Romans 1:1–7 — “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made 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: By Whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for His Name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As the Apostle Paul opens his greeting to the saints at Rome, he begins by letting them know the official nature of this letter. In verses one through seven, we almost can see a “letterhead” of sorts, showing the genuineness of this epistle as official. That verse seven sends another greeting, we can see the true Source of this epistle: God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The apostle was separated unto the gospel of God, as he states in verse one. He was marked off by the Lord for this purpose. Near the end of this epistle, he comes back around to speaking of the “gospel of God”, and his place in it:
Romans 15:15–16 — “Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.”
When the apostle speaks about his separation unto the “gospel of God”, he adds “which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures”. He continues when he defines Who it is that the gospel of God is wrapped up in: It is concerning His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord! All of God’s good news (this is another way of saying “gospel of God”) to mankind is wrapped up in His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
So how is this “gospel of God which He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures” promised in the holy scripture? The apostle explains it in two ways: “which was made 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.” The apostle’s message at the synagogue of Antioch in Pisidia will shed enough light on this:
Acts 13:22–23 — “And when [God] had removed [King Saul], He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also He gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfil all My will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus…”
Acts 13:32–39 — “And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Thee. And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. Wherefore He saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption.
“For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But He, Whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
This clause “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”, deserves some extra attention. Was Jesus Christ the Son of God before He rose from the dead? He certainly was! It is interesting to note though, that in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, He does not refer to Himself as the Son of God. Others, often the sources that we would not want witnessing on our behalf (the devil and devil-possessed individuals, as well as the Sanhedrin when they accused Him), speak of Him as the Son of God, but He does not of Himself. He straitly charged unclean spirits when they saw Him and fell down before Him “that they should not make Him known” (Mark 3:12), and from the prior verse, this was after their cry that He was the Son of God. He did not, as many do today, want notoriety in any way He could get it.
Notably too, Peter in his confession states, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), but it is interesting to note how afterward the Lord “charged He His disciples that they should tell no man that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20). In John’s Gospel He does, but not as many times as we may think. In His time on earth, His glory was veiled, and He had a baptism to be baptized with, and He was straitened until it was accomplished (Luke 12:50). That baptism was His baptism into our death. The wonder of that, is that His baptism into our death is how we could be baptized into His death, and baptized into HIM (Romans 6:1–4)! His glory was kept under wraps, under His control and hidden until He rose from the dead.
A great many signs would declare Him as Messiah, or Christ. Answering John the Baptist’s disciples, He pointed to the signs:
Matthew 11:5 — “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
John’s gospel ends with the declaration:
John 20:30–31 — “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His Name.”
This is the second “bookend” in John’s gospel. The first is in chapter 1, verses 10 through 13:
John 1:10–13 — “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
These two passages taken together state the purpose for John’s writing. This may help to answer the somewhat common question as to why John’s gospel is so different that Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John begins with the fact that those that He came to (the Nation of Israel, the people of the covenant) rejected Him, but it does not mean that all have to go along with it. As many as received Him were born of God, and you can too, through His Name.
Yes, I can already hear the argument that it is not through simply His Name, but through His death that we are saved, and I agree 100%; but His death has power to save us because of His Name — because He is who He is, the Son of God. We receive Him by believing in His death for our sins, according to 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, but His Name as the only begotten Son of God gives our gospel its great power unto salvation. The great number of times that John’s gospel mentions “believe” (count the number some time) mean so much the more to us by Paul’s revelation of all that the Lord accomplished on His cross!
But back to the great declaration of the Son of God:
Psalm 2:7 — “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.”
He is declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER! No more is His glory veiled! Jesus Christ has declared once and for all, by His resurrection from the dead, His identity. He has dynamically proven that He is indeed THE SON OF GOD!
This first epistle from Paul as they appear in our Bible begins with that fact. Jesus Christ is the Son of God with power. Recall Paul’s first message after meeting the Lord:
Acts 9:20 — “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.”
“Saul makes no delay in confessing and declaring his faith; and that which he says is eminently worthy of notice. He preaches in the synagogue that Jesus is the Son of God. It is the first time that this is done. That He was exalted to the right hand of God — that He was Lord and Christ — had been already preached; the rejected Messiah was exalted on high. But here it is the simple doctrine as to His personal glory; Jesus is the Son of God.” — John Nelson Darby
Now this is the position of the Lord Jesus that Paul declares in this first of his epistles in our our Bible: declared to be the Son of God with power … by the resurrection from the dead!
The apostle received his apostleship from this same Son of God. And this is the authority by which he writes this epistle: It is for obedience to the faith FOR HIS NAME! For the Name of the glorified SON OF GOD! It would be among all nations. The apostle ends the epistle on this note:
Romans 16:25–27 — “Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.”
In this epistle to the Romans, the Lord has written for us by the pen of His apostle, those fundamentals of the faith that will establish us in the faith. He opens declaring that which the prophetic Scriptures already revealed. He closes speaking of how he declared much that had been kept secret since the world began. He declared how the Lord would establish these saints, and all of us too of like faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by the gospel that he preached in these sixteen chapters!
Think of the magnitude that, as of the time that the apostle wrote this great epistle, the gospel preached here is made known to all nations! This is a gospel that is a gospel for each and every man woman and child on this planet. It is God’s good news for all nations.
Paul goes as far here as to call it “my gospel”.
Galatians 1:11–12 — “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 9:16–17 — “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”
He was made the steward of this gospel of the grace of God, and we, the saints, beloved of God, are the beneficiaries of this grace. How wonderful to be called “beloved of God”! While God surely loved the world, as the apostle John tells us in that wonderful verse 3:16, think of the great love He has for those “accepted in the Beloved, in Whom we have redemption through His blood…” (Ephesians 1:6–7)!
We can also learn alot from the apostle when we consider his audience: these are believers that he calls saints. Yet in this message to believers, he plainly declares the gospel by which they are saved. He strengthens them by plainly telling them the truth they already should know, so that he can further strengthen them with further revelation. But his message is always rooted entirely in the truth delivered that is fundamental: that of the righteousness of God, and how sinful man can be made righteous in the sight of the God from Whom nothing can be hid.
Continue to join me as we learn all that our Lord has to tell us about His righteousness and His love for us, to the end, that we all may be established!