
on as the Christian Gospel. But this Good News of Christ’s death on the
Cross as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all those who would ever
turn and trust in Him—this good news is not make-believe. This is for
Have we heard the Gospel? Have we
believed it with our lives or are we still playing at religion? Do we
attend church occasionally when our curiosity is up or our guilt is
aroused, while regularly and with great satisfaction serving first of
To really hear the Gospel is to be
shaken to your core. To really hear the Gospel is to change. Have you
heard the Gospel—not a soothing word about your goodness, or about God’s
acceptance, or about Jesus’ inoffensive willingness to befriend all and
sundry, or even some convicting word about getting rid of some sin in
your life—but have you heard the Bible’s great message about God and us?
Does it sound like the best news you’ve ever heard? Old sins forgiven!
New life begun! A personal relationship with your God, your Creator, now
and forever! What better news could you hear? (Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
- Recommended Reading)
Alexander Maclaren describes the Gospel...
The Gospel of Jesus Christ presents
itself, not as a mere republication of morality, not as merely a new
stimulus and motive to do what is right, but as an actual communication
to men of a new power to work in them, a strong hand laid upon our poor,
feeble hand with which we try to put on the brake or to apply the
stimulus. It is a new gift of a life which will unfold itself after its
own nature, as the bud into flower, and the flower into fruit; giving
new desires, tastes, directions, and renewing the whole nature. (Transfiguration
- Scroll down)
Valley of Vision A collection of Puritan Prayers &
Devotions edited by Arthur Bennett, Banner of Truth
Blessed Lord Jesus,
No human mind could conceive or
Acting in eternal grace, Thou art both
its messenger and its message,
lived out on earth through infinite compassion,
applying Thy life to insult, injury, death,
that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.
Blessed be Thou, O Father, for contriving this way,
Eternal thanks to Thee, O Lamb of
for opening this way,
Praise everlasting to Thee, O Holy Spirit,
for applying this way to my heart.
Glorious Trinity, impress the Gospel on my soul,
until its virtue diffuses every faculty;
Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.
Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;
Help me to give up every darling
to submit heart and life to its command,
to have it in my will,
controlling my affections,
molding my understanding;
to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion,
not departing from them in any instance,
nor for any advantage in order to escape evil,
inconvenience or danger.
Take me to the Cross to seek glory from its infamy;
Strip me of every pleasing pretence
by my own doings.
O gracious Redeemer,
I have neglected Thee too long,
often crucified Thee,
crucified Thee afresh by my impenitence,
put Thee to open shame.
I thank Thee for the patience that has borne with me
and for the grace that now makes me willing to be Thine.
O unite me to Thyself with inseparable bonds,
that nothing may ever draw me back
my Lord, my Saviour.
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)
J C Ryle
reminds us of the supernatural power of the Gospel writing that...
There are no incurable cases under
the Gospel. Any sinner may be healed if he (or she) will only come to
I bless my Lord and Master He has
given me a Gospel which I can take to dead sinners, a Gospel which is
available for the vilest of the vile.
comments on the Gospel as a the power of God...
The Gospel is a power. This power is
(1) In overcoming deeply rooted
prejudices. Perhaps no man was more prejudiced than was Paul. Yet he
(2) In triumphing over cruel
(3) In overturning systems of
long-established idolatry. Diana of the Ephesians, worshipped by the
world, lost her adherents when the gospel was proclaimed. All the
deities of Greece and Rome were soon dethroned. Buddhism, Brahmanism,
and other isms are furnishing unmistakable signs of decay.
(4) In its influence over men’s
lives. When imprisonment, stripes, destitution, and disgrace have been
powerless to reform, the gospel of Christ has succeeded. (Biblical
reminds us that...
Religion is the story of what a
sinful man tries to do for a holy God; the Gospel is the story of what a
holy God has done for sinful men.
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!
challenges all disciples of Christ to "Go" and share the Gospel
reminding us that...
(or woman) touched by Jesus Christ
is good publicity for the Gospel! (Amen)
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
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
(See what God promises when we meditate on His Word
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).
alluded to the power of God when he pointed out that...
The success of the Gospel exasperates
conveyed this same thought (that the Gospel is the power of God) when he
Gospel is preached it is as if God himself came into the midst of
Spurgeon comments on Romans
1:16 noting that...
It is a wonderful
heart-searching text...let us put ourselves under its (the Gospel's) power.
Whatever you obey, that is your master: and if you obey the suggestions
of sin, you are the slave of sin (Ro 6:16): and it is only as you are obedient to
God that you are truly the servants of God (Ro 6:17). So that, after all, our
outward, walk and conversation are the best test of our true condition
(Cp James 2:14-26-note,
see 1Jn 1:6
Without holiness no man shall see the Lord (Heb 12:14-note),
nor can he have any reason to believe that he belongs to God (cp 2Pe
The power of
God - As Morris says...
The Gospel is not advice to
people, suggesting that they lift themselves. It is power. It lifts them
up. Paul does not say that the Gospel brings power, but that it is
continually) power, and God’s (Omnipotent) power at that. (Morris,
Leon. The Epistle to the Romans. Page 68. Grand Rapids, Mich.;
Leicester, England: W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press. 1988
(Bolding, italics and words in parentheses added)
John MacDuff writes of the
Christ of the Gospel that...
He is the Power of God to
atone for sin. He is the Power of God to satisfy justice, and
meet the requirements of the law. He is the Power of God to rob
death of its sting, and the grave of its victory.
