First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers, making request if, by some means, now at last I may find a way in the will of God to come to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now), that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles. I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise. So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” – Romans 1:8-17
Many Christians are aware of the importance of reading their Bible, just like many do-it-yourselfers are aware of the importance of following a blueprint, many cooks are aware of the importance of following the recipe, and many techno-geeks are aware of the importance of reading the user’s manual. What all of these people have in common is that the vast majority of them don’t do it. Sure there are lots of good excuses, and if you work hard enough you can come up with an end result that is adequate. The construction job will be strong enough, the food will taste good enough, and the computer will operate well enough. But what about your faith? Are you a “good enough” type of Christian? Are you satisfied with knowledge of saving grace but too proud, too cool, too busy or too afraid to live life in the fullness of the righteousness of God? Are you comfortable because you know enough about God’s grace to get yourself in the door with little more to offer than that?
Why stop there?
Nobody would choose to sleep outside in the cold and rain when offered a warm bed inside. Nobody would choose to be alone and go hungry when they are invited by friends to a meal. Nobody would thank their boss for the gesture but refuse to take that paycheck out of guilt. When people choose to provide us with good gifts, we receive them gladly and we use them to the fullest. Why then would we choose to take what is without question the greatest gift we have been given and leave it sitting on the side, denying ourselves access to the greatest joy, comfort, and peace that we can possibly imagine?
In verse 17, Paul is clear when it comes to describing the benefits we receive from God through the gospel. A righteousness from God is revealed. There is no other place where this can be found, no other way to get it. It is stored up for us in the Word and is revealed to us by God through the Word. God is giving us a gift of great value, and He is telling us the exactly where we can find it. Once that righteousness is revealed to us, we are able to live our lives in His abundant righteousness as He has provided it for us. Not a bad deal really – that is if we do our part and get into His Word.