Romans 1:16-17

The Just Live by Faith

16 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. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

Then Paul states something which seems simple to us today, but in context was very telling of his nature and his conviction to the gospel. When he states that he is “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ” he is speaking to people who were just starting to see the persecution against Christianity push outside of Judea. Paul himself, if you remember, was widly known by his birth name of Saul (Acts 8:1;9:1;13:9) before his conversion in AD 33 or 34 (Acts 9:3-22;22:4-19;26:9-15; 1 Corinthians 9:1;15:8; Galatians 1:13-24) and was feared by every Christian in Judea for his punishments against “the Way” as they called it (Acts 7:58;8:1,3;9:1;22:4). He even stood by and watched over the the coats of those who stoned Steven (the first martyr) to death (Acts 7:54-60). Persecution is something that Paul suffered many times, once even being beaten nearly to death – at least into a coma 2 Corinthians 11:23-28) before being martyred himself during Nero’s reign (AD 54-68). It is in that context that he says that he is not ashamed of the gospel – why? Because it is the power of God unto salvation upon everyone who believes. It was first presented to the Jews and now to the Greeks (or gentiles as a whole). Through the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed (lit. shown) to us “from faith to faith” which means simply in each individual person individually. One person cannot purchase faith for another person through special prayers, works, money, or any other method. Then we receive another command from Paul for those who are unaware, that the just (those who have been justified through God’s works alone) shall live by faith. This is a direct quote from Habakkuk 2:4 and all it means is that we should live our lives according to the faith that God has provided for us. I like how John MacArthur puts it in his study bible, “The expression emphasizes that true faith is not a single event, but a way of life – it endures. That endurance is called the perseverance of the saints (Colossians 1:22-23; Hebrews 3:12-14).”