We hear much of the antiquated power
of man. The Nile, the Euphrates, the Tiber are washing, to this hour,
the colossal memorials of that power. Man's control, too, in these later
days, over the elements, is a mighty thing; his making the winged
lightning his ambassador, annihilating space, converting the world into
a vast whispering gallery—tidings from battle-fields, or secrets in
which the fate of empires and centuries are suspended, transmitted by a
magic touch from capital to capital; the power of the steam-engine, too,
like a fiery spirit, careering majestically over land and ocean.
But what is man's power when brought to bear on the soul, and the
sinner, and eternity? A voice is heard saying of, and to, all human
might—"Thus far shall you go, and no further: here let your proud waves
be stayed." The world, we, repeat, had given it long eras to work out,
if it could, the problem of its own self-salvation. But after these
centuries of failure; after God had given man his own time and means to
exhaust every effort to solve himself, He says—'Now, listen to My own
Divine expedient: By lifting up My beloved Son on the cross, I intend to
draw all men unto Me!' Verily here is a new power—"a new thing" on the
earth. The world is to be conquered; society is to be remolded;
time-honored religions are to be overthrown; Pantheons are to be
subverted—yes, better than all, souls are to be saved, by the power of a
silent transforming principle. "Every warrior's boot used in battle and
every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel
for the fire."
Ah! there is no power—no influence that can unloose the fetters of
fallen humanity like this! We are reminded of the maniac of old who
dwelt among the tombs. No man could bind him. They had tried it; but he
had burst their bonds like thread, and roamed that dark graveyard. At
last he spied, on the white strand of Gennesaret, ONE of whom he had
heard. It was Jesus! See that maniac now—sitting "clothed, and in his
right mind." So with the soul still. There are many who, in the mad
fever of their passions, have roamed for years amid the place of the
dead, "crying and cutting themselves with stones." But the Divine
Redeemer, in the glories of His person—in the completeness of His
work—has stood before them. Unreclaimable, untamable, by all human
means, they have taken a child's place at the foot of His cross; and
there they now are sitting, with the peace of Heaven mirrored in their
hearts—"the joy of the Lord their strength." (A
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!
describes the power of the Gospel and the joy that it brings into one's
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church - I
highly recommend this book if you are pastor, elder or church leader!),
two of the men now on our pastoral staff were first friends of mine when
they were non-Christians. I studied the gospel of Mark with them. By
God’s grace, I saw both of them come to know the Lord, and I now sit and
listen to them preach the everlasting Gospel to others. My eyes moisten
even while I write these words. (See also website -
Nine Marks of a Healthy Church)
tells a story that aptly illustrates the Gospel's power...
In Christianity Today, Wendy Murray
Zoba says that one of the more effective evangelistic tools that Campus
Crusade for Christ has developed is the Jesus film. She writes: “Several
years ago in Peru, during the insurgence of the Sendero Luminoso
(Shining Path), a Wycliffe couple was traveling to show the film in a
village. Their vehicle was intercepted by the Senderos, and they feared
for their lives (with just cause). Instead of killing them, however, the
terrorists decided to seize their equipment, including the film
projector. The husband boldly suggested that they might as well take the
film reels too. Some time later, a man contacted them to say that he had
been among the Senderos who had robbed them. He told them they watched
the film seven times (out of sheer boredom), and some had been converted
through it. He came to apologize and to tell of his ministry in
preaching and evangelism.” (Study
and Exposition of Romans 1:16-17)
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.
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
"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.
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),
In his letter to
the Corinthian Christians Paul emphasized that "the
God does not consist in
words but in
power" (1Cor 4:20, see context 1Cor
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 in sin. He knew it
was far 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
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
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
Scripture certainly testifies to God’s glorious
(Ex 15:6), His irresistible power
(Dt 32:39), His unsearchable power (Job
5:9), His mighty power
(Job 9:4), His great power
Spurgeon's note), His incomparable
Spurgeon's comment), His strong power
His everlasting power
(Isa 26:4), His effectual power
(Is 43:13), and His sovereign
(see Ro 9:21-note). Jeremiah declared of God, “It is He who made the earth by His
who established the world by His wisdom” (Jer 10:12), and through that prophet the Lord said of Himself, “I have made the
earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My
and by My outstretched arm” (Jer 27:5). The psalmist admonished, “Let
all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand
in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood
fast” (Ps 33:8, 9 see Spurgeon's notes
V9). His is the only
that can save.
J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press
(See also Torrey's Topic "Power
Attributes of God)
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
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)
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
"About a quarter before nine, while
he (Luther) was describing the change which God works in the heart
through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did
trust in Christ, Christ alone, for my salvation; and an assurance was
given me that he had taken my sins away, even mine; and saved me from
the law of sin and death."
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.
(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)
soter [word study] = Savior in turn
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
the verb meaning to deliver.)
“Salvation” includes both the
negative aspect of being forgiven for all sin and delivered from the
penalty of sin, but it also includes in it the positive idea of personal
relationship with God, i.e., the restoration of a relationship
previously ruined through sin (Ro 5:10-11-note).
According to Paul, it is only the message of the cross that affects the
power of God and restores the relationship between sinner and Lord. (Study
and Exposition of Romans 1:16-17)
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).
(cp Ge 49:18, Ex 14:13, 15:2 where Salvation = yeshuah [=
deliverance - related to the Hebrew Name for Jesus - Yeshua];
words for salvation
both convey the
ideas of deliverance (rescue), safety, preservation,
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).
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...
the act of preserving or the state
of being preserved from harm...deliverance by redemption from the
power of sin and from the penalties ensuing from it. (Excellent
definition in this secular resource!)
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!"
There is nothing attractive about the
Gospel to the natural man; the only man who finds the Gospel attractive
is the man who is convicted of sin.
