The Power of God Unto Salvation (Part 1)

          THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION (Romans 1:16-17)

 

Power:  "The ABILITY to do or effect something or anything, or to act upon a person or thing."

 

I.          The word "gospel" means good tidings.  ISA 61:1 c/w LUK 4:18.

 

II.        The common explanation of ROM 1:16 is that the good tidings itself is the power             of God unto salvation.  The gospel itself is deemed to have the ability to effect the         salvation of a sinner from death in trespasses and sins.

            A.        Note that the verse does not say that the gospel is the power of God unto                                       salvation to all fallen sinners, but only to believers. 

                        1.         This would imply that it is of no value at all to an unbeliever.

                        2.         If therefore the gospel is of no value to an unbeliever, then what is the                                            point of sharing the gospel with unbelievers?

            B.        In reality, according to this system, the power unto salvation does not lie in                                    the gospel, but in the dead, fallen sinner, if only he would believe.

 

III.       The sinner does not possess the power of God unto salvation.  All men are by

            nature under sin.  ROM 3:9-12, 23. 

            A.        Mind the expressions "none," "no, not one" in ROM 3.  These are very                                            inclusive expressions. 

            B.        The following verses show the sinner's inability, his powerlessness to save                          himself from his sinful condition:

                        1.         JOB 14:4.  "Can" means "to be able; to have the power, ability, or                                                   capacity."  No one has the power to bring a clean thing out of unclean.

                        2.         JER 13:23.  Those accustomed to do evil CANNOT do good anymore

                                    than an Ethiopian can change his skin or a leopard his spots.

                        3.         ROM 8:6-8.  The sinner CANNOT be subject to the law of God; he

                                    CANNOT (has no power or ability to) please God.

                        4.         JOH 8:43.  The sinner CANNOT hear God's words with                                                                 understanding.

                        5.         1CO 2:14.  The natural man CANNOT know the things of the Spirit of                                          God.  These things are spiritually discerned and he lacks the spiritual                                              capacity (see def. of "can") to discern them.

                        6.         PSA 49:7-8.  Sinners are POWERLESS to redeem their brother by any                                          means.

                        7.         The sinner's condition is described as being WITHOUT STRENGTH                                             (ROM 5:6).  He is so powerless that his sinful condition is described                                              as being dead.  EPH 2:1.

IV.       The law does not possess the power of God unto salvation.  ROM 8:3.

            A.        "Could" is the past tense of "can."  The law does not possess the ability to                                      effect salvation.

B.        The law is "weak through the flesh."  The problem with the law lies not with the law itself but with the weakness and faultiness of the people to whom it is given.

                        1.         ROM 7:12-13.  The law is good.  The problem lies with the sinner.

                        2.         HEB 8:7-9.  The fault of the law was with the people.

                                    a.         The old covenant was a "do and live" proposition.  ROM 10:5.

                                    b.         But, the new covenant would NOT be according to this!

                                    c.         How many people are still advocating an old covenant system                                                         and calling it the new covenant of grace?

            C.        The sinner is not able to meet the requirements of the law in order to live.                                       ather than justifying a sinner, the law only reveals his utter sinfulness.                                 ROM 3:20; 7:8-9.

            D.        The following verses show what the law could not do:

                        1.         ROM 3:20.  The law could not justify.

                        2.         GAL 3:18.  The law could not produce an inheritance.

                        3.         GAL 3:21.  The law could not give life.

                        4.         HEB 7:19.  The law could not make perfect.

                        5.         HEB 10:11.  The law could not take away sins.  The sacrifices                                                         mentioned in this verse were "offered by the law" according to v.8.

            E.         There are those who teach that salvation is not by keeping the law, but by                                       believing the gospel.  But, what saith the Scripture?

                        1.         The law requires faith.  MAT 23:23.

                        2.         God judged Israel under the law for not having faith.  DEU 32:20.

                        3.         Furthermore, God judged Israel for not believing the gospel!

                                    ROM 10:15-16; HEB 3:18-4:2.

                        4.         The gospel was set forth in the O.T.

                                    a.         The gospel was preached unto Abraham.  GAL 3:8.

                                    b.         The gospel was promised by the prophets in the O.T. scriptures.

                                                ROM 1:1-2.

                                    c.         The very righteousness which the gospel reveals (ROM 1:17)                                                          was witnessed by the law and the prophets.  ROM 3:21.

                                    d.         Jesus Christ is the "horn of salvation" (LUK 1:67-75). 

