“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16-17).
Paul’s evangelistic fervor was fueled by his sense of obligation (Romans 1:14), his preparation for the work of preaching (Romans 1:15; Galatians 1:15), and his fearlessness which was spawned by the gospel’s incredible power.
In these verses Paul identifies six characteristics which contribute to the gospel’s unique, incredible power. In addition to its Exclusiveness, Divine Origin, and Purpose (see last three posts), its Conditionality makes its powerful.
Since God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11), the gospel has a single condition—faith. This exquisite blend of conviction, trust, and joyful obedience has been the divine requirement of humanity since the Garden of Eden. “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4) is a timeless principle (see Hebrews 2:11).
It was faith—not works of merit, circumcision, or the Law of Moses—which justified father Abraham (Romans 4). The blessedness of righteousness—a right and dynamic relationship with God—is only imputed to those who live by their faith in God.
This unique feature of the gospel is magnified by the glorious truth that the word of God which contains this message is the same word of God which can spawn faith in an honest and good heart. The gospel which tells of God’s salvation is the same gospel which requires calling on the name of the Lord to be saved and is the same gospel which generates the faith which comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:13-17).
The condition for salvation by the gospel is not ethnic, economic, social, or gender specific. It is faith-specific: “the just shall live by faith”. No condition is so universally possible and equally accessible as the gospel’s requirement of faith!