How relevant to
Seneca's declaration is God's rhetorical question in Isaiah's
Is My hand to short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to
deliver? (Isaiah 50:2) (And
what is your answer to this rhetorical question?)
Behold, the LORD's hand is not so
short that it cannot save (Hebrew =
Yasha' esp used in Psalms and
Isaiah = deliver, rescue, preserve, avenge, defend; Greek =
sozo). Neither is His ear so dull
that it cannot hear. (Isaiah 59:1)
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
No other power on earth can do that!
Through Jeremiah (cp "through His prophets" - Ro 1:2-note), the Lord
Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do
good who are accustomed to do evil (Jer 13:23).
It is note within man's
power to change his own nature. In rebuking the Sadducees who tried to
entrap Him, Jesus said,
You are mistaken, not understanding the
Scriptures, or the power (dunamis)
of God (Mt 22:29).
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;
Clearly all men possess an innate knowledge of their great need for
salvation (cp Ro 2:14, 15,
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)...
Maha Kumbh Mela is so important to Hindus that millions
will attend this festival that happens once every 12 years. According to
Hindu myths, when the stars come together on a certain line, a person
may gain salvation (moska) by taking a holy dip. Sadhus and other Hindu
VIPs get the first chance to take the holy dip. From Jan 9 to Feb 21,
2001 they will do it again in Allahabad. This time, Indian officials
expect to have 45 million attending, a record-breaking number!
(Bolding added) (Global
Prayer Digest - December 24, 2000)
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)..
1. Saving. These terms first refer to
salvation (human or divine) from serious peril. Curing from illness is
another sense. Horses may save in battle, or night may save an army from
destruction, good counsel may save ships, etc. Cities, castles, ships,
etc. may be saved as well as people. At times protection may be the
meaning, and soteria can have the sense of a “safe return.”
2. Keeping. The meaning at times may
be that of keeping alive, e.g., pardoning, protecting, keeping from
want, keeping a fire going.
3. Benefiting. The idea of rescuing
from peril disappears when the idea is that of keeping in good health,
or benefiting, or when the noun means “well-being,” i.e., of a city,
country, family, etc.
4. Preserving the Inner Being. A
special nuance is when the terms refer to preserving the inner being or
nature. In philosophy inner health may be the point or the preservation
of one’s humanity.
5. Religious Usage. All the nuances
occur in religious usage. Thus the gods rescue from the perils of life.
Philosophy discusses the preservation of all things from perishing. A
demand arises for the preservation of life beyond death. In the Gnostic
sphere gnósis supposedly saves from death as it is imparted by
revelation (Paul's epistle to the Colossians refutes this heresy) In the
mysteries initiates share in the salvation of a mythical divine being
from death and thereby attain to a blissful life in the hereafter (a
clear counterfeit!). A special Syrian belief mentioned in Origen Against
Celsus 7.9 is that there is salvation from eternal punishment by worship
of a divine envoy and faith in him. ("there is salvation in no one else;
for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by
which we must be saved." Acts 4:12)
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New
BELIEVES: panti to pisteuonti (PAPMSD):
(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
keep on believing the truth of the Gospel. In short, the offer of the
Gospel is universal, but participation is limited to those
tells the story illustrating the power of the Gospel...
Preacher converted by his own
preaching. I wish that it might happen to you as it did with my dear friend, Mr.
Haslam, whom God has blessed to the conversion of so many. He was
preaching a sermon that he did not understand, and while he preached it,
he converted himself. By God's grace he began to feel the power of the
Holy Spirit and the force of divine truth. He so spoke that a Methodist
in the congregation called out, "The parson is converted"; and so the
parson was. He owned it, and praised God for it, and all the people
"Praise God from Whom all blessings
His own utterances concerning Christ
crucified had been the power of God unto salvation to him. (Barbed
Arrows from the Quiver of C. H. Spurgeon)
Here's another story that speaks to
the mysterious supernatural power of God's Word for
salvation to everyone who believes His
The renowned preacher C H Spurgeon
once tested an auditorium in which he was to speak that evening.
Stepping into the pulpit, he loudly proclaimed,
Behold the lamb of God Who takes away
the sin of the world.
Satisfied with the acoustics, he left
and went his way. Unknown to him, there were two men working in the
rafters of that large auditorium, neither one Christians. One of the men
was pricked in his conscience by the verse Spurgeon quoted and became a
believer later that day! Such is the penetrating power of God's eternal
word! Little wonder that Paul is so insistent on our "preaching of the
Word." (See discussion of 1Th 2:13 regarding
the power of God's Word which in
context = the Gospel)
Related Resource: See study on
Power of God's Word
[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
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?"
- see note). Genuine belief includes
is adapted from from Vines Lexicon entry for pisteuo)
1) A mental or intellectual apprehension of the facts concerning
2) A firm conviction which produces full acknowledgment of God's
revelation of Truth
2) A personal surrender to the Truth
3) And a conduct inspired by and consistent with one's
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
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
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)
(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.
entry states that
Jew denotes originally an
inhabitant of Judah (2 Kings 16:6 applies to the two tribes of the
Southern Kingdom), but later the meaning was extended to embrace all
descendants of Abraham. In the Old Testament the word occurs a few times
in the singular. (Esther 2:5; 3:4, etc.; Jer 34:9; Zech 8:23); very
frequently in the plural in Ezra and Nehemiah, Esther, and in Jeremiah
and Daniel. The adjective in the Old Testament applies only to the
"Jews' language" or speech (2Ki 18:26,28 parallel Neh 3:24; Is
36:11,13). "Jews" (always plural) is the familiar term for Israelites in
the Gospels (especially in John), Acts, Epistles, etc. "Jewess" occurs
in 1Chr 4:18; Ac 16:1; 24:24. In Titus 1:14 (note)
a warning is given against "Jewish fables" (in Greek the adjective is
found also in Gal 2:14). The "Jews' religion" (Ioudaismos) is referred
to in Gal 1:13,14.
