August 4

Romans 1:16-17 16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

The Apostle Paul lived in a world that was similar to ours. Philosophies and a variety of religious beliefs permeated the Roman world. The preaching of the cross was quite contrary to the religions man had created, but Paul was not ashamed to be different. He did not mind not fitting in, for he knew the power of God that could save anyone who would believe. We need to carry that kind of confident boldness into our world.

Since Paul would later say that God does not respect one person over another, why did the gospel go to the Jew first? Certainly, it is not first in importance. Throughout Scripture we can see that it is God's order. Even Jesus' ministry went to the Jew first. Even though God knew that they, as a nation, would reject Him, He still went to them first. It is God's desire that all receive the salvation He has provided for them, and He knows the best order to make that possible.

Verse 17 is the verse that broke through to Martin Luther and showed him that salvation was not attainable by works. To be justified with God, to be made acceptable in His eyes, can only happen through faith. No amount of good deeds and no particular ritual is effective, simply a heart that places its hope and trust in the God who made us, through the way provided by the cross. Abraham believed God. That belief was credited to him as righteousness. Everyone comes to God the same way, as Martin Luther later summed up, "By grace alone; through faith alone."

To live by faith includes more than a one-time comprehension of God's sufficiency. It is a daily reliance on His all-sufficiency. It is a daily dependence on His power, provision, and His life to be what He calls each of us to be.

Consider: Are you living by faith today? Are you trusting more in the unseen than in what you can see?