On Romans 1:16
In Paul’s letters ‘save’ and ‘salvation’ refer primarily to God’s future, to what begins with Christ’s coming in glory, His Second Coming, as it is often called… What may be called the negative content of salvation is indicated in 5.9: it is salvation from the final manifestation of the wrath of God… But there is also a positive content. It is the restoration of the glory which sinful men lack (compare 3.23).
What Paul is saying here, then, is that the gospel is God’s effective power active in the world of men to bring about deliverance from His wrath in the final judgment and reinstatement of that glory of God which has been lost through sin – that is a future salvation which reflects its splendour back into the present of those who are to share in it. The gospel, the message of good news, is this by virtue of its content, its subject, namely Jesus Christ. It is He Himself who is its effectiveness.
For all who respond with faith the gospel is effective to salvation. It is important here to note that the faith which is spoken of is not something existing independently of the gospel. It is not a qualification which some men already possess in themselves before the gospel meets them. It only comes into being as response to the gospel… And it is not – as man’s response to the gospel – a contribution from his side which, by fulfilling a condition laid down by God, enables the gospel to be saving. In that case, faith would be, in the last resort, a meritorious work; but it is of the very essence of faith, as Paul understands it, that it is opposed to all human deserving, all human establishing of claims on God. Faith is the openness to the gospel which God Himself creates. He not only directs the message to the hearer, but also Himself lays open the hearer’s heart to the message.