Verses that translate Yehudi
(Jew, Jewish, Judeans) -- 2Ki. 16:6; 25:25; Neh. 1:2; 2:16; 4:1f, 12;
5:1, 8, 17; 6:6; 13:23; Esther 2:5; 3:4, 6, 10, 13; 4:3, 7, 13, 14, 16;
5:13; 6:10, 13; 8:1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 13, 16, 17; 9:1, 2,3, 5, 6, 10, 12,
13, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29; 10:3; Jer 32:12; 34:9;
38:19; 40:11, 12, 15; 41:3; 43:9; 44:1; 52:28, 30; Zech. 8:23
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,
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.
(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
entire sermon (click here)
in which he addresses the specific question "in What Ways Do the
Jews Have Priority?"
Newell explains first ...
is an order of sequence; just
as the Gospel came first to the Jew and then to Greek, and now,
since the "no difference" fact, is proclaimed to all indiscriminately,
Jews and Greeks.
There is no discrimination arising
from race or culture and there is no obstacle arising from the
degradation of sin.
S Lewis Johnson remarks that
first to the Jew and also to the Greek is...
not to be taken to express
preference, that is, that the Gospel is to be preached to the Jew first
down through the centuries, but simple historical precedence,
that is, that the Gospel was preached to the Jew first, and then
to the Greek (cp similar thought in Ro 2:9
The Jew was first in point of time (cf. Romans 15:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; Lk 24:47; Ac
13:46, "first"). The priority is that of the divine program.
Other Scriptures substantiating that
the Gospel is to be preached to all men, both Jews and Gentiles, without
preference for either...
And Paul and Barnabas spoke out
boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken
to you (Jews) first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves
unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
Comment: God offered the plan
of salvation to the Jews first but because the Jews rejected the Gospel
Paul turned to the Gentiles. God never planned salvation as an exclusive
possession of the Jews.
He (God) says, "It is too small a
thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, and
to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of
the nations (the Gentiles) So that My salvation may reach to the
end of the earth." (Isaiah 49:6)
For I say that Christ has become a
servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the
promises given to the fathers, 9 and for the Gentiles to glorify
God for His mercy; as it is written, "THEREFORE I WILL GIVE PRAISE TO
THEE AMONG THE GENTILES, AND I WILL SING TO THY NAME." 10 And
again he says, "REJOICE, O GENTILES, WITH HIS PEOPLE." 11 And
again, "PRAISE THE LORD ALL YOU GENTILES, AND LET ALL THE PEOPLES
PRAISE HIM." 12 And again Isaiah says, "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF
JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL
THE GENTILES HOPE." 13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all
joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of
the Holy Spirit.
Repentance for forgiveness of sins
should be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning
from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)
Barnhouse writes that To
the Jew first and also to the Greek...
was the Jewish phrase for expressing
the universality of the human race. The reason for Paul’s speaking of
the Jew and Greek here is evident. He has come to his
central theme. He is the herald of the Gospel. He who was once the
exponent of a narrow racial religion now announces that the Gospel is
the universal power of God. It comes to the whole world. It is to “every
one that believeth.” He could not forget the great operations of God in
the past for Israel, so he announces that the Gospel came first to them;
but he is careful to say that it is also for the Gentile or the heathen.
This verse has been grossly
misinterpreted. The Gospel is not to the Jew first in point of
importance but in point of time. It came to them before it came to us.
When the great Jew, Disraeli, became Lord Beaconsfield, he was once
twitted in the House of Lords because of his Jewish ancestry. With a
courtly bow he answered the seventeenth baron of something or other who
had had the bad taste to speak in such a fashion, and put him in his
place forever. “Yes, my noble Lord,” replied Disraeli, “I am a Jew. And
when your ancestors were living on acorns in the German forest my
ancestors were giving to the world law, literature, religion, and our
very Saviour.” He had by far the best of it. (Barnhouse, Donald Grey.
Man's Ruin: Romans 1:1-32. Page177. Grand Rapids, MI.: William B.
Eerdmans Publishing Company. 1952)
Newell commenting on to the
Jew first and also to the Greek writes that...
The Jew had the Law. They had the
temple, with its divinely prescribed worship. Heretofore, if a Gentile
were to be saved, let him become a proselyte and come to Jerusalem to
worship as did the Ethiopian eunuch. Christ came "to His own things"
(Jn 1:11), to Jerusalem, to His Father's house (literally, "the things
of My Father"). The apostles were to be witnesses-beginning from
Jerusalem (Lk 24:47). The Holy Spirit fell upon the hundred and twenty
at Jerusalem. Upon the persecution that arose in Jerusalem from Stephen,
the disciples "were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea
and Samaria, except the apostles, " but Jerusalem was the Gospel's first
center, then Antioch in Syria, whence Paul and Barnabas, afterwards Paul
and Silas, went forth. Afterwards, the center of God's operations was
Ephesus, the capital of proconsular Asia, where after being rejected by
the Jews in many cities, Paul separates the disciples, and all
distinction between Jew and Greek in the assemblies of the saints is
gone. Then he goes to Jerusalem to be finally and officially
rejected-killed, if it were possible. God waits two years at Caesarea
for Jewish repentance: there is none, but the direct opposite. Then the
apostle, having been driven into the hands of the Romans by the Jews
goes to Rome, the world's center, only to have the Jews reject his
teaching (Acts 28). Thereupon it is announced: "Be it known therefore
unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they
will also hear."
