16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes:first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealedl—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Read it and weep! Don’t weep for sorrow. Weep for joy. This is the gospel-good news. It’s good news for the Jew and its good news for the Gentile. It’s good news for everyone who had tried to live right on their own only to realize how miserably short we all fall.
This is the text that changed the world. This text is why I am a Protestant and not Catholic. This text is the key to understanding the book of Romans and its the theology of the New Testament in a sound bite.
Before this text changed the world, it changed a man who changed the world. That man of course was Martin Luther the founder of the Protestant Reformation. Ray Pritchard reflects on what this text meant to Luther: “Martin Luther, reflecting back on what this text meant in his life, offered this testimony: When by the Spirit of God, I understood these words—”The just shall live by faith”—then I felt born again like a new man. I entered through the open doors into the very paradise of God. When Martin Luther found this text—or more accurately—when this text found him, it turned his life upside down. No longer was he willing to remain a simple monk at the monastery in Erfurt. Once the blazing truth of justification by faith set a fire burning in his soul, he set himself to igniting a fire that eventually spread throughout Europe and eventually to the ends of the earth.”
It was through the study of this passage in my Romans class with Dr. Alan Johnson that my theology was forever changed. No longer could I look at my denomination as the True Church. This good news that salvation is by faith alone is for EVERYONE! Read this passage. Meditate on it. Memorize it. Embrace it for yourself. In a society where it’s becoming increasingly unpopular and unsophisticated to be a Christ follower, I say with Paul, “we are not ashamed of the gospel.”