Rom.1:16-17 - “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
1 Cor.1:18 continues saying, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The gospel makes no sense to the natural mind (1 Cor. 2:14), because the natural mind is so focussed on itself and self preservation, earning, achieving and accomplishing. The gospel tells me the opposite of those natural inclinations: focus on Christ (Heb.12:2), deny and die to yourself (Lk.9:23) and loose yourself (Mt.10:39). It is similar to being told that the only way to win a marathon is to quit running. It makes no sense to the human mind but it is powerful because it is all that works. The harder we try to be good the worse we get. Running harder looses the race. Malcolm Mugridge said, “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality while at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” Surrendering control to Christ, as contrary to human logic as it is, is the only mechanism by which true change occurs and that is why it is the power of God. Victory for the Christian comes in giving up and that is very powerful because anyone can give up. God is looking for more quitters. This by no means ends at salvation. Many believers understand this conceptually concerning their salvation but forget it entirely concerning their daily lives. We receive the gift of salvation by His grace, through faith (Eph.2:8-9), but often revert back to living out that new life (Jn.3:3, 2 Cor.5:17) in our own strength creating the mess and confusion prevalent in His Body today. That is why Paul didn’t stop with salvation, in Rom.1:16, but continued in v.17 reminding us that, “the righteous will live by faith.” That life of faith (2 Cor.5:7) is the only way we’ll ever experience the power of God (Gal.2:20). This race is one that is won not by running, but by giving up and staring at Christ. That sounds foolish, but it is all that works; anyone can do that and that is why it is powerful and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Quitting is for winners.