“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, But the righteous man shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
This can be called the thesis statement or main theme of Romans, if not the entirety of our Christian faith! This passage is the nuts and bolts of where life meets faith, where in one sentence Paul sums up his Epistle and his life. Paul lived his life not in theory but in fact, that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and shows the only way to justification! Paul was totally surrendered and poured out to God with gratitude and indebtedness that infused and permeated all that he was and did. As our faith and trust in Yeshua must also infuse us so all that we do too is a reflection of Yeshua working in us! If not, all we have is a religion and a philosophy and not righteousness and impacting faith.
This is the “Christian Manifesto”; this is the clear statement of God’s good news. The main theme of Romans is commitment to Yeshua by Faith referred to as the “propositio” meaning the theses statement. This is where Paul begins his argument on how we are to live as Christians. Being not ashamed of who we are in Yeshua, living out our faith with passion and conviction. Power refers to the life changing power of the Word of God, the Gospel and the Spirit to totally transform us as He did with Paul. Only this power can remove our stubborn nature that bonds us to sin that refuses His grace. We cannot receive His grace without the Power to intervene and remove our bond of sin. (Rom. 5:6; 8:5-9).
Believing refers to our salvation, we do not earn it by any means or merit, we only receive it by our faith. The Jew first refers to the history of redemption as the missionaries to the world, they had to get it first to spread it abroad (Gen. 12:1-3; Mark 7:24-30; John 4:22; Rom. 2:9). This was Paul’s pattern in spreading the Gospel too as he went to the Jews first, then the rest (Acts 9:20; 13:5; 14; 14:1; 17:1; 18:4; 19; 26; 19:8; Rom. 3:11-12; 9:4-5).
This is the Great News, the Gospel that is given to all who are willing to receive it by faith, both Jew and Gentile!
We are not to be embarrassed of who we are as Christians, nor should we fear to share our faith! We must live by faith because it is the smart thing to do (1 Cor. 1:22-30)! Faith is based on knowledge given by God. Faith is not just simple trust; faith is not blind trust either, because we know the One who is leading! Our faith is based on historical evidence, logical reasoning and valid testimonies.
Every aspect of faith is built belief without tangible, physical proof and nothing else, this is the corner stone of the gospel (Habk. 2:4). This means we are to trust God, in His promises and provision. In Habakkuk those who survive the Judgment do so because of their faith in God. Faith in the OT was to pledge your life on the assertions that God gives (Jos. 24:15).
1. When you here the word ‘Manifesto,’ (guiding principle) what comes to your mind? Remember the ‘Uni-bomber’ used this term to describe his hatred for technology in the 80’s and 90’s.
2. Do you have a ‘main theme’ for your life? Such as a saying or slogan, or perhaps a philosophy?
3. Being not ashamed of who we are in Yeshua is the key to the necessary courage that is needed to share your faith, do you agree?
4. How much courage do you need to be able to talk to a stranger about the faith?
5. What about a family member?
6. How does the Holy Spirit come into play with your courage?
7. What embarrasses you about the Christian faith?
8. Have you ever been embarrassed for being a Christian? Or put into an embarrassing situation by Christian friends?
9. What are your fears regarding the sharing of your faith?
10. As Christians we must ‘live by faith,’ what does that mean to you?
11. Faith is based on the knowledge given to us by God. What is that knowledge to you?
12. Would you agree or disagree with this statement, “Faith is not just simple trust; faith is not blind trust either, because we know the One who is leading!”
13. We as the ‘elect’ are free from our debt of sin, but we as ‘debtors’ are to be witnesses to the lost! Do you feel an obligation to share your faith? If so why, if not why?
14. Have you ever had to be rescued from a terrible situation? Such as a car crash? How did it feel to be rescued? Do you feel that Yeshua has rescued you? Do you have that same joy that if the ‘jaws of life’ had to be used to cut you out of a car just before it exploded?
15. Salvation ultimately means being delivered from God’s wrath. Do you see God as a God of wrath (anger)? Most people see God as pure love, so how can He be full of wrath? What is the wrath directed at?
16. Read 1 Cor. 1:22-30, what are your stumbling blocks? What is foolishness to you? How have these feelings changed as you grew in Yeshua, or have they? What do you need to do so you have a manifesto that is real biblical and effectual?
© 1998, 2001, 2003, Richard J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Discipleship Tools www.discipleshiptools.org