Therefore, in expressing to the
Jew first, Paul is not at all prescribing an order of
presentation of the Gospel throughout this dispensation. He is simply
recognizing the fact that to the Jew, who had the Law and Divine
privileges, the Gospel offer had first been presented, and
then to the Gentile. As Paul says in Ephesians "And He came and
preached peace to you that were far off (the Gentile), and peace to them
that were nigh (the Jews)" (see Eph 2:17-note).
We might just as sensibly claim that Ephesians 2.17 gives Gentiles
priority because they are mentioned first -"you that were afar"
over the Jews who were mentioned last, -"them that were nigh."
To claim that the Gospel must be
preached first to the Jew throughout this dispensation, is
utterly to deny God's Word that there is now no distinction between Jew
and Greek either as to the fact of sin (see Ro 3:22-note)
or the availability of salvation (see Ro 10:12-
William: Romans Verse by Verse Commentary)
James Montgomery Boice adds
Paul’s phrase first for the Jew,
then for the Gentile has led readers to think that he was saying
something like “to the Jew above the Gentile” or “to the Jew simply
because he is a Jew and therefore of greater importance than other
people.” But, of course, this is not what Paul intends. In this text
Paul means exactly the same thing Jesus meant when he told the woman of
Samaria that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). Both were
speaking chronologically. Both meant that in the systematic
disclosure of the Gospel the Jews had occupied a first and important
place. This was because, as Paul says later in Romans, theirs was “the
adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving
of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the
patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Jesus Christ
…” (Ro 9:3; 9:4; 9:5 --see notes
5). No one can
fully understand the Gospel if he or she neglects this historical
preparation for it. But this does not mean that Paul is setting
the Jew above the Gentile in this text or, as some would desire by
contrast, that he is setting the Gentile above the Jew. On the contrary,
Paul’s point is that the Gospel is for Gentile and Jew alike. It is for
Why? Because it is the power of God,
and God is no respecter of persons. If the Gospel were of human power
only, it would be limited by human interests and abilities. It would be
for some and not others. It would be for the strong but not for the
weak, or the weak but not for the strong. It would be for the
intelligent but not the foolish, or the foolish but not the wise. It
would be for the noble or the well-bred or the sensitive or the poor or
the rich or whatever, to the exclusion of those who do not fit the
categories. But this is not the way it is. The Gospel is for everyone.
John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only
Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life” (John 3:16, italics mine). At Pentecost Peter declared, “Everyone
who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21; cf. Joel
2:32). Indeed, the Bible ends on this note: “The Spirit and the bride
say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is
thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take of the free gift
of the water of life” (see Re 22:17-note).
(I have added italics to these passages to emphasize this important
J. M. Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House
Barnes writes that first means...
First in order of time. Not
that the Gospel was any more adapted to Jews than to others; but to them
had been committed the oracles of God; the Messiah had come through
them; they had had the law, the temple, and the service of God, and it
was natural that the Gospel should be proclaimed to them before it was
to the Gentiles. This was the order in which the Gospel was
actually preached to the world, first to the Jews, and
then to the Gentiles. Comp. Acts 2 and Acts 10; Mt 10:6; Lk
24:49; Ac 13:46, "It was necessary that the word of God should first
have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge
yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles."
Comp. Mt 21:43. (Albert
Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary).
Leon Morris comments that...
The Gospel is for all and knows no
limitation by race. In the matter of salvation God puts no difference
between one nation and another. Paul assigns a certain priority to the
Jew but immediately balances it with his reference to the Greek.
Historically the Gospel came to the Jews first, but Paul seems to mean
more than this. The priority was in God’s plan. An electing purpose is
expressed in it. But there is not one Gospel for Jews and another for
Gentiles. All who are saved are saved by the one Gospel and are brothers
and sisters in Christ. Just as it is true that it is first for the Jew,
then for the Gentile, so it is true that “There is neither Jew nor
Greek … for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). But if
everyone marks the universality, a restriction is indicated by who
believes. The powerful salvation of which Paul writes is not the
possession of any unbeliever. Each person must make it his own by his
act of faith. This does not mean that faith is like another kind of law,
but easier, as though God and man were cooperating to bring about
salvation. “It is not man’s faith that gives the Gospel its power; quite
the contrary, it is the power of the Gospel that makes it possible for
one to believe” (Nygren). Paul is not saying that people achieve
power by their own believing effort. He is saying that the power of
God is at work in the Gospel. (Morris,
Leon. The Epistle to the Romans. Page 68. Grand Rapids, Mich.;
Leicester, England: W. B. Eerdmans; Inter-Varsity Press. 1988
For you (Jews)
first (protos = first in
raised up His
sent Him to
bless you by
one of you (Jews) from your
ways. (Acts 3:26,
cf Mt 10:5, 6, 7; Ro 2:9-note)
As J Vernon McGee says...
To the Jew first, and also to the
Greek” does not imply that the Jew has top priority to the Gospel today.
The important thing is to make sure the Jew is on a par with the Gentile
as far as evangelism is concerned. Chronologically the Gospel went to
the Jew first. If you had been in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost, you
would have seen an altogether Jewish meeting. And Paul in his missionary
journeys took the Gospel first to the Jewish synagogue, but in Acts
13:46 we are told,
“And Paul and Barnabas spoke out
boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken
to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of
eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.”
The Gospel began in Jerusalem, a
Jewish city, then spread to Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the
J V: Thru the Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson
(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:
The preaching of
the Gospel to the Jews first served various important ends. It fulfilled
OT prophecies, as Is 2:3. It manifested the compassion of the Lord Jesus
for those who shed His blood, to whom,
after His resurrection, He commanded His Gospel to be first proclaimed.
It showed that it was to be preached to the chief of sinners, and proved
the sovereign efficacy of His Atonement in expatiating [sic] the guilt
even of His murderers. It was fit, too, that the Gospel should be begun
to be preached where the great transactions took place on which it was
rounded and established; and this furnished an example of the way in
which it is the will of the Lord that His Gospel should be propagated by
His disciples, beginning in their own houses and their own country. (Haldane,
R. An Exposition on the Epistle to the Roman. Ages Classic Commentaries)
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...
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the
Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon the Great
Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the
world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people
everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and
brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction
of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the
oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. But this is the
year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The
united nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open
battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our
Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and
munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained
fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are
marching together to Victory! I have full confidence in your courage,
devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than
full Victory! Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of
Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking. - Dwight
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
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
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The words we speak,
the lives we live
Say much about the Lord we love;
But power in our witnessing
Comes from God's Word, sent from above.
Religion can reform
but only the Gospel can transform
Romans 1:17 For
as it is
RIGHTEOUS man SHALL
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:
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)
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,'
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
(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 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:
"Here is where the greatness of the
Gospel is clearly seen. It provides for us what we could never provide
for ourselves. On our own merits we all stand condemned before the
Almighty. Who is there who would dare to say, "I am good enough to go to
heaven." As someone has said,
"A clear conscience is the result of
a poor memory."
The only people who think they are
good enough to go to heaven are the people who don't know how bad they
really are! Righteousness is what we need but do not have. Therefore
God, knowing that we could never be righteous on our own, has provided a
righteousness which comes down to us from heaven above. It's not earned
or deserved, but is given to us by God as a free gift."
Matthew Henry adds that...
"The Gospel makes known a
righteousness. (Paul's desire was that he might "be found in Him
[Christ], not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but
that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes
from God on the basis of faith," Php 3:9) While
God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners, it is necessary
we should have a righteousness wherein to appear before Him; and,
blessed be God, there is such a righteousness brought in by Messiah the
Prince and revealed in the Gospel; a righteousness, that is, a
gracious method of reconciliation and acceptance, notwithstanding the
guilt of our sins. This evangelical righteousness is called the
righteousness of God; it is of God’s appointing, of God’s approving and
accepting. It is so called to cut off all pretensions to a righteousness
resulting from the merit of our own works. It is the righteousness of
Christ, Who is God, resulting from a satisfaction of infinite value."
The great Princeton theologian Charles Hodge said this about "righteousness
righteousness for which we are justified is neither anything done by us
or wrought in us, but something done for us and imputed
to us. It is the
work of Christ, what He did and suffered to satisfy the demands of the
law. Hence not merely external or ceremonial works are excluded as the
ground of justification; but works of righteousness, all works of
whatever kind or degree of excellence. Hence this righteousness is not
our own. It is nothing that we have either wrought ourselves, or that
inheres in us. Hence Christ is said to be our righteousness; and we are
said to be justified by His blood, His death, His obedience; we are
righteous in Him, and are justified by Him or in His name, or for His
Charles: Commentary on Romans. Ages Classic Commentaries
Logos) (Bolding added)
Jaroslav Pelikan says that
that Paul spoke of in this
passage was not the righteousness by which God was righteous in Himself
(that would be passive righteousness,) but the righteousness by which,
for the sake of Jesus Christ, God made sinners righteous (that is,
active righteousness) through the forgiveness of sins in justification."
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
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
F B Meyer
It is important to understand this
verse, because it is the key to the Epistle. In the deepest sense,
righteousness stands for two things — first, our standing before God;
and next, our personal character our position and our condition — what
we are in Jesus, and what we are in ourselves by the Holy Spirit.
Hooker, therefore, well expresses the truth when he says, “The
righteousness with which we shall be clothed in the world to come, is
both perfect and inherent; that wherewith we are justified is perfect,
but not inherent; that
by which we are sanctified is inherent, but not perfect.” The term
righteousness, therefore, covers justification and sanctification,
whereof the former is treated in the first five chapters of this
Epistle; and to this we confine ourselves.
There is a difference between
forgiveness and justification. By forgiveness the sinner may be
reinstated in the confidence of Him whom he has wronged; by
justification he is declared
according to law, and thereby commended to the confidence and respect of
Justification is our position through
the wonderful grace of God, and by virtue of the finished work of
Christ, which is imputed to all who believe. All that He is, is reckoned
to us who are in Him. We are not merely forgiven, great and wonderful as
that act of love and grace would be;
we are dealt with as though we had never sinned. Instead, therefore, of
the law being against us, as we deserve, it is on our side, defending
and protecting us. Our salvation actually rests on law. We may claim it
as an absolute right. And all this because of God’s infinite grace:
because, in the person of Jesus, He has perfectly met, and satisfied,
the claims of his holy but broken law. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)
><> ><> ><>
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...
“I have but one passion
and that is He and only He.”
May his tribe increase!
Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness
Nikolaus Von Zinzendorf (1700-1781 -
Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
’Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in Thy great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am,
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
Lord, I believe Thy precious blood,
Which, at the mercyseat of God,
Forever doth for sinners plead,
For me, e’en for my soul was shed.
Lord, I believe were sinners more
Than sands upon the ocean shore,
Thou hast for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made (Play
Is revealed - More literally
"is being (continually) revealed".
Revealed (601) (apokalupto
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,
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 Scripture, foreseeing that God
would justify (declare righteous) the Gentiles by faith, preached the
Gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE
BLESSED IN YOU." (Galatians 3:8)
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
Emphasizing the peculiar sense in
which “righteousness” is used here. Righteousness as an attribute of God
was revealed before the Gospel. Righteousness in this sense is a matter
of special revelation through the Gospel. The present tense describes
the Gospel in its continuous proclamation: is being 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
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:
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
Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical
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
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...
