Friday, September 1, 2006

The Gospel Defined by Romans

The unfolding of God’s salvation plan is beautifully laid out in the Book of Romans. After Paul briefly introduces the Gospel (1:16-17) he moves into explaining God’s wrath and judgment on the unrighteous which continues into the third chapter where it is declared that ALL are under sin:

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." Romans 3:9-12

But not only are we ALL sinners, but there is nothing that we can do on our own to rectify this problem:

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. Romans 3:19-20

We have all sinned and are unrighteous before God. The Jews had the written law through Moses (Romans 3:2) and the Gentiles had the law written on their hearts (Romans 2:15). Through the Law we are made aware of the depth of our sinfulness and shown that we can not redeem ourselves. The verdict is Guilty – no one escapes the verdict and all incur the penalty.

But there is good news which is outlined in the next section of Romans:

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-26

The Gospel message is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). The good news (gospel) is that the penalty for our sins has been paid by Jesus’ death on the cross for those who accept the payment through faith. And through this faith we are also justified (declared righteous) before God, something we can not do on our own. Our sin no longer separates us from God (we are saved or delivered ) because of what Jesus has done for those who accept Him by faith.

In the next post I would like to go through Romans 3:21-26 in more detail.

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