1:16: "I am proud of the Good News, because it is the power God uses to save everyone who believes…" - Paul is proud and unashamed to preach the Gospel because it is the power of God released upon His people in order that they can and will experience salvation.
17: "The Good News shows how God makes people right in Himself - that it begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, 'But those who are right with God will live by trusting in Him.'" - Noah and other examples of righteous people in the Bible became so through a simple trust in God.
3:22b-24a: "This is true for all who believe in Christ, because all people are the same: 23All have sinned and are not good enough for God's glory, 24and all need to be made right with God by His grace…" - No one is free from the clutches of sin and no one can lift themselves from the pit of death and destruction. Only through the grace of God are such things possible.
26: "And God gave Jesus to show today that He does what is right. God did this so He could judge rightly and so He could make right any person who has faith in Jesus." - Paul had just painted a dark and hopeless picture of humanity's failed attempts at living righteously within the Law of God. Now, the Good News…
28: "A person is made right with God through faith, not through obeying the law." - "All sin is rooted in unbelief. All righteousness is rooted in belief. Believe God for all His promises and He will count it unto you as righteousness."1
Points to Contemplate:
Are you proud of your belief in Christ?
Are you unashamed? Are you able to talk about your faith to all people in all circumstances? What stops you? Are you nervous? Uncertain? Do you realize that God's power exists within His promise of salvation? Do you understand that your faith in Jesus effectively releases this power into your life? With that knowledge in your heart, that possibly could hold you back from sharing this Good News with everyone you meet?
Do you trust God? Do you trust His ability to make you right with Him? Can you give up control of your life in order to be realigned to His will? Does everything in your relationship with God "begin and end with faith?" Or do you still attempt to limit His influence and control His impact? When you fail and find yourself far from the path that God would have you follow, do you find that your lack if faith is to blame? What steps can you take today to trust God more fully in every aspect of your life?
Are you still trying to obey God's law? Do you think if you are a good person you will earn God's love? How good do you have to be? On the other hand, does the Gospel seem to indicate that living by God's laws is no longer necessary? Does your faith in Christ exempt you from having to live righteously or does it condemn you if you don't? Do you see that in either case, salvation is not about your efforts at all? Do you see that you, personally, cannot affect the outcome of how you will live your life - that it is only through your faith and trust in God that the end result of your life will be more righteous in God's eyes? Promises of the Gospel:
When we studied the story of Noah and the flood we came away with an understanding of the adverse affect sin has on our relationship with God. Sin can be a depressing topic because of the unlikelihood that we will be able to become, through our own efforts, the type of righteous person that God desires us to be. That is why the message of Christ is referred to as the Gospel or the Good News - our eternal failings are reversed in Christ. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation but on the other hand, our failings and shortcomings will not keep us separated from the love of God. This is good news! Yes, God is deeply saddened by our sin and would prefer it if we would live holy and righteous lives. However, He also knows that we are incapable of doing this on our own. Because of our weaknesses He has provided a mechanism to holiness that will insure our salvation. This mechanism is called Faith. Only in our belief, faith, and trust in Christ will our sinful lives be transformed into holy lives - lives aligned with God's will and immersed in His love.