Monday, January 14, 2013

The Gospel of God

Romans 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God

The Gospel of God
The greatest of Paul's letters is considered by many to be his letter to the church at Rome.  None of his letters gives the breadth and depth of treatment of the Gospel like Romans.  In the opening verse we see Paul designating himself as both a "bond servant of Christ Jesus" and a "called apostle", set apart for what he terms "the gospel of God".  This phrase "the gospel of God" is rich in meaning in the original Greek.  We could either translate it "the gospel about God" or "the gospel from God".  Either rendering reveals that this is not "man's gospel", but "God's gospel". 

Romans 1:1-7 is all about introducing the Book of Romans and even more importantly about unfolding for us key points about this Gospel of God.  Today I want us to consider the thoughts we discover in these verses about what exactly is included in this "Gospel of God".

1. God is the Gospel's goal.  Romans 1:1
The Gospel, in all of its aims and details, is aimed at bringing the sinner to God.  Reconciliation is at the heart and love is God's Divine motivation.

2. Scripture is the Gospel's ground.  Romans 1:2
The Old Testament scriptures all speak about the Gospel of God.  Moses in the Pentateuch (first five Bible books) wrote about the Gospel, as well as Samuel, David and the other prophets.  Carrying into the New Testament, we see the ground of the Gospel - namely God's progressively revealed plan of how He was going to send His Son to provide resurrection life, forgiveness and adoption unto sonship to all who believe. 

3. Christ is the Gospel's glory.  Romans 1:3-4
The operative term here is "concerning His Son".  The glory of God is the visible display of God's Goodness and Activity, which is centralized in the Person of the Son.  We see Jesus Christ declared to be fully man according to the seed of David and fully Divine as the resurrected Son of God and Lord.  As God, Christ's accomplishment was sufficient, and as man his work was effective in the shedding of blood, so that all who by grace through faith believe could be saved.

4. Faith receiving Christ is the Gospel's gift. Romans 1:5
The "obedience of faith" mentioned here in 1:5 could be translated "the obedience that results from faith".  Faith alone is the necessary and sufficient means of receiving Eternal life brought by the New Birth, forgiveness of sins by justification and relational blessings by adoption.  This wonderful package or gifting of salvation, and the reception of it by faith, is all included in the gift of salvation brought by the Gospel.

5. The call to be saints is the Gospel's gracious identity. Rom 1:6-7 
The call to be a "holy one" or saint reveals the gracious identity that results from the Gospel.  In the Gospel I'm set free to obey (hence Paul's earlier statement concerning "the obedience of faith").  This wonderful Gospel identity renders my new found life in Jesus Christ to be the defining mark of knowing who I am and whose I am. 

May you and I be ever captivated and amazed by this wonderful Gospel of God. 

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