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The Focus of the Gospel

Romans 1:2-4
… the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (NIVUK)

This letter to the Romans is all about the 'gospel'.  That word simply means 'good news'.  Unlike the touring philosophers of the day, Paul is not describing a new idea he has invented, because this good news comes from God (Romans 1:1).  It was promised all through the Old Testament (Isaiah 1:18).  The focus of the gospel message is not about how people can become more happy, healthy or wealthy - it is about how Jesus Christ has the power and authority to transform the lives of repentant sinners (Ezekiel 18:30-32) and adopt them into His family (Romans 8:15) to be with Him in this life and through all eternity (John 3:16).

Why is Jesus so important?  Who is He?  The Old Testament points forward to a promised ‘Messiah’ (‘Christ’ in Greek), who is God with us, ‘Immanuel’ (Isaiah 7:14); the child who is the ‘Mighty God’ (Isaiah 9:6).  All the Jews were waiting for Him.  Although He became a human descendant of King David when He was born as a baby to Mary, few recognised Him (John 1:9-14) apart from Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38).  His full identity is to be found in His pre-existing Divine nature (John 17:5).  He is God the Son, the Creator and Sustainer of everything (Colossians 1:15-17).

The Holy Spirit demonstrated that most powerfully at the resurrection, confirming that Jesus (meaning 'God saves') is the Christ ('God's anointed one') and also the rightful Lord over everything (Philippians 2:6-11).  The Son of God, who came to live with us and die for us, is now alive and reigning as the King of kings and Lord of lords; and His resurrection puts all humanity on notice that each will be raised after death to be judged by Him (Acts 17:31).

The gospel is God's message commanding all people everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in Jesus (Acts 17:30) - not as just a good man, or a wise teacher but as God (Acts 2:38).  He lived and sacrificially died for us in His human body, and the resurrection validates His powerful Divinity.  That evidence is still being presented to truth-hungry hearts by gospel-hearted Christians and used by the Holy Spirit to convince people that Jesus will love and save them.  As we explain our faith to others, make sure that they understand the identity of Jesus Christ.  Christianity is not primarily a culture, a way of life or a set of religious rituals: it is all about submitting to Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is our sin-bearer, Lord and Judge.


Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for revealing the identity of Jesus Christ to me by the Holy Spirit. I am in awe of Him who loved me and gave Himself for me. Forgive me when I only see His humanness and forget that He is God the Son and the rightful Master of everything, including me. Help me to understand Him better as I read Your Word, so that I may delight more in Him, submit to Him more willingly, serve Him more faithfully and speak of Him more truthfully. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams