Martin Luther, Boasting, Living By Faith, LeCrae → #3, Commentary on Romans 1:16–17
To learn how and why I am writing this small commentary on Romans, see this former post. Now for Romans 1:16–17:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
v. 16: The verse LeCrae (love) has made famous again in the Christian world, ‘unashamed’ of the gospel. But before LeCare and about 500 years ago a Catholic monk read these words and was astounded. He read them in Latin and was floored that gospel and only the gospel, not the church, not ritual, not our obedience, not our family, not our money, not our country or anything else is the power of God for salvation. ‘the gospel… is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes’ this fact rocked Martin Luther the monk and set him on the trajectory of faith that would lead to the Protestant Reformation sending reforms to Christianity across Europe most notably the development of Christianity apart from the Catholic church, the Bible being translated into the vernacular or common language of Europeans, and a declaration that we are ‘saved by grace through faith alone.’
Today, I had the pleasure and joy of a young man in our community group declaring that after 8 months of enjoying our church, community, and investigating the gospel, the gospel has moved in power to save him. God’s loving pursuit of him is evident and his transformation to be more and more like Christ is well under way. This is the gospel to be unashamed of and there’s a holy edge to this. Some seem haughty shouting this verse challenging others to declare with more fierceness, get in people’s faces, shout it, show them your un-ashamedness! But I read this as holy admission to declare with confidence (typically not shouting) that God saved and is saving me a sinner, and he would love to do the same for you. Grounds for boasting are only in God’s power, love, and truth and not in my ability or even right-ness theologically. We are to honor everyone (1st Peter 2:17) and be kind (2nd Timothy 2:24). One person coming to faith genuinely beside you is like kerosene on your own soul. It’s the Christianity with power.
“to the Jew first and also to the Greek” God was faithful to his promises. The gospel came first to and through the Jewish people and the Greek here is a way of saying everyone else. There’s a wonder in being the ‘everyone else’ what a precious treasure God has brought through the Jews to ‘Greeks’ of the whole world. God used his relationship, faithfulness, and story with one nation, Israel/Jews, to teach the whole world about what God is like and the coming Savior of Christ.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
v. 17: We are right to tell others about the gospel and urge them to repent and believe it. Our offer must start with God, the righteous. God’s righteous shows our unrighteousness and need for a righteous Savior. To be a Christian is simply to live be faith in God by the power of the gospel. What to do in any given situation? Live by faith in and before a righteous God.