Wednesday, December 28, 2016

God's Gospel - Romans 1:1-2

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Romans 1:1-2  "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures."

Today's post features the above text that makes the remarkable statement concerning the Gospel. We discover that the Gospel did not make its appearance when Jesus and the Apostles came on the scene. The Gospel or "good news" of salvation has been around since the beginning. We can note three descriptions of the Gospel in Romans 1:1-2

1. Gospel of God

Whenever we see that little word "of" in the text, it is relating the word before and after it. The relationship between "gospel" and "God" could be rendered two-fold: either the Gospel is "about God" and His saving activities or the Gospel is "from God", revealed and made known to us. In so far as the Gospel does address the sinner and their sinful condition, the Gospel's true core is about God and coming from Him. The Gospel tells the "old, old story of the Savior who came from glory". As commentator Warren Wiersbe notes:

"It is “the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1) because it originates with God; it was not invented by humans. It is “the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16) because it centers in Christ, the Savior. Paul also calls it “the gospel of his Son” (Rom. 1:9), which indicates that Jesus Christ is God. In Romans 16:25-26, Paul called it “my gospel.” By this he meant the special emphasis he gave in his ministry to the doctrine of the church and the place of the Gentiles in the plan of God."

2. Which He promised beforehand through His prophets

Now we find out how God revealed or "made known what was previously or would-had-been-otherwise unknown" the Gospel - namely by his prophets. Amos 3:7 reminds us that God doesn't disclose His will except through the prophets. We could go all the way back to at least Enoch, the seventh from Adam. Adam himself could be deemed a prophet - since he was naming the animals as duly assigned by God. A prophet's role was to represent God's interests to man. Adam represented God's creative order to the creation. According to Genesis 1:26, he and the woman were to originally be God's co-regents, having been made in His image and likeness. Other various figures like Enoch, Noah, Moses, Samuel, Isaiah and others functions as God's torch-bearers - bearing the incorruptible light of the Gospel to men. 

3. In the holy Scriptures.

We have been observing three things Paul says about the Gospel in Romans 1:1-2. We first noted that he called it the "Gospel of God". Next, he reminds his readers of how the Gospel, having been revealed way before the New Testament, was revealed by way of his prophets. Indeed, the prophetic office was an oracular office, that is, the prophet "spoke" on behalf of God to men. However, God also used some of these prophets to write down His words by way of their own writing styles and culture. As 2 Peter 1:10-12 notes: "As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look."

The Gospel is that central scarlet thread that holds together the tapestry of scripture. The Gospel and Christ are inseparable. One cannot properly understand the Old Testament apart from Jesus Christ and the Gospel. In like manner, one cannot understand life nor can one's life hold together apart from the Gospel.