Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
For the past couple of days we have focused our attention upon the Gospel as so discussed and demonstrated in Romans 1:1-7 and Romans 1:8-15. Today we want to think upon the key verse of the Book of Romans, Romans 1:16-17, to consider what entails a solid presentation of the Gospel. What exactly are we telling people when we are presenting the Gospel of God and His Son, Jesus Christ? I want to propose three thoughts from this key verse and then trace them through the Book of Romans:
1. Gospel's Sinners are human beings
2. Gospel's Savior is Jesus Christ
3. Gospel's Saving benefits received by faith
Gospel's sinners are human beings
Romans 1:16 tells us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation. The word for salvation comes from a word that refers to saving someone from danger, destruction and death. What condition is mankind in before God that requires him to be in need of salvation? Why does the Bible use such dramatic wording to explain the Gospel? Scripture reveals that man is a sinner. I'm sure you have heard this term used many times, but have you ever thought about it's implications? What is a sinner? Why do sinners need salvation? As you go through the Book of Romans, you find out the three-fold definition of a sinner:
1. A Sinner is relationally an enemy of God. Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness"
2. A Sinner is morally guilty before God. Romans 2:15 "in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them."
3. A Sinner is legally/spiritually dead to God. Romans 3:10-13 10as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; 11there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; 12all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.”13“their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving,” “the poison of asps is under their lips”;
Creation reveals man's enmity, his conscience tells him he is guilty and the Divine law declares him legally/spiritual dead to God. This is the Gospel's sinner. This is bad news. But the Gospel is supposed to be Goodnews, which leads us to the second major point that we present in the Gospel, namely.....
The Gospel's Savior - Jesus Christ
So why is Jesus Christ the central focus and person of the Gospel? Why is He touted as the Gospel's Savior? Why not my good works? Because the Law of God says I have none to offer that is good enough to please the Holy, Righteous God. (Romans 3:10-13) Why not religion? Because in religion people want to live a life of benefits and blessings without God, which is idolatry. Jesus Christ alone is the Gospel's Savior, and also two other terms: Lord and Treasure.
1. Jesus Christ is Savior. Romans 3:24 "being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus". Even more explicitly we find Jesus described as the Sole Savior in the Gospel as stated in Romans 5:8-10 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." One more passage from Romans tells us that Jesus is the Gospel's Savior, Romans 8:32 "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?"
2. Jesus is Lord. When we say Jesus is Lord, we mean that He has the authority as God to be the source of salvation. Also too, as Lord, He is to be the believer's authority from conversion onward. Romans 10:9 is perhaps the clearest verse: "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved". You cannot separate Jesus' Saving ministry from His Lordship. Just as you cannot separate His humanity and Deity from His person, so too you cannot separate His role as Savior from the authority that gives Him the power to affect salvation in all who by grace believe - namely His Lordship.
3. Jesus is Treasure. Romans 15:17 is a prime example of what we mean when we speak of Jesus Christ as the treasured Saviro and Lord of the Gospel - "Therefore in Christ Jesus I have found reason for boasting in things pertaining to God." We will never treasure the things of God (His word, prayer, His church, His worship, His glory) unless we do so through how treasuring of Jesus Christ. In fact the last verse, Romans 16:27, underscores the sum total of treasuring God's glory as vitally connected to Jesus Christ - "to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen."
Tomorrow we will continue this study by noting the Gospel's Saving Benefits. May the Lord bless you throughout your day dear friend.