Saving faith is trust in Jesus
Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life
with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a
belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me... The definition
emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about
Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust,
the word "trust" is a better word to use in contemporary culture than
the word "faith" or "belief." The reason is that we can "believe"
something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved
in it. (Grudem,
W. A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine
Larry Richards has an excellent
discussion on faith writing that...
Originally this word group seems
linked with a more formal contract between partners. It stressed
faithfulness to the agreement made or trustworthiness in keeping
promises. In time the use expanded. In the classical period, writers
spoke of trust in the gods as well as trust in people. In the Hellenic
era, "faith in God" came to mean theoretical conviction about a
particular doctrine, a conviction expressed in one's way of life. As
different schools of philosophy and religion developed, the particular
emphasis given pistis was shaped by the tradition within which it was
used. The NT retains the range of meanings. But those meanings are
refined and reshaped by the dynamic message of the Gospel.
The verb (pisteuo) and noun (pistis)
are also used with a number of prepositions. "To believe through" (dia)
indicates the way by which a person comes to faith (Jn 1:7; 1Pe 1:21-note).
"Faith en" indicates the realm in which faith operates (see Ep 1:15-note;
The most important construction is unique to the NT, an invention of the
early church that expresses the inmost secret of our faith. That
construction links faith with the preposition eis, "to" or
"into." This is never done in secular Greek. In the NT it portrays a
person committing himself or herself totally to the person of Jesus
Christ, for our faith is into Jesus. (Ed note: Leon Morris in
"The Gospel According to John"
agrees with Richards writing that "Faith, for John, is an activity
which takes men right out of themselves and makes them one with Christ"
indicating that Morris likewise understands the Greek preposition eis
in the phrase pisteuo eis, to be a significant indication that NT
faith is not just intellectual assent but includes a "moral element
of personal trust.")
One other aspect of the NT's use of
faith words is fascinating. Usually the object of faith is Jesus. Only
twelve verses have God as the object of faith (Jn 12:44; 14:1; Ac 16:34;
Ro 4:3, 4:5, 17, 24 see notes
Gal 3:6; 1Th 1:8-note;
Why? The reason is clearly expressed by Jesus himself: "I am the way and
the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me"
(Jn 14:6). God the Father has revealed himself in the Son. The Father
has set Jesus before us as the one to whom we must entrust ourselves for
salvation. It is Jesus who is the focus of Christian faith. (Richards,
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
Wuest in his study of pistis
and the related words in this family,
When these words refer to the faith
which a lost sinner must place in the Lord Jesus in order to be saved,
they include the following ideas; the act of considering the Lord Jesus
worthy of trust as to His character and motives, the act of placing
confidence in His ability to do just what He says He will do, the act of
entrusting the salvation of his soul into the hands of the Lord Jesus,
the act of committing the work of saving his soul to the care of the
Lord. This means a definite taking of one's self out of one's own
keeping and entrusting one's self into the keeping of the Lord Jesus. (Wuest,
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the
Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans)
William Barclay notes that...
Faith begins with receptivity. It
begins when a man is at least willing to listen to the message of the
truth. It goes on to mental assent. A man first hears and then agrees
that this is true. But mental assent need not issue in action. Many a
man knows very well that something is true, but does not change his
actions to meet that knowledge. The final stage is when this mental
assent becomes total surrender. In full-fledged faith, a man hears the
Christian message, agrees that it is true, and then casts himself upon
it in a life of total yieldedness. (Barclay,
W: The Daily Study Bible Series. The Westminster Press
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.
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.
explains this faith to faith --
From faith points to the initial act;
to faith to the life of faith which issues from it.
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)
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
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
God said it, I believe
it, that settles it.
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
God said it, that settles it!
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
The original sense
of grapho was to carve or to engrave as deduced from uses in the
Septuagint (where grapho occurs some 300 times usually for the
such as the following...
Write (LXX =
grapho) on them (LXX
= lithos = stones) all the words of this law (Deut 27:3)
Then he (Solomon) carved (LXX =
egkolapto = cut or carve) all the walls of the house round about with
carved (Lxx = grapho) engravings of cherubim... (1Kings 6:29)
...You who carve (LXX =
grapho) a resting place for yourself in the rock? (Isaiah 22:16)
a historical note writing that...
grapho is found in its
original sense in Homer, Il. 17, 599. In Herodotus, 4, 36 the word is
used meaning to draw, of lines on maps; and scholars of the 3rd cent.
B.C. used it of drawing of mathematical figures. In Homer grapho is
already used in the sense of scratching signs on a tablet as a kind of
letter (Il. 6, 169). From the time of Herodotus. it is used generally in
the normal sense of to write, and from the time of Pindar in the derived
sense of to prescribe, to order. From the practice of handing in a
written accusation, grapho came in judicial language to mean to accuse
(Plato, Euthyphro 2b). (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
verb grapho is
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
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.
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.
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."
dikaios was first used of
persons observant of dike, custom, rule, right, especially in the
fulfillment of duties towards gods and men, and of things that were in
accordance with right. The English word “righteous” was formerly spelt
‘rightwise’, i.e., (in a) straight way. In the NT it denotes
righteous, a state of being right, or right conduct, judged whether by
the Divine standard, or according to human standards, of what is right.
