Romans: The Gospel in a Sentence (1:17)

Paul states his cen­tral theme of Romans and of the Gospel itself in Romans 1:17 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
, “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) There it is, the sim­ple truth that gets reject­ed, neglect­ed, and mod­i­fied to the point of no recog­ni­tion. Our sal­va­tion comes out of faith and noth­ing else. It isn’t by doing, say­ing, or being any­thing that pro­vides eter­nal life. It is by faith in Christ from start to fin­ish that saves us. Yet we want more! Why?!?

The sim­ple truth is too… I don’t know… easy, hard, for­eign? We (mean­ing mankind) seem to want to think that our sal­va­tion is total­ly depen­dent upon how good we are. “I am a good per­son, I will go to heav­en” is the phrase we often hear. If I get enough brown­ie points, good ol’ Saint Peter will let me in. The world’s reli­gions are all based on what we have to do to be saved. They are all based on the basic premise that we are capa­ble of sav­ing our­selves. But the Gospel is dra­mat­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent, a mes­sage that isn’t easy to hear.

The Good News starts with the bad news, we are sin­ners inca­pable of doing any­thing to make our­selves right­eous. Paul will dis­cuss this start­ing in Romans 1:18 — 3 [show]ERROR: The IP key is no longer sup­port­ed. Please use your access key, the test­ing key ‘TEST
This text is from the ESV Bible. Visit www.esv.org to learn about the ESV.
:20. This is the part none of us wants to hear. We want to think we are good at heart but real­ly, to use that famous phrase, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” God knows. There is good in us but it has been dam­aged beyond human repair.

I had a pro­fes­sor in col­lege who often talked about the Imago Dei, the Image of God, which is in us. God cre­at­ed us in His image. It is as if we we were cre­at­ed to be a mir­ror, that reflects God to oth­ers. Sin has shat­tered that mir­ror. Although we can still see God reflect­ed in some of the shards, it is a dis­tort­ed image. It doesn’t reflect the true glo­ry of God. Worse, the mir­ror shat­tered now no longer is focused on God. The frag­ments point in many dif­fer­ent ways that reflect many oth­er things that are not God and lead us astray.

We are total­ly and absolute­ly inca­pable of repair­ing our destroyed selves.

The Good News is God can! He knew that before He ever cre­at­ed us we would fall and pro­vid­ed a way to save us before the world began. He sent His Son to take upon Himself the pun­ish­ment that He would have to place on us. We sim­ply have to believe in Christ and the Imago Dei begins to be repaired. Even though it will not be com­plete­ly repaired until the res­ur­rec­tion, Christ stands in our place. Being God, Christ is the per­fect reflec­tion of God and the Father accepts us even though we have not yet been made com­plete.

As such, our right­eous­ness is the right­eous­ness of Christ. We have that right­eous­ness from start to fin­ish by faith in Christ. We have life out of our faith in Christ and our lives are a life of faith. Yes, our faith will result in good works (see James) but it is by faith and faith alone that we are saved.

In whom do you place your faith? Do you tru­ly believe you are capa­ble of sav­ing your­self or do you see that only God can? Have faith. Live in faith. Receive life out of your faith.

Tagged on: , , , ,

Leave a Reply