8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world. 9For God, whom I serve with my spirit by announcing the gospel of his Son, is my witness that without ceasing I remember you always in my prayers, 10asking that by God's will I may somehow at last succeed in coming to you. 11For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you — 12or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as I have among the rest of the Gentiles. 14I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish 15— hence my eagerness to proclaim the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed through faith for faith; as it is written, "The one who is righteous will live by faith."
Most all of us have had the experience at one time or another of having an appliance or electrical gadget that we just could not get to work. We tinker with it. We mess with it. We may even take it completely apart as we try to discover why it won’t work. And, then we figure it out! It wasn’t plugged in! Without being plugged in to their power source, electrical appliances and gadgets simply will not work.
In today’s reading from Romans, St. Paul is clear. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the power source for our salvation. The good news of what God has done for us in Christ is what saves us. Nothing more and nothing less. Not our good works. Not our own effort. Not even our own faith saves us. Faith simply receives the gift that is ours through the gospel. To think that we can somehow save ourselves apart from the gospel of Christ at work in our lives is as foolish as thinking we can get an electric vacuum cleaner to run without plugging it in!
So often times in our lives of faith, we forget this central truth. Salvation comes from outside of ourselves and not from inside of ourselves. Salvation is given to us by God through Christ. It is a gift. We receive this gift of God’s salvation every time we read God’s Word, every time we return the waters of our baptism through confession and forgiveness, every time we feast at God’s table of Holy Communion. Through God’s Word and through God’s Sacrament, the gospel gets inside of us and goes to work, creating in us the gift of faith that receives the gift of God’s salvation and makes it our own. Even faith is not something that we do by ourselves. Faith is created in us by the gospel at work in our lives.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel,” declares Christ. “It is the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). Thanks be to God for this indescribable gift!
Living God, work your gospel in me to create in me the gift of faith that I might know your salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Written by Pastor Greg Busboom