Said of God, it designates the perfect agreement between His nature and
His acts (in which He is the standard for all men). (Vine,
W E: Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament
Words. 1996. Nelson)
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
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
both righteous (dikaios) in
the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and
requirements of the Lord. (Lk 1:6)
Comment: Many NT saints do not fully comprehend how God
transformed a sinner into a saint before the Cross of Christ (cp
Zacharias and Elizabeth). A common misconception is that this
transformation came about in saints who kept the OT laws and faithfully
carried out the Levitical sacrifices, feasts, etc. Paul demolishes this
misconception in many NT passages, including Ro 3:20-note
(cp Gal 2:16, Jas 2:10). Some argue that since James seems to
"contradict" Paul, it leaves open the possibility of justification by
good works or by keeping the law in the OT. Suffice it to say that James
uses justify meaning to "demonstrate or show one to be righteous"
(by one's righteous deeds - see Jas 2:21-note,
while Paul uses justify to mean "declare righteous". For more
detailed discussion see the in depth notes on James 2:14-26 (notes).
Abraham heard the Gospel (Gal 3:8) and he believed and was reckoned or
accounted righteous by faith (Ge 15:6, cp Gal 3:6; Ro 4:3-note;
and Jas 2:23-note).
Righteousness has always been obtained the same way in the OT and NT -
by faith in the good news of Christ. Every "religion" other that
Christianity in some way replaces this truth with "good works" which
Paul explained are not the way of salvation lest anyone boast about how
their good works secured salvation (see Eph 2:8, 9-note)
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
of faith"). The Bible
repeatedly teaches the clear relationship between personal righteousness
(positional righteousness - God now sees saints
the Righteous One) and righteous conduct in His sight.
gives us an easily understandable Scriptural "definition" of dikaios writing...
Little children (a distinctly
Johannine term of endearment referring to believers - John 13:33; 1 John
2:1, 12, 28; 3:7, 18; 4:4; 5:21),
let no one deceive
negative = command to stop letting this happen, in context men coming
into their midst saying "Just believe and you are saved forever,
even if you spend the rest of your life practicing sin!" This
heresy is being taught even in modern day evangelicalism - John says
stop being led astray by this deadly doctrine of demons! 1Ti 4:1, cp Ep
1Co 6:9, 10, 11); the one who practices (present
tense = habitually, as a lifestyle,
speaking of direction not perfection)
righteousness is righteous (dikaios), just as He (Jesus,
the perfectly Righteous One Je 23:5, 6, 33:16) is righteous
(dikaios). The one who practices sin (present
habitually = This is what the deceivers [1Jn 2:18, 19, 26] were saying a
person could habitually practice sin as long as they said they "believed
in Jesus"! See Jesus' frightening warning noting His association of what
one says and how one lives ["Practice" in Mt
= Lips and life should match!] - Mt 7:21-note,
Mt 7:22, 23-note)
is of the
could the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostle [messenger] John have been
any clearer about what we say we believe and how we live!);
for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for
this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil (Ge 3:15, Ro
(Praise God!). (1Jn 3:7,
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
You will know them by their fruits
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
Charles Colson once remarked that...
The Gospel is Good News. But Jesus never said it was easy news. The
central truth of the Cross is death before life (Mk 8:35),
repentance before reward (Acts 3:19, 20, 11:18, 20:21, 26:20 cp Mk
1:15, Lk 3:8, 5:32, 13:3,4, 5, 15:10, 16:30, 24:46, 47, Ro 2:4-note).
Before His Gospel can be the Good News of redemption, it must be
the bad news of the conviction of sin. (Bolding and Scriptures
Shall live by faith - See
discussion above of
Spurgeon in Faith's
Checkbook offers these devotional thoughts on the just shall live
by faith emphasizing that Paul is saying...
By Faith , Not Feeling - I
SHALL not die. I can, I do, believe in the Lord my God, and this faith
will keep me alive. I would be numbered among those who in their lives
are just; but even if I were perfect, I would not try to live by my
righteousness; I would cling to the work of the Lord Jesus, and still
live by faith in Him and by nothing else. If I were able to give my body
to be burned for my Lord Jesus, yet I would not trust in my own courage
and constancy, but still would live by faith.
“Were I a martyr at the stake
I’d plead my Savior’s name;
Intreat a pardon for His sake,
And urge no other claim.”
To live by faith is a far surer and
happier thing than to live by feelings or by works. The branch, by
living in the vine, lives a better life than it would live by itself,
even if it were possible for it to live at all apart from the stem. To
live by clinging to Jesus, by deriving all from Him, is a sweet and
sacred thing. If even the most just must live in this fashion, how much
more must I who am a poor sinner! Lord, I believe. I must trust Thee
wholly. What else can I do? Trusting Thee is my life. I feel it to be
so. I will abide by this even to the end.
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)
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...
"the point of the quotation (in
Romans 1:17) is that a man who is righteous
has life, not because of his adherence to law, but by faith.
the apostle is teaching the same thing, but there he is combating
Judaism, and the force of his argument is that no man, however virtuous,
can be justified by law keeping.
Hebrews 10:38, faith is again emphasized
as an essential thing. The prophet Habakkuk showed that deliverance from
impending national danger would be granted to the man who had faith in
God. In the New Testament, the teaching is transferred from the material
blessing of deliverance from national danger to the spiritual blessing
of eternal life."
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.
reflecting back on what this text meant in his life, offered this
"When by the Spirit of God, I understood these
words—"The just shall live by faith"—then I felt born again like a new
man. I entered through the open doors into the very paradise of God."
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...
"The chief purpose of this letter is to magnify sin and to
destroy all human wisdom and righteousness, to bring down all those who
and arrogant on account of their works. We need to break
down our “inner self satisfaction.” God does not want to redeem us
through our own, but through external righteousness and wisdom; not
through one that comes from us and grows in us, but through one that
comes to us from the outside; not through one that originates here on
earth, but through one that comes from heaven."
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