The Expository Files.


The Gospel: Fundamental Facts Introduced

Romans 1:1-6



"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Rom. 1:1-7, NKJ.

Romans is an explanation of the gospel plan of salvation. It is not like a tract to teach non-Christians, but more like a treatise to help Christians understand better how and why they are saved. The great theme of the letter is, the gospel of Christ is the power of God to save. The book of Romans explains this.

The opening paragraph introduces the fundamental facts which are further explained later in the book.

The gospel of God
Paul was a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and he was called to be an apostle. His work is described: "separated to the gospel of God." This message - the gospel - was "promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures."

The gospel is "of God," meaning, God is the originator of this message. Paul (as a bondservant) was not free to create his own gospel. Peter said, "...we have not followed cunningly devised fables," (2 Pet. 1:6). The gospel which was preached by the apostles was "not according to man," (Gal. 1:11,12). The gospel came from the perfect mind of God. It is His plan to save those lost in sin.

The gospel is God's, and this is evident in the assertion that He promised it before through His prophets. From the very beginning, right after man sinned, and all through the generations of Israelite history, there are centuries of prophecy and promise. God did this "through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures." The gospel is for us, but it is "of God."

The gospel concerns His Son
When the prophets wrote about the coming kingdom, they wrote about the King, and Jesus of Nazareth is that King. The text says, He "was born of the seed of David according to the flesh." This is about His birth, and this has to do with His genealogy; He arose from the lineage or family of David. The prophets said the Messiah would arise out of the family of Jesse, David's father. The record shows (in Matthew and Luke), that Jesus was "born of the seed of David according to the flesh." This is about His birth.

The next statement is about HIS RESURRECTION: He was "declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." Note two important phrases here:

ACCORDING TO THE FLESH: The birth of Jesus to Mary showed or declared Him to be the Messiah, the son or descendant of David, as the prophets had
written. {The human Jesus came through the seed of David.}

ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT: That is, His spiritual nature; His deity -- His resurrection declared Him to be the Son of God.

Therefore, the way His body came into the world showed Him to be the Seed of David. The way His spirit was reunited with His body in His resurrection showed or declared Him to be the Son of God.

The gospel Paul preached came from God, and concerns the Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, "who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead."

This is how the Roman letter begins. These profound thoughts, or fundamental facts about the gospel Paul preached. These celebrated truths are explained and developed fully in the rest of the epistle.

But what is the object of this message from God, promised through the prophets that concerns the Son?

Obedience to the faith!
Through Jesus Christ, Paul and the other apostles had received the favor (grace) of being send, "unto" or "for" obedience to the faith among all nations for His name.

Here is this noteworthy phrase: "obedience to the faith," or (NAS) "obedience of faith."

In some passages, the gospel message is considered as a body of teaching, or a system of teaching and is called "the faith." Notice:

Acts 6:7
"And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."

Jude 3
"Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. "

Hence, sometimes the gospel message or plan from God is called "the faith." Everything in these opening verses - Paul's service as an apostle, the promises of the gospel by the prophets, the fact that gospel originated in the mind of God, the birth and resurrection of Christ - everything here points in this direction: Obedience to the faith. Jesus is the author of eternal salvation, unto all them that obey Him (Heb. 5:9).

Read and study the book of Romans. Here's how it begins:

PAUL:
1. A Servant.
2. Of Jesus Christ.
3. Called.
4. To be an apostle.
5. Separated to the GOSPEL.

THE GOSPEL:
1. Of God.
2. Promised.
3. By His Prophets.
4. In the Scriptures.
5. Concerning His SON.

HIS SON:
1. Jesus Christ.
2. Our Lord.
3. Born of the seed of David.
4. Declared to be the Son of God.
5. Raised from the dead.

THE OBJECT OF ALL THIS?

"...for obedience to the faith..."

Have you obeyed?

{If you have decided you need to become obedient to the faith, but need further instruction. PLEASE, contact one of the editors or writers and let us help. Through e-mail, phone calls or other arrangements, we want to help you meet the Lord's requirements.}

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 2.2; February, 1995

 

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