The apostle Paul declared in Romans 1:16, the keynote verse of the book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” God has provided the powerful means for our salvation. On our own, without the gospel, we are without the power and strength to save ourselves. Gospel means “good news.” The good news is this: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).
God’s word, the gospel, reveals to us the righteousness of God (Rom. 1:17). While God’s character is righteous, this is not what Romans 1:17 is referring to; indeed, the way that man can be made righteous or justified by faith is what is under consideration in the book of Romans. God’s word reveals the path to righteousness through faith. Romans 1:17 says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The axiom of Habakkuk 2:4 , “” is quoted here and at other key places in the New Testament (cf. Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38). God has revealed in His word righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:17).
This righteousness is not flawlessly keeping the law of Moses, but rather faithfully following the Lord Jesus. Paul gave up all the credentials of law-keeping under Judaism for Christ (Phil. 3:4-8). This he did, as he went on to explain, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
The gospel is called “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” in Romans 8:2; it delivers us from the law of sin and death. The oft-repeated general truth, or law, in the lives of humans is sin leads to death (James 1:15). In other words, we all sin (Rom. 3:23). Sin deserves death, but through Jesus Christ we can receive the gift of salvation (Rom. 6:23).
We have to obey the gospel, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, in order to be freed from sin and death. Many were obedient to the faith, the gospel in the book of Acts (Acts 6:7). Romans is written for obedience to the faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). This obedience involves calling on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13). This is not a prayer, but rather obedience to the gospel that results in baptism (Acts 22:16). The equivalent of “calling on the name of the Lord” in Romans 10:13 is obeying the gospel in Romans 10:16; they who “have not all obeyed the gospel” have not either heard the message of the gospel (vv. 14, 17), or believed it (v. 16) to the point of obeying. Those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel will suffer everlasting destruction (2 Thess. 1:7, 8). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Romans 6:17 and 18 say those who have been made freed from sin have obeyed from the heart the form (pattern) of teaching. Baptism is where one is united with the form (pattern) of Jesus Christ in death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-7).
The gospel is powerful. God has revealed in it the way to be saved and stand righteous in his sight through faith. Do you believe it? Have you obeyed it?