Rom. 1:16-17 ¶ 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.”
Luther said that he had an evil monk living inside of him. He actually believed that all of us have an evil monk inside of us. Today, we have progressed, we now have a celebrity preacher living in all of us. Most don’t want to admit it, but all of us have a bent toward religion and being different from everyone else; thus the celebrity preacher is born. All of this changed for Luther the day he was born again and it can also change for each one of us. Not only did that Augustinian monk meet Christ for himself, the protestant reformation was birthed. Luther had been laboring over the phrase “the righteousness of God”. While he was meditating on today’s scripture verse he suddenly saw it. The just shall live by faith. Check out Luther’s own words, he is funny but very powerful.
“Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience. I could not believe that he was placated by my satisfaction. I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, “As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the decalogue, with-out having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with his righteous wrath!” Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience. Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted. At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, “In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, ‘He who through faith is righteous shall live.’” There I began to understand [that] the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning: the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which [the] merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, “He who through faith is righteous shall live.” Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.”
We actually live or come alive by faith in the work of Christ on the cross. What a liberating message. It is not based on my performance but on the work of Christ. By faith I am viewed as righteous before God and by faith, His life enters into me. We are declared just and made alive by the sudden act of the Spirit in our lives. What a powerful gospel!!!