Saturday, December 01, 2007

Paul’s Theology 101, part 2

The entire good news from God is encapsulated in the short phrases of Romans 1:16 & 17. This is the thesis statement for the doctrinal treatise that follows. It is a premise well memorized.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (KJV)

I memorized these verses as a child, but I don’t think I really understood them until I started trying to paraphrase them, keeping in mind that many have called them the thesis statement for the book.

Here’s my current paraphrase.

I have complete confidence to preach and live in the good news of Christ because it’s anchored in the unchanging attributes of God. First, God has the power to rescue everyone. Second, God does rescue anyone who puts faith in Him regardless of their background. The faith of a Jew, the faith of a gentile, either way, it’s faith that God honors. As it says in Habakkuk 3:4, “the ones that live rightly with God have been rescued because of their faith."

The King James phrase “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” does not imply a primacy of the Jews, it simply means “The Jews learned it first, but it’s now available to everyone.” The phrase “revealed from faith to faith” is reinforcing the thought that God is generous and equitable in His offer to rescue everyone. Faith is treated like faith no matter who has it. God not only has the power to rescue all, but also the fairness to rescue all based on faith, rather than heritage.

God has the power to save. (God is great.)

God will save all those who believe, regardless of their history. (God is good.)

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

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