Power for Salvation

In the Gospel, we see the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their savior and follows Him as Lord. The following actions are vital for our understanding of the gospel and for continually living an obedient life of confident, fruitful belief: knowing what we are saved from, how believing in Christ saves us, why the Jews are “first” and how His righteousness is imparted to us. We will focus on these issues from Romans 1:16-17.


Romans:
The Glory of the Gospel Part 4
Power for Salvation – Romans 1:16-17
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Sept. 17th, 2017

 

Intro:

  • This morning, we are continuing to dive into what was being communicated through the two short verses of Romans 1:16-17. Last week, we looked at the phrase, “I am not ashamed” recognizing what the full implications of being ashamed of the gospel means and the ways in which we can have courage and strength to be “not ashamed.”  And persevering with grace, love and truth, the “shame” that may come to us from the hands of others because of our stance.  It is much better to be “shamed” than to “be ashamed.”
  • Secondly, last week we looked at what we are being saved from. Ultimately, we are being saved from the wrath of God which is being poured out against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of mankind who suppress the truth of God because of our unrighteousness. God saves us from our wretchedness and His wrath by giving to us what he demands of us: righteousness. He has done this through the sinless life of Jesus Christ who took the wrath of God for us so that we may receive God’s grace. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why we remember what God did for us when we receive communion.

 

Rom 1:16-17 ESV

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,

 

The condition of God

  • Salvation is available to everyone who believes. This is good news! Regardless of your background, social status, education level, bank account, location, language, the food you eat or even what you have or have not done, salvation is for everyone who believes. It is imparted to us by grace through faith. It is the gift of God. There is a condition: salvation is only given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. That means that those who do not believe in Christ do not receive salvation and are still under the wrath of God.  Not everyone is going to heaven. This rules out universalism and every belief system without Christ as Savior and Lord.
  • Salvation is for everyone who believes (and keeps believing – this is the verb tense). It signifies ongoing action, not just the first act of faith when you were converted: “The gospel . . . is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who is believing” – who goes on believing. Salvation is not for those who once believed and are no longer believing . . . it is for those who continue to live in a state of ongoing belief. This doctrine is called “perseverance of the saints”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 says the same thing: “I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are being saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.” Faith that does not persevere is a vain and empty faith – what James calls “dead faith” (James 2:17, 26).
  • It is also important to note that we stand with a deposit for salvation which will be fulfilled in the future.

 

2 Cor 1:21-22 NIV

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

  • Like an airline ticket
  • Conversion is the starting line, salvation is the finish line. Sanctification is the state and process we are in. Justification (what Christ did for us), sanctification (what Christ is doing in us), and glorification (what Christ will complete in us) is the process “from faith to faith” to “everyone who believes.”
  • The next thing we must ask is this: if it is for “everyone who believes” why does Paul add “to the Jew first and also to the Greek?”

 

Rom 1:16-17 ESV
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.

 

The priority of God

  • It is important for us as New Testament believers to understand how the Old Testament and the New relate to each other and how they fit together with the character and nature of God and His promises. It is also important to know how Judaism connects to Christianity so we understand our place in God’s redemptive story along with understanding the Old Testament correctly in the light of the New Testament.
  • Paul makes it clear that “salvation is for everyone who believes” he says, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (that is the non-Jews). Here are the reasons why the Jews are first before other people.
  • They are the historic chosen people of God.
    • In Genesis 12, God chooses Abraham and his descendants freely from all the peoples of the world to bless with His covenant and promise.
      • Gen 12:2-3 ESV

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (this is called the Abrahamic Covenant)

  • Nehemiah 9:7 says, “God . . . chose Abram, and brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees.” Then Deuteronomy 14:2 says about the whole Jewish people, “The LORD has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”
  • The Jews have a priority over Greeks because of their special role as God’s chosen people. He set his favor on them and set them apart from all the peoples. Not because of any virtue or special value in them, but simply on the basis of His sovereign choice:
    • Deut 7:6-8 ESV

The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers,

  • They are the guardians of God’s special revelation, the Old Testament Scriptures.
    • In Romans 3:1, Paul asks our question: “What advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?” (that is being Jewish) And he answers in verse 2, “Great in every respect. First of all, they were entrusted with the oracles of God.”
    • So, God entrusted his very words to the Jewish people given to them through Moses and the Prophets. He revealed Himself to the Jews in this way (and not to any other people) and entrusted them with the gift of His word. Romans 9:4-5 puts it this way:
    • Rom 9:4-5 ESV

They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. 5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

  • This leads us to our next reason why Jews have priority or Gentiles
  • The Messiah and Savior, Jesus, comes to the world as a Jew, to Jews.
    • In Romans 9:5, Paul wrote “To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.”
    • The Messiah, Jesus, was a Jew, a Son of David (Romans 1:3) – the Messiah was a Jew (it is funny how we make him out to be of European descent – a tall white guy. . .) Jesus also focused his earthly ministry on the Jews. In Matthew 10:5-6, Jesus said to the twelve apostles as he sent them out, “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
  • Salvation is from the Jews
    • Jesus says to the Samaritan woman at the well, “You worship what you do not know; we [Jews] worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22) Salvation comes from God though faith first revealed to the Jewish people and then given to the rest of the world. Paul makes this point in Romans 11:17-19 through an illustration of an olive tree and that we, the non-Jewish believers were grafted into them, and that their roots support us.
    • Rom 11:17-19 ESV

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.

  • Don’t think you are better than Jewish people, but recognize their special role on the earth and that you have been grafted into the promise of Abraham through Faith in Christ Jesus. They support us, we don’t support them.
  • The Jews are to be evangelized first when the gospel penetrates a new region.
    • For example, in Acts 13:46 Paul and Barnabas are preaching in Antioch, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.”
    • In the apostle’s evangelism, since salvation came from the Jews they went to the Jews first to spread the message when the gospel came to a new region of the world.
  • The Jews will enter first into final judgment and final blessing.
    • In Romans 2:9-10, Paul says, amazingly, “There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
    • In other words, the priority that the Jews have, if rejected and squandered, will result in a priority in judgment. If they are grateful for their priority and trust in the mercy of their Messiah, then they will go first into the final blessing of God.
  • The Jews have priority, but they don’t have superiority. We are saved the same way: by grace through faith. “No one is righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:9) and Rom 10:12-13 says,

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

Rom 1:16-17 ESV

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.”

 

The righteousness of God

  • Jesus is the righteousness of God – it is not the love of God that is revealed in the gospel, but the RIGHTEOUSNESS. God’s righteousness for our unrighteousness saves us from the wrath of God that will be poured out on the world.
  • There is no one like Jesus –Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NIV)
  • Our new lives start by faith and are lived through faith. “From faith for faith.”
  • The righteous shall live by faith – and in faith we now can live righteously.

 

Conclusion

  • First, recognize there is a condition for salvation: we must be in a continual state of believing in Jesus Christ and that being in Him, we will receive salvation. Start or continue in the faith – recognizing we are born from faith for faith. God is continuing to work in us to make us into the image of his Son so that He would be the first born of the family of believers.
  • Second, recognize God’s work of faith through His sovereign choice and covenant with Abraham and the Jewish people. The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament and we have been grafted into them through faith. Understand how these things fit together so you will see the consistency of God to His word and in the fulfilling of His promises. This should give you greater faith and more confidence in God.
  • Third, recognize that the righteousness of God is revealed in Jesus Christ and we also are declared righteous before God because of our faith.

 

Questions for the week ahead:

  1. What did you learn today that has impacted your thinking?
  2. How will what you have learned today impact your living?