Romans 1:16-17 What is the Gospel? The Power of God [Part 1]
Last updated: 18 May 2020 16:52
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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, The righteous shall live by faith.
What is the gospel? Simply put, the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
A simple yet packed statement. What does it all really mean?
The power of God
Consider this about the power of God: He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present. But we might see the word all or almighty or even perfect still not fathom that strength. We can describe it as infinite, and still not fully get it.
Let us say it another way: there are many people who be willing to save people but lack the ability to save. All of mankind has been both born into sin and does sin continually. Even in our good acts are all done with wicked and selfish motives. We have committed the sin and we alone have to atone for our sins. The problem is that because of our sin, we cannot atone for it. We need to be perfect in order to atone for our sins. Because we were born into sin and with sin-filled hearts, we cannot possibly be perfect. This isn’t a huge problem except we are created by a holy, righteous, and perfect Creator God who does not allows sin to abide within in presence. Why would a good and just God allow sin–wickedness, trespasses, evil, tyranny, despair–into his presence? And the truly unfortunate thing for us and sin is that our paths will cross before this Almighty God. As the angels cried out in Isaiah 6:3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” God is all over the earth. And every one of us will stand before this righteous and just God who does not allow sin into his dwelling. He is holy. He is high above sin, far from sin, too bright for sin, too hot and burns sin, and he expels and vomits out sin.1
The truth is that there is no one who can save us from the wrath of God upon sinners. It is not enough to want to save people. You must have the ability. This means not just simply dying on the cross. Literally, any human can do that.
This also doesn’t just mean speaking a few words strung together, “You are forgiven of your sins.” When God forgives sins, there is actual power behind those words and that power is Christ’s death upon the cross. It is not empty language. It is not something said to make you feel good. Because of the cross of Christ, we can be forgiven by God and forgive others because we believe and trust in His Son who did die for us. For this to be actual real and infinite power, it means God has to be holy, good, blameless, perfect, and love. In order to make those words actually effective, the wrath of God must be satisfied.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Christians believe and trust in Christ because God has given them a new heart with new desires for Him. His obedience and righteousness are given to His people while they are continued to be conformed in the likeness of Christ. (2 Cor 5:21; Romans 8:28-29)
God knew that. He alone has the power to save us and he alone wants to save us. He alone is holy and good. He alone is love and just. He is God with the power to take on humanity, to live a perfect life in communion with the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is Jesus Christ–fully God and fully man.
- Stott, John. The Cross of Christ. 107-110. [return]