Scripture Reading – Romans 1:1-5, 16-17
What is the gospel? Why is it called the good news?
- Many people today think that gospel is just believing in Christ and the forgiveness of sin. Though it is true, it is over simplification of the gospel.
Gospel is a message that originated from God (Rom 1:1):
- Gospel of God (Rom 1:1). Genitive of possession > God owns the gospel; it is His message; God is the source of the gospel (Gal 1:11-12).
- When Paul explains the gospel, he uses the term, “according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4).
- It means that gospel was never an afterthought for God, but it has been His eternal plan as He revealed time and again to His holy prophets (Luke 24:44).
- So God forbids men ever meddle with it, never dilute or pollute it, but understand it correctly, live with it faithfully, and proclaim it truthfully.
Gospel is the good news of God to humanity because it has both the objective and subjective elements:
- Objectively, the gospel is the Lord Jesus Christ—His active obedience; His substitutionary atonement on the Cross; and His bodily resurrection from the dead.
- Subjectively, the gospel is freely offered; when a sinner receives it, it transforms his life; and finally God is glorified.
Gospel Concerns Christ (Romans 1:1-5)
Paul says in verse 3, gospel concerns Jesus Christ. Gospel is something objective. The word ‘objective’ means ‘to the point.’ Gospel is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. There are three things very important here:
- Christ’s Life in His Humanity (Rom 5:18-21)
- Paul says in Rom 1:3, Christ was born of the seed of David according to the flesh.
- This is the necessity of Christ’s incarnation, which Paul explains in Rom 5:18-21.
- Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well-being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
- Christ’s Death on the Cross (Rom 3:21-26)
- Redemption, propitiation, blood of Christ, remission of sins, and justifier
- For God to forgive us is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification.
- Christ’s Resurrection from the Dead (1 Cor 15:1-4, 14-20)
- Christ’s resurrection proved His deity, His omnipotence, and His eternality
Gospel Concerns God’s Power unto Salvation (Romans 1:16-17)
The gospel has a subjective dimension. The word ‘subjective’ means that which is personal or individual. It communicates the impact or effectiveness of the gospel. Gospel is the good news to us only when we experience the gospel power personally in our lives!
So, what is the impact or effectiveness of the gospel?
- Paul says in Rom 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
- RC Sproul says: “How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.”
So, three things we understand as the subjective elements of the gospel:
- Salvific Power (Rom 1:16-17)
- We are saved by grace through faith
- Sanctifying Power (Rom 12:1-2)
- We have been transformed by the renewing of our mind
- Satisfying Power (Rom 11:34-36; 16:25-27)
- God is glorified
Gospel is the greatest message that we have ever heard:
- It is divine, so it is rich
- It is costly, yet it is free
- It transforms sinners to saints
- It brings God’s glorious plans to fruition
What should we do with this gospel?
- Understand it correctly, live with it faithfully, and proclaim it truthfully (Gal 1:6-10).
Galatians 1:6-10, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”