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The Good News

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

The apostle Paul just seems to explode on to the pages of Romans. He can hardly seem to contain his excitement as he sits down to pen his letter. Just as quick as he introduces himself, he is off and on to talking about the gospel.



“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Romans 1: 1-7 (ESV)

 

Although not quoted, as we continue to read through Romans chapter 1, the theme of the gospel becomes very prominent. It’s not hard to see that this becomes an important theme in the letter itself. Perhaps we could argue that a good summary verse for the whole of Romans could be found in Rom. 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.”


Considering the importance of the gospel in Paul’s letter to the Romans, we may pause and ask ourselves “What does Paul mean by the gospel?” Interestingly, among some scholars today this question has become the topic of debate and discussion. I am not trying to step into a debate here, but I do believe, at least for myself, I have had a very limited understanding of the gospel. Simply put, there is more to the gospel than I have often realized.


The Gospel


The gospel simply means “good news.”[1] This was a word used in the language and culture of the first century. However, as the New Testament authors proclaim the gospel, what is the good news they are announcing?