Paul’s Confession (1:16-17)
In these two verses we find one of the greatest confessions of what the Gospel is and what it is designed to do. This is not an overstatement of the Gospels intended purpose. Nor is it an exaggeration that Paul wanted the Romans to understand that the Gospel, by design, was intended to be the means through which people are regenerated and the gospel is the seed from which the germ of eternal life will emerge in the life of all who believe. It is this seed that will mature into the tree that the psalmist alludes to in the opening psalm of the psalter.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. [Psalm 1:3, ESV]
But it doesn’t end here. Even Jesus himself said,
38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. [John 1:3, ESV]
Here in lies the heart of what Paul is speaking to. The Gospel’s power breaks the dam of sin in our lives which is keeping us from having a right relationship with the Father. And it releases unto us the power of God to make us his children and the Gospel gives us the right to claim for ourselves the righteousness that rightfully belongs to Jesus. The challenge to anyone who agrees with Paul is that we have to receive this truth and grace in faith. For it is only from faith that we can receive it and it is only by faith that we can live it.