The title of this morning's message is the Anglo-Saxon word from which modern English has derived "gospel," the most common translation of the Greek noun euangelion, or "good tidings." The origins of the word itself are not of the church, but its rendering as "good tidings" or "good news" is uniquely Christian. The term was borrowed and re-cast by early Christian writers -- including the apostles -- to communicate the full impact of the truth -- the "good news" -- about Jesus Christ. Euangelion is certainly a favourite Pauline term, appearing 60 times in his epistles, included in all of them except the letter to Titus.
1. The essence of the message of this "good news" as preached in the early church is set forth with simple clarity in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.
a. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas [ Simon Peter ], then by the twelve. [ NKJV ]
b. "For Paul, the euangelion is preeminently 'the gospel of God' ( Romans 1:1; 15-16;
2 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; 8:9 ). It proclaims the redemptive activity of God. This activity is bound up with the person and work of God's Son, Christ Jesus. Thus it is also 'the gospel of Christ' ( 1 Corinthians 9:12; 2 Corinthians 2:12; 9:13; 10:14; Galatians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:2. Vss. 16 and 19 of Romans 15 indicate that these terms are interchangeable. ). This gospel is variously expressed as 'the gospel of our Lord Jesus' ( 1 Thessalonians 1:8 ), 'the gospel of the glory of the blessed God' ( 1 Timothy 1:ll ), 'the gospel of his Son' ( Romans 1:9 ), and 'the gospel of the glory of Christ' ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ). It is a gospel of salvation ( Ephesians 1:13 ) and peace ( Ephesians 6:15 ). It proclaims the hope of eternal life ( Colossians 1:23 ). It is 'the word of truth' ( Colossians 1:5; Ephesians 1:13 ). Through this gospel, life and immortality are brought to light ( 2 Timothy 1:10 ). - R.H. Mounce: "Gospel." The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology
2. The "glad news which tells about Jesus Christ" (Mark 1:1) has another dimension: its impact on the life of the one who by faith receives it. In today's text passage the apostle Paul lists "Seven Benefits of Justification." This breath of fresh air in Paul's heretofore serious and sobering teaching comes as blessed relief to his readers. It presents "the rest of the [gospel] story:" the "glad tidings" that the believer's transition from God's wrath ( 1:18 ) to His grace ( 3:21 ) has transformed both his/her status before God as one now justified ("called righteous") and his/her experience as one now sanctified ("being made righteous"). It is the best possible news.
B. TEXT: Romans 5:1-11
This passage resounds with victory. "In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text," wrote Martin Luther. Having laboriously shown the need, the exact nature, and the Scriptural proof for the doctrine of Justification by Faith, Paul in these verses presents seven of its blessed consequences.
1. (v.1) We have p __ __ __ __ with God
a. This is the ultimate goal of any person who by any means would try to earn God's favour, but it is only authentic faith in Christ which has done what human effort to produce the works of the law has never been able to do; it has given the believer peace with God.
b. This is not related to the state of "bliss" sought by the Eastern religions which teach that intense meditation can transform the mind of the practitioner. Peace in the setting provided here by Paul means "h __ __ __ __ __ __" with God.
c. Christ's sacrificial death on the cross provides for mankind what the Scriptures call a __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ -- a "suitable sacrifice" to God. The ancient understanding of this term taught that Christ's death has provided for mankind "at 'one-ment'" with God.
The vehicle for our atonement is the b __ __ __ __ of the Lamb of God.
Colossians 1:19-20 [ NKJV ]
For it pleased the Father that in [Christ] all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
d. "Peace with God, therefore, is neither anesthetic bliss nor the repose of a graveyard. The removal of sin, like the removal of an obstruction from one's windpipe, restores one's vital signs. The life of peace is not a life free from adversity; neither do adverse circumstances necessarily threaten the believer's peace with God. The life of faith may indeed create adversity, but adversity is not necessarily a sign of divine judgment or abandonment. In faith, adversity may be a sign of life, just as exercise brings sore muscles in a person who has been bedridden.