“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” (Romans 1:16).
The power of the gospel is an absolutely incredible power. And who does it belong to? “Everyone who believes.” There is only one requirement to receive and enjoy and experience the power of the gospel; believe in the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
According to this verse, the power of the gospel is for our salvation. Now we often think of “salvation” as that initial rescue when we placed our faith in Jesus. But starting from day one of our belief in Jesus, the power of the gospel is also an ongoing power, a lifelong power that “saves” us in all kinds of ways.
As an administrator for the Freedom in Christ Movement Facebook group, I read stories almost every day of folks set free by the power of the gospel. The gospel of grace sets people free from shame, from condemnation, from addictions, from fear and worry, from pride, from the performance trap, from rule-keeping for God’s approval, from feelings of inferiority, from selfish ambition, and many other chains. These stories of lives set free are so encouraging to hear. They truly testify to the power of the gospel for salvation.
But traveling alongside these beautiful testimonies are folks who believe in Jesus but still feel trapped by one or more of these snares. Our experience of God’s freedom is not always instant or automatic. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes we need to mature and grow in grace. Sometimes the pain or trauma of our past puts us in a tailspin. The power of the gospel does not always work in ways we would like to see happen. Sometimes the circumstances of life outside of our control bring us setbacks, pain, and disappointment that we can’t seem to repair.
These setbacks do not nullify the promise of the power of the gospel. But there are times when we find ourselves waiting for the fulfillment of the promise. And it is in those times that the promise of hope is so important. Remember our verse from last time, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). God is the God of hope. Never give up on yourself or others in your circle still caught by a besetting sin or struggle. Keep believing!
The power of the gospel and the power of hope work together to strengthen our faith. And these powers are yours. They belong to you; already given by the matchless grace of God to “everyone who believes.”