                                                (1)        Observe the definition of "horn" as it used in this context.

                                                (2)        Horn:  "An emblem of POWER and MIGHT; a means of                                                                 defence or resistance; hence 'horn of salvation' is used of                                                                 God or Christ."

                                                (3)        This sets forth Jesus Christ as being the power or might of

                                                            salvation and this is the very message of the gospel!  Mind

                                                            that this raising up of the horn of salvation was spoken by                                                                the of the holy prophets.

                                                (4)        The O.T. prophets spoke of the salvation that is now                                                                        reported in the gospel.  1PE 1:10-12.

                                                (5)        The gospel which Paul preached was none other than what                                                              Moses and the prophets said should come. ACT 26:22-23.

                                                (6)        Therefore, believing the law and the prophets of necessity

                                                            included believing the gospel FOR THEY SPOKE OF                                                                    THE GOSPEL.  And this is exactly why the Jews did not                                                               believe on Jesus:  they did not believe the O.T. scriptures.                                                    JOH 5:46-47; LUK 16:31.

            F.         Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is a work.  JOH 6:28-29.

                        1.         Mere faith without works is dead.  JAM 2:26.

                        2.         Such a faith is powerless, for death is the ultimate of inability and                                                   powerlessness.

                        3.         Such a faith amounts to no more than the faith of devils.  JAM 2:19.

            G.        Conclusion:  When a man teaches that one must believe the gospel in order to                                be eternally saved, he is teaching salvation by law works because faith in the                           gospel is required by the law. 

                        1.         This is not grace; it is a frustration of grace!  GAL 2:21. 

                        2.         This is a "do and live" proposition which is straight LAW as before                                                 proven.

                        3.         Remember that the new covenant is rather "live and do."  If so much as                                          one legal condition is imposed on the sinner in order to get life, then                                               all the legal conditions must be imposed.  GAL 5:2-3.

            H.        ROM 4:4-5 contrasts believing with working:  "to him that worketh not, but                                  believeth..." 

                        1.         It is obvious from JAM 2, however, that believers ought to work.                                                   Hence, ROM 4:4-5 is dealing with a certain KIND of believing. 

                        2.         In context, Paul is dealing with the fact that one is not justified by                                                  works. 

                        3.         Rather than working to produce our justification, we believe that God                                            has done this for us. 

                        4.         Paul is setting forth a faith that does not rely on anything that the                                                   sinner does, including believing, in order to procure justification.  This                                             faith rather sees justification as entirely the act of God! 

                        5.         Paul is lashing out against the kind of working that is done in order to                                             become justified.  If one advocates that one must believe in order to                                               become justified, he is advocating the very thing that Paul is opposing:                                            justification by works.  And remember, faith is a work according to                                      JOH 6:28-29; 1TH 1:3; HEB 4:3, 10.

 

V.        MAT 19:16-26.  The salvation of sinners by keeping the law is an impossibility.     The power of God unto salvation is not in sinners, and it is not with the law.  The power rests with God Himself with Whom nothing is impossible.

 

VI.       Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation. 

            A.        The following passages clearly show that Christ is the power of God unto                                      salvation:

                        1.         1CO 1:23-24.  Christ is the power of God.

                        2.         JOH 17:2.  All power was given to the Son of God to give eternal life                                            to as many as God had given him.

                        3.         MAT 28:18.  ALL power is given unto Jesus Christ.

                        4.         ISA 63:1 c/w REV 19:11-16.  Jesus Christ is mighty to save.

                        5.         ISA 63:5.  Christ's own arm brought salvation.  There was none to

                                    help.  HE saved by Himself.  ROM 5:19; HEB 1:3.

                        6.         PSA 89:19. Jesus Christ is the mighty One upon whom help is laid.

                        7.         HEB 7:25.  "...HE (Christ) is able (has the power) also to save them to                                           the uttermost that come unto God by him..."

                        8.         JOH 10:18 c/w 1PE 1:3; 3:21.  Jesus Christ had power to arise from                                              the grave to save us.  No one else could do this.  ECC 8:8.

            B.        The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the message of the gospel. 

                        1CO 15:1-4.

                        1.         The death and resurrection of Christ is the means of our salvation.

                                    ROM 4:25; 1CO 15:17.

                        2.         Thus it is that the gospel sets forth the power of God unto salvation.                                   3.            This was foretold by the prophets through whom God promised the                                                gospel.  ROM 1:1-2; LUK 24:25-27.

