” 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.” (Rom_1:16-17)
How are we to respond to the promises of God? His promises are not automatically at work in every life that hears them. Some respond correctly, while others respond improperly. Some enjoy the benefits of God’s promises, whereas others do not. In these two verses, we are given the fundamental response to all that pertains to the gospel of grace. That response is faith. This would certainly include living by the promises of God.
Paul was unashamed of the gospel due to its effective character. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation.” The good news about Jesus Christ is essentially the grace of God proclaimed to man: “the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Act_20:24). This grace is God’s power poured out unto the saving of souls. This power is experienced by all who place their faith in the gospel, whether Jew or Gentile: “for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” The gospel is effective, because it holds forth God’s righteousness to sinful man, if he is willing to trust in the Lord. “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.”
The gospel is referred to in the scriptures as a promise. “And this is the promise that He has promised us – – eternal life” (1Jo_2:25). The gospel is often stated in the form of promises: “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved . . . whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Act_15:11 and Rom_10:13). These gospel promises are partaken of by faith. “The just shall live by faith.”
In addition to initial salvation, the good news of God’s grace includes many other promises from God. “I will build My church . . . You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free . . . When He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (Mat_16:18; Joh_8:32; and Joh_16:13). All of these promises are experienced by faith as well, because “the just shall live by faith” – – continually, as well as initially.
O Lord God, I want to respond to Your promises properly. How gracious that You only ask me to trust in what You have promised to do. I do not want to ignore Your promises or doubt them. I want to live by relying upon every promise You have ever made. In Your faithful name I pray, Amen.