The Righteous One Will Live by Faith [Romans 1]

14I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. 15So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. 16For 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. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

When you hear the word salvation, what comes to mind?  For years I thought that salvation was referring only to that moment in time when I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. What I didn't know is that salvation is a general word that can refer to three different specific times in the life of a believer.

What are the three parts of salvation? The first part of salvation is referred to as "justification" (also referred to as "saved"). It is an act of God in response to my receiving the truth (by faith) that when Christ died He died in my place, taking the penalty for my sin and wrong choices on Himself.  At that moment I received total forgiveness for all my sin, past, present and future and declared me "not guilty, but righteous instead."  God is the one who justifies and it indeed is a miraculous and wonderful gift. But salvation does not end there.

The second part of salvation is what scripture refers to as "sanctification."  Once again it is God who does a work that begins when I am justified but continues throughout my lifetime.  It is "the process of being set apart, made holy."  This process is the work of God through His Spirit who begins dwelling in me when I was justified.  It also is the "righteousness of God (being) revealed from faith to faith."  By faith as I continue to acknowledge that I cannot make the right choices or do what He wants on my own and I learn to access God's power in an on-going way to reflect His character, He works sanctification or grows His righteousness in my everyday life. This is Him growing of the fruit of the Spirit in me over my lifetime.

The final part of salvation is glorification. This refers to the time when Jesus returns a second time and gives out rewards to the saints including a new glorified body. As with the other two aspects, this is God's work and I will then reveal His righteousness completely in my life.  I will be the complete image of God.  Oh, to be like Him.

As we look at Romans 1:16-17 in light of salvation having three parts, we begin to understand why the gospel is the power of God for salvation.  We need the gospel for salvation, from the beginning of our faith to the fullness of faith (when we are glorified).  And we, the righteous (He has declared us righteous), will live by faith. 

Thank You, God for giving me Your salvation.  I praise You for Your power that makes me righteous.  Thank You that You are at work making my life reflect the righteousness that You declared me to be because of Jesus.  Thank You, Jesus, for paying the huge penalty for my sin and setting me free to walk in Your righteousness.
Verna McCrillis, 7/11/2009