The Gospel of Jesus Christ
by Wil Pounds
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:16 NET).
This verse is the theme of the Epistle to the Romans: "the gospel of Christ." God’s way of man’s right standing with Him is revealed in this good news. God has a good word for us.
W. E. Vine says, “In the New Testament it denotes the good tidings of the Kingdom of God and of salvation through Christ, to be received by faith, on the basis of His expiatory death, His resurrection and ascension.” The gospel presents these basic facts of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the fact that He accomplishes salvation for sinners (1Corinthians 15:1-5).
This is, of course, the theme of all Scripture, and it will be the theme in Heaven throughout eternity. The word "gospel", which means "good news", occurs a number of times in the New Testament. It is described as "the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1); "the gospel of Christ" (Romans 1:16); "the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4); "the gospel of your salvation" (Ephesians 1:13); "the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15); "the everlasting gospel" (Revelation 14:6).
In this epistle Paul actually speaks of the gospel as "my gospel" (Romans 2:16). Paul was not ashamed of this gospel. As the result of believing it his soul had been saved and his life had been transformed. He was therefore able to say, "I am proud of the gospel" (Weymouth). It was another way for Paul to say, “I glory in the cross of Jesus Christ.” He was proud to believe it as a man (Acts 27:25), to confess it as a Christian (Romans 10:9-10), to proclaim it as a witness (Acts 22:15), to contend for it as a good soldier (Philippians 1:27), and to suffer and die for it as a martyr (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
There were many things that Paul could be proud of, but he counted all these things as refuse compared with the knowledge he had received of his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in and through the gospel of His grace (Philippians 3:3-8).
There are some things of which I am absolutely sure. “ . . . I am not ashamed, because I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12 NET).
In Romans 1:16 we find five glorious facts about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I. THE SOURCE OF THE GOSPEL
What is the origin of the gospel? The gospel comes from God Himself (Rom. 1:1). It is literally, "the gospel out of God." It originated in the heart of God, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). So the gospel is good news from God. Here we learn at once the difference between the gospel of God and the religion of man. Man's religion always begins with man. God's gospel always begins with God. The source of the gospel determines its character. It is God-like, noble and great, and it is for our good to receive it. It is reliable and it is also up-to-date, because anything that God says never needs revising. The gospel is not a religion; it is a revelation from God Himself. It is His complete and final word to man.
II. THE SUBJECTS OF THE GOSPEL
What is the gospel about? It is good news about “Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:3-4). It is God's declaration concerning the Person and the work of Christ. In these verses we have a statement concerning our Lord's real humanity (v. 3), His deity (v. 4), and His Name. "Jesus Christ our Lord," declares Him to be our Saviour, Sanctifier and Sovereign (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
The good news is God has sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, into this world to die upon the cross for our sins. Having done this, God has raised Him from the dead, and He is now a living Saviour exalted at His right hand (Hebrews 7:25-26). The gospel message is the declaration of the glorious Person of Christ, of His Finished Work and of His present saving power, to save sinful man.
“We preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:23) because it is the “power and the wisdom of God” (v. 24).
III. THE SUFFICIENCY OF THE GOSPEL
Why is the gospel so sufficient? “It is the saving power of God for everyone who has faith” (New English Bible). The gospel is the instrument of God’s power that brings salvation to all who believe in it. Because it is "the power of God unto salvation . . ." It is God’s manifest power to save sinners. Man's first need is salvation. He needs to be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20), to be forgiven (Colossians 2:13), to be justified (Romans 5:1) and to receive eternal life (Titus 3:7). The gospel is sufficient because it is not simply good advice about something that man has to do in order to be saved, but it is the good news that God has done, in and through His Son, all that is necessary for our salvation. The gospel is God's power to save and transform the sinner into a saint; it is God's power to deliver us from "the wrath of God" (v. 18), and to clothe us with "the righteousness of God" (v. 17). There is no human need that the gospel cannot meet, and there is no sinner too sinful for the gospel to save.
"For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Corinthians 1:18 NET).
IV. THE SCOPE OF THE GOSPEL
The gospel is for "everyone" (v. 16) including Jew and Gentile. God sent His Son into the world to make it possible for all men, everywhere, to be saved. There is no racial barrier to hinder anyone from accepting the gospel (Romans 10:12-13); there is no social barrier to hinder anyone from accepting the gospel (Matthew 11:28); there is no age barrier-for the young may come and the old may come; there is no moral barrier or the "good;" there is no national barrier because all may come (Revelation 22:17). The gospel invitation is to all people everywhere. God loves everybody and the Lord Jesus can save anybody! (Isaiah 55:1). This glorious gospel, which is "the power of God unto salvation" is good news for you.
The only qualification is the fact that you are a sinner.
V. THE SIMPLICITY OF THE GOSPEL
The word “believe,” means to trust your whole weight on a thing, to trust it implicitly.
Salvation is simply by believing! Do you believe? (John 1:12; John 3:16; John 3:36; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9-10; Acts 28:24)
The gospel is good news from God to man. To enter into the benefits of the gospel we have to believe this good news, to receive it and to rejoice in it, for the gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes." Believing on the finished work of Jesus Christ saves us. Faith is simply acting upon God's Word. He tells you are a sinner; you believe it, not only because of what your own heart tells you but because of what God tells you (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23); He tells you that He put your sin on Christ and crucified Him in your place (Isaiah 53:5-6; 1 Peter 2:24), and you believe this. He tells you that He raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead as a sign that by Him all who believe are justified (Romans 4:25), and you believe this. You rest completely on His word about the substitutionary atoning sacrifice that has been done for your salvation, and you trust the Saviour to save you, and as you do this you are saved.
“The righteous man shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Such faith is total acceptance and absolute trust. It is staking time and eternity on Jesus Christ. Have you put your confidence in Jesus Christ to save you for all eternity? Trust in Him and receive the power of God unto salvation.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2019. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent. Scripture quotations from the New American Standard Bible (c) 1973, 1995 Update, The Lockman Foundation.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and was Field Director for the Honduras Baptist Medical Dental Mission in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, C. A. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries with HCJB, the Voice of the Andes, Quito, Ecuador. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently is the International Coordinator and Professor at Peniel Theological Seminary, Riobamba, Ecuador.
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
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