Summary: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God...
Romans 1:16-17 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
In these two verses Paul defines for us what the Gospel is. The Gospel is the Lord Jesus Christ, in His blessed person and in His mighty work. To lose Jesus is to lose the Gospel. One of the strangest things in the religious life of the world is that the world would like to have Christianity without Christ. It would like to get rid of Jesus and at the same time keep the Gospel. The world would like to have good news from God without the Son of God. Christians must stand with the Apostle Paul and proclaim that apart from Jesus Christ, God has no good news for any man. Eliminate Him, and there remains no good news for the world, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of fiery indignation. (Hebrews 10:26-27)
In stating the Gospel as he has here, Paul has used some great words. He talks about power, God, Salvation, righteousness, faith and the just. And then he talks of life. Seven powerful words! It is Jesus Christ the Son of God, who gives meaning and value to these words; take Him out of these words and nothing is left but empty words and high sounding phrases.
Let us look at these seven words a little closely.
Ø Paul says: “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the POWER ...” But what about power? “Christ is the power of God” (First Corinthians 1:2); that is what makes the Gospel the power of God!
Ø The next word is “GOD.” First Timothy 3:16 declares that Christ was God manifested in the flesh, for He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15). How much would you know about God if you did not have Christ?
Ø Next Paul declared; “the power of God unto SALVATION” Simeon, the old man, took Mary’s child in his arms and looked up into heaven and said, “Mine eyes have seen Your salvation” (Luke 2:30). Jesus is our Salvation!
Ø The fourth word – the centre of the seven great words is “RIGHTEOUSNESS”. Paul declared in First Corinthians 1:30; “Jesus ... is made unto us wisdom and righteousness”
Ø The fifth word is “FAITH” “Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) Without Him, we would not have any faith.
Ø The next expression is “JUST” in which Paul quotes from the Old Testament. Acts 22:14 speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ as “the just One” Romans 5:9 declares that in His blood we are justified (declared just). There would not be any such thing as a just man except for Him.
Ø The last word is “LIFE” John 6:51 reads: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” So the word life occurs three times in one verse.
From the foregoing, it becomes evident that Christ is everything. When we take Him out, you have nothing left of the Gospel; you have lost the power, you have lost God that gave the Gospel; the salvation that the gospel brings; the righteousness that it reveals. The faith by which we appropriate it; the justification and worse still, we have lost life.
The Gospel is the Power of God
The first statement that Paul makes about the Gospel is “the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation”. He does not say the Gospel contains power, or that it is powerful, or that it has power, or that it exerts power. He only says “the Gospel is the power”
Power has a way of influencing those who come close to it. It is awe inspiring. When you see electricity at work, you cannot but admit that it is powerful.
I want us to read together, one of the most condensed statements of the Gospel in First Corinthians 15:1-4.
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I presented to you, which you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. 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,...”