            C.        Jesus Christ does what the law cannot do.

                        1.         He justifies.  ROM 5:9.

                        2.         He secures our inheritance.  HEB 9:15.

                        3.         He gives life.  JOH 10:27-28; 17:2; 1JO 5:11-12.

                        4.         He makes perfect.  HEB 10:14.

                        5.         He takes away sin.  HEB 1:3.

            D.        In heaven, salvation is ascribed to God and to the Lamb.  REV 7:10.

            E.         Consequently, ROM 1:16 is telling us that there is good news. 

                        1.         The good news is the power of God unto salvation. 

                        2.         The good news is not the power itself.  It is rather the proclamation of                                            the power. 

                        3.         The power is Jesus Christ.

 

VII.     Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. 

            ROM 1:16 c/w EPH 1:19-20.

            A.        If a person believes, the mighty power of God IS toward him.  That mighty                                   power is the same power that raised Christ from the dead, which is the                                           quickening power of the Holy Spirit.  1PE 3:18 c/w ROM 8:11.

            B.        One believes as a result of the working of the power of God in quickening                                                 him from death unto life.  JOH 5:24.

 

VIII.    The gospel was first directed to the Jews, then to the Gentiles. 

            ROM 1:16 c/w LUK 24:47; ACT 13:45-46.

            A.        Remember, this gospel was promised in the prophets.  ROM 1:1-2.

                        1.         Therefore, the Gentiles are recipients of the good tidings promised in                                              the prophets to the Israelite fathers.  ACT 13:32-39.

                        2.         This directly contradicts the following comment made on ROM 11:1

                                    in the Scofield Reference Bible:  "That the Christian now inherits the                                              distinctive Jewish promises is not taught in Scripture." 

                        3.         Compare Scofield with EPH 2:12-14; 3:5-6.

            B.        Mind how Paul preached the same message to Jews and Gentiles.  THE                                          gospel (singular) is to both!

                        1.         ACT 13:42.  "...the Gentiles besought that THESE WORDS (the same

                                    words as preached to the Jews) might be preached to them the next                                                sabbath."  Paul accommodated them as the rest of the chapter reveals.

                        2.         ACT 20:21; 26:20.  Paul made the same appeal to Jews & Gentiles.

                        3.         ACT 28:17, 22-31.  Mind how Paul preached exactly the same                                                       message to the Gentiles (vs.29-31) that he had preached to the

                                    Jews (v.23).

 

IX.       The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel "from faith to faith"

            (ROM 1:17).  Compare this with ROM 3:20-22.

            A.        The faith of Jesus Christ produces the righteousness of God. 

            B.        If a sinner believes, this righteousness is unto and UPON him.  The                                                 righteousness of God is manifested or revealed UPON the believer as well as                                 unto the believer.

            C.        Therefore, the righteousness of God is revealed from the faith of Christ                                          which produced it to the faith of the sinner who has it and displays it when he                               believes.  The sinner's faith, like Abraham's, is "counted for righteousness"                             (ROM 4:5).

            D.        Consider, "The JUST shall live by faith" (ROM 1:17).

                        1.         Just:  "Righteous in the sight of God; justified."

                        2.         If a man is living by faith, he is righteous.  He has that righteousness of                                          God which the gospel reveals. 

                                    a.         Being a believer, he IS justified (ACT 13:39) and has                                                                      experienced the power of God unto salvation. 

                                    b.         Faith is thus an evidence that one is righteous. 

                                                ROM 4:5; HEB 11:4.

                        3.         The man described in this text does not live by faith in order to be just.                                           He lives by faith because he is just. 

                                    a.         Hence, all the demands of the law for righteousness are

                                                fulfilled for him.  ROM 10:4.

                                    b.         Being justified by Christ, there is no need to be justified by

                                                the works of the law.  GAL 3:11-12.

                                    c.         This is why such living by faith stands in contrast to law works.

            E.         Consider, "The just shall live by faith" (ROM 1:17).

                        1.         Living by faith is living by the word of God.  ROM 10:16-17.

                        2.         True faith is an act of obedience that leads to further obedience.                                          ROM 16:25-26; GAL 5:6; JAM 2:26.

                        3.         Gospel faith leads to obedience in baptism. 

                                    ACT 8:12; 18:8; 16:30-34; LUK 7:29-30.

                        4.         Obedience in baptism results in church membership.  ACT 2:38-42.

                        5.         Heed the gospel appeal.   ACT 13:38-41.

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