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
Such a powerful statement Paul makes in the opening chapter of the letter to the Romans! The gospel — the good news that we can be saved because Christ died for our sins and was raised on the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-4) — is powerful for salvation IF we will believe it.
But is belief all there is? It depends on what you think the definition of belief is. If you’re talking about a belief that just acknowledges the gospel is true yet doesn’t go beyond that acknowledgement in living it out, then you can quickly see that that won’t work because Paul says in the very next sentence, “The righteous man shall live by faith.”
However, if you’re talking about a belief that lives by faith — a true change that is now obedient from the heart to the gospel (Rom. 6:17) — then you can conclude that this type of belief includes everything that comes along with what it means to live by faith.
Just keep reading Romans 1 and you’ll see a contrast to this idea.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Romans 1:21
These people knew God yet did not honor or thank Him. They basically denied what they believed to be true so that they could live their own way and as a result, became more and more deluded and evil. This definitely doesn’t sound like the type of belief that Paul is saying will save us by the gospel.
So, what is true belief that lives by faith? I believe this is exactly what the book of Romans is about, and I hope to share more blog posts on this subject as I read through this book in the coming days. Stay tuned.