“The Just Shall Live By Faith” Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16-17 -- By: Robert P. Martin

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 03:2 (Fall 2006)
Article: “The Just Shall Live By Faith” Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16-17
Author: Robert P. Martin

“The Just Shall Live By Faith”
Habakkuk 2:4 in Romans 1:16-17

Robert P. Martin

Dr. Robert P. Martin is Pastor of Emmanuel Reformed Baptist Church, Seattle, WA, and Editor of Reformed Baptist Theological Review.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith.

In no small degree, Paul’s eagerness to preach the gospel at Rome is rooted in his attitude towards the gospel. When he declares, “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” he is saying that he has complete confidence in the gospel, i.e., “I believe in its ability to accomplish the great purpose for which it is preached, which is to save sinners.” In its assessment of religion, the world is impressed by human virtue and disdains any creed in which men are said to be helpless to save themselves. If a religion is permeated with flatteries of man’s goodness, wisdom, and strength, the men of the world will run to it and profess it with eagerness and pride; but they see nothing attractive in a religion that insists on man’s total spiritual inability and depravity. And yet, it is just such a religion of which Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” How can he have such an attitude? Judged by the criteria of his contemporaries, the gospel is weak and foolish. Why then does Paul not join the world in disdaining it? The answer is that he knows something about the gospel that the world does not see. In the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians, he expands the point in great detail, saying that contrary to the assessment of the worldly wise, “the word of the cross. .. is the power of God” (1:18). For this reason, he says, his message is “Jesus Christ, and him crucified,” so that men’s “faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (2:1–5). Far from being ashamed of the gospel because it does not suit the wisdom of the world, Paul is confident that, God’s adding his blessing to its proclamation, his good pleasure is to save them that believe its testimony. In Romans 1, Paul echoes these same principles, expressing the reason for his confidence in these terms: “for (truly as the case stands)1 the gospel is divinely powerful unto salvation.”

In a word, Paul is confident in the operative principle of the gospel, which he identifies as “the power of God.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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