Romans chapter 1 cont’d.

Romans 1:16

Emphasizing theme
Paul’s eagerness to evangelize sprang also from his estimate of his message, the gospel. (This is the fourth of five times Paul used the word “gospel” in these opening verses: Rom_1:1, Rom_1:9, Rom_1:15-17.) Many consider this the theme of the letter, which it is in one sense. At least Paul gladly proclaimed it as God’s panacea for mankind’s spiritual need. He identified it as the infinite resources (dynamis, “spiritual ability”) of God applied toward the goal of salvation in the life of everyone who believes regardless of racial background. He recognized, however, a priority for the Jew expressed in the word first, which has sufficient textual support here and is unquestioned in Rom_2:9-10. Not ashamed: Neither ridicule, criticism or physical persecution, could curb Paul’s boldness. He had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Berea, laughed at in Athens, regarded as a fool in Corinth, and stoned in Galatia, but Paul remained eager to preach the gospel in Rome.
Power: The English word “dynamite” comes from this Greek word. Although the message may sound foolish to some, the gospel is effective because it carries with it the omnipotence of God. Only God’s power is able to overcome man’s sinful nature and give him new life.
Salvation: Used 5 times in Romans, this key word basically means “deliverance” or “rescue”. The power of the gospel delivers people from lostness, from the wrath of God, from willful spiritual ignorance, from evil self indulgence and from the darkness of false religion. It rescues them from the ultimate penalty of their sin, i.e. the eternal separation from God and eternal punishment.
Believeth: To trust, rely on, or have faith in. When used of salvation, this word usually occurs in the present tense “is believing” which stresses that faith is not simply a onetime event, but an ongoing condition. True saving faith is supernatural, a gracious gift of God that He produces in the heart and is the only means by which a person can appropriate true righteousness.
1. Saving faith consists of 3 elements.
1. Mental: the mind understands the gospel and the truth about Christ
2. Emotional: one embraces the truthfulness of those facts with sorrow over sin and joy over God’s mercy and grace
3. Volitional: the sinner submits his will to Christ and trust in Him alone as the only hope of salvation.
Genuine faith wills always product authentic obedience.
Jew First: God chose Israel to be His witness nation and gave her distinct privileges. Christ’s ministry was first to Israel and it was through Israel that salvation was to come to the world.
Because the Jews were God’s Chosen People (Rom_11:1), the custodians of God’s revelation (Rom_3:2), and the people through whom Christ came (Rom_9:5), they have a preference of privilege expressed historically in a chronological priority. As the Lord Jesus stated it, “Salvation is from the Jews” (Joh_4:22). In Paul’s ministry he sought out the Jews first in every new city (Act_13:5, Act_13:14; Act_14:1; Act_17:2, Act_17:10, Act_17:17; Act_18:4, Act_18:19; Act_19:8). Three times he responded to their rejection of his message by turning to the Gentiles (Act_13:46; Act_18:6; Act_28:25-28; cf. comments on Eph_1:12). Today evangelism of the world must include the Jews, but the priority of the Jews has been fulfilled.
Romans 1:17

The theme of the letter is expressed in the phrase a righteousness from God is revealed. The subjective genitive (lit., “of God”) identifies this as a righteousness that God provides for people on the basis of and in response to faith in the gospel (cf. Rom_3:22). (NIV’s by faith from first to last render the Gr. ek pisteōs eis pistin, lit., “out of faith in reference to faith.”) Such righteousness is totally unachievable by human efforts. This righteousness is not God’s personal attribute; however, since it comes “from God,” it is consistent with His nature and standard. In response to faith this righteousness is imputed by God in justification and imparted progressively in regeneration and sanctification, culminating in glorification when standing and state become identical. “Righteousness” and “justify,” though seemingly unrelated in English, are related in Greek. “Righteousness” is dikaiosynē, and “justify” is dikaioō;. Paul used the noun many times in his epistles, including 28 times in Romans (Rom_1:17; Rom_3:21-22, Rom_3:25-26; Rom_4:3, Rom_4:5-6, Rom_4:9, Rom_4:11, Rom_4:13, Rom_4:22; Rom_5:17, Rom_5:21; Rom_6:13, Rom_6:16, Rom_6:18-20; Rom_8:10; Rom_9:30; Rom_10:3-6 [twice in Rom_10:3], Rom_10:10; Rom_14:17). And Paul used the Greek verb 15 times in Romans (Rom_2:13; Rom_3:4, Rom_3:20, Rom_3:24, Rom_3:26, Rom_3:28, Rom_3:30; Rom_4:2, Rom_4:5; Rom_5:1, Rom_5:9; Rom_6:7; Rom_8:30 [twice], Rom_8:33). To justify a person is to declare him forensically (legally) righteous. “Declared righteous” is the way the NIV translates dikaioō in Rom_2:13 and Rom_3:20 and “freed” is NIV’s rendering in Rom_6:7. “Righteousness of God” is better translated: “righteousness from God.” A major theme of the book, appearing over 30 times in one form or another, righteousness is the state or condition of perfectly conforming to God’s perfect law and holy character. Man falls woefully short of the divine standard of moral perfection but the gospel revels that on the basis of faith, and faith alone, God will impute His righteousness to ungodly sinners.
From faith to faith: This may be a parallel expression to “everyone who believes” as if Paul were singling out the faith of each individual believer, from one person’s faith to another’s faith to another’s and so on. Or, each person has a portion of faith, but some seem to have more than others.
To make our faith stronger, we must use it. Each time we depend on our faith it becomes stronger. This (faith to faith) above just means that trials come and we must have faith to overcome each trial; as we do, our faith grows. The just means, as we have said before, just as if we had never sinned. Faith believes in our hearts in things we cannot see with our physical eyes.
Paul’s closing words in Rom_1:17, The righteous will live by faith, are a quotation from Hab_2:4, also quoted in Gal_3:11 and Heb_10:38. As a result of faith (cf. “believes” in Rom_1:16) in Christ, a person is declared “righteous” (cf. Rom_3:22) and is given eternal life. What a marvelous work of God!