That’s Today’s Ida Glaser translation of the middle of Romans 1:16. If trauma is caused by a combination of danger and helplessness, power towards safety is Good News indeed.
What we lose when we translate ‘safety’ by ‘salvation’! For me, ‘salvation’ has long been a theological term – very important, and very good news, to be saved from sin and all that goes with it. But ‘safety’ speaks to me of God’s involvement in every level of everyone’s life, and somehow communicates that there is a deep safety in God even in the place of danger. And it is a safety rooted in the all-powerfulness of God.
Let’s go on in the verse: ‘ . . . towards safety for every single trusting person’ (again, TIG) . . . and the ‘everyone’ is then spelt out as Jews and Greeks. There is no ethnic or even religious boundary here. The only requirement in this verse is ‘trusting’ – also translated ‘believing’ or ‘having faith’. Theologians spill gallons of ink in discussing just what this means, but the obvious main point is the Good News that everyone is invited to entrust themselves to God, and that, when they do so, His power gives them safety.
And what is at the heart of the reason why we can find that safety? Verse 17 tells us: ‘For the righteousness of God is unveiled in the Good News’ (TIG). ‘For the righteousness of God . . ‘ parallels ‘For the power of God . . ‘
The Righteousness of God The Power of God
God’s exercise of power is always righteous. THAT is good news!
God’s exercise of power deals with all the unrighteousness which leads to dangers in today’s world. THAT is good news!
God’s righteousness deals with all the unrighteousness in us which leads us and others into danger. THAT is good news!
The Good News unveils/reveals/opens the door on God’s righteousness. After all our longings for justice and for goodness and for SAFETY, the Good News at last shows us what God has been doing. We were lost in our traumas and in our own as well as everyone else’s unrighteousness, and couldn’t see God’s righteousness. We were afraid that He lacked in power and could not help us. Or, worse, that He had plenty of power but was punishing us for our unrighteousness. Or, worst of all, that He had the power but was unrighteous Himself, and was doing bad things to us and to other people.
Not so, says Paul! God is BOTH powerful AND righteous. And the Good News that he is going to explain will SHOW US AT LAST!!!
Just here, Paul gives us a summary – this is going to be a call to trust, and it is going to lead to LIFE! Trauma brings fear of death, and feelings of disconnection and non-existence. The Good News brings LIFE – and connection and eternal existence. THAT is safety.