Good News of the Gospel
Dr. Herbert Samworth
of the memories that I have from my growing up years was listening
to the news reports on the radio. I remember that the program my
parents listened to began with the reporter often uttering these
words, "Ladies and gentlemen, we have good news tonight!"
In a world characterized by a plethora of bad news, it is wonderful
to hear good news.
true in the secular arena is also true in spiritual matters. The
good news of which we are speaking does not come from earthly events
but from heaven itself. This good news is the Gospel, a word that
literally means "good news."
is this good news? For whom is it good news? How can one learn about
this good news? These are extremely important questions. The answers
are found in the Scriptures, a revelation from God Himself. Although
the good news of the Gospel is found in every book of the Bible,
there is one book that contains its fullest explanation. It is the
book of Romans, a letter addressed by the Apostle Paul to the church
in the city of Rome. Paul had never been to Rome although he had
purposed to visit it on a number of occasions. Now the way had been
opened for his visit and he sent the letter ahead to prepare the
church for his coming.
of Romans is the explanation of the content and application of the
Gospel to believers' lives. A key to understanding the book is to
remember that Paul was a Jew and had been educated in the Jewish
system of writing. A characteristic of Jewish writing was that a
summary of what was contained in the body of writing was given at
the beginning. The book of Romans clearly illustrates this characteristic.
1:1-17, we have a summary of what Paul was going to teach the church
at Rome. He was going to tell them about the Gospel. For us to gain
a clear understanding of the Gospel we must study the first seventeen
verses of Romans one. In these verses Paul makes four statements
that give us four perspectives of the Gospel.
PROMISE OF A PERSON (ROMANS 1:1-4)
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set
apart for the gospel of God, (2) which He promised beforehand through
His prophets in the holy Scriptures, (3) concerning His Son, who
was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, (4) who
was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from
the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our
his book by telling the Romans that he had been called of God to
the office of an apostle. An apostle was set apart to proclaim a
message. What was the message had Paul been given to proclaim? Paul
had been set apart by God to announce the good news of the Gospel.
However, the Gospel Paul proclaimed had been promised by God for
hundreds of years. We learn in Genesis 12:1-3 that God had given
this promise to Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation, two thousand
years before. Throughout history God had been working to accomplish
this great promise. We can say with certainty that the entire Old
Testament is the account of God working out His promise. The promise
reached its fulfillment in Gods Son, the Lord Jesus. Note
carefully the words that Paul used in Romans 1:3 concerning the
Lord Jesus. Gods Son was a man, born of the line of David,
the King of Israel. However, He was more than a man because He was
declared to be the Son of God with power. When did this take place?
Paul wrote that this occurred when Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
Note Romans 1:4.
Jesus die? Roman soldiers (the Gentiles) put him to death after
His own people (the Jews) rejected His kingship over them. Although
He died on the cross and was buried in Joseph's tomb, death could
not rule over Him. Through the power of the Spirit, He rose from
the dead and was declared to be the Son of God. This does not mean
that He became God at His resurrection. The resurrection was the
proof that, indeed, He was the One He had claimed to be.
the result of what Paul stated in Romans 1:1-4 about the Lord Jesus?
Note what Paul said at the end of verse four; the One Who rose was
Jesus Christ the Lord. The One Whom God had promised to Abraham
has been declared the Son of God. He is the One God had promised
in the Gospel. All authority has been given into His control. He
is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
PROCLAMATION OF A PERSON (ROMANS 1:5-7)
through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about
the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles, for His name's sake,
(6) among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; (7) to all
who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and
peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
related the impact that the Lord Jesus Christ had had on his own
life. Paul was called into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
the Lord and His life was radically changed. Through Christ Paul
received the grace of salvation and a new purpose of life.
commissioned by God to announce this good news about Christ to all
people. Although Paul was a Jew and had a special love for his own
people, in the will of God, he became the Apostle to the Gentiles.
In Paul's day the world was divided into two groups of people: the
Jews and the Gentiles. Pauls commission was to proclaim the
Gospel to the Gentiles in order to bring about "the obedience
of faith." Numerous interpretations have been given as to what
obedience of faith means. However, it appears what Paul had in mind
was that the preaching of the Gospel would evoke the response of
faith on the part of the Gentiles. They were to believe the message
about Jesus Christ that Paul had proclaimed to them. The faith in
the Gospel that they expressed was not a dead faith but a living
one that manifested itself in obedience to what God commanded. It
is important to note the order in which this occurred. Obedience
did not lead to faith but true faith would express itself in loving
obedience to Gods will.
section we are reminded that we have both a message to proclaim
to the peoples of the world and the responsibility to proclaim it.
No doubt we live in a world characterized by division, hatred, war,
and a multitude of other ills. What is the answer to the needs of
the world? The answer is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The
message is centered in the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ
is the Gospel; He is the good news for every single person on the
face of the earth.
PROVISION OF A PERSON (ROMANS 1:8-15)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because
your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world. (9) For
God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of
His Son, is my witness as to how unceasingly I make mention of you,
(10) always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last
by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you. (11) For I long
to see you in order that I may impart some spiritual gift to you,
that you may be established; (12) that is, that I may be encouraged
together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith,
both yours and mine. (13) And I do not want you to be unaware, brethren,
that often I have planned to come to you (and have been prevented
thus far) in order that I might obtain some fruit among you also,
even as among the rest of the Gentiles. (14) I am under obligation
both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish.
(15) Thus, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also
who are in Rome.
verses Paul told the Christians at Rome of his previous intentions
to visit them but was unable to do so. Now, however, the way was
clear for him to come. What purpose did Paul have in mind for his
visit to the Church at Rome? He desired the Romans to grow in their
Christian faith. Paul had a profound understanding of the nature
of the Christian life. To be a Christian means to share in the life
of Christ so we can strengthen one another to serve God. God had
gifted Paul with abilities to instruct and nurture believers in
living the Christian life. As a result of his ministry, Paul desired
the Romans to be strengthened for the spiritual opposition they
would face. However, this was not to be just one sided. Paul would
also be encouraged in his life and ministry by the believers in
1:15 Paul summarized the purpose of his visit to Rome and his plan
of action. He intended to proclaim to them the Gospel. Paul's statement
was interesting because it helped clear up a misunderstanding that
many people have regarding the Gospel. Few people would deny the
need of the Gospel for those who remain in their sins and do not
have a personal relationship with God through His Son. However,
in this verse Paul stated clearly that those who were Christians
also needed the Gospel. The reason was that the Gospel is much broader
than information that tells us how we can be saved from the guilt
and penalty of our sins. The Gospel also tells us how we may live
lives that please God. In some sense, mature Christians need the
Gospel as much as anyone.
need exists in churches today. While a great amount of stress is
placed on evangelizing those who need the forgiveness of sins and
a personal relationship with God, there is also the need to teach
professing Christians the elements of the Christian life. A dearth
of mature Christians exists in the Church. Too many professing Christians
fail to show the evidence of a close walk with the Lord. In speaking
with the elders of the Church of Ephesus, Paul stated that he had
not shunned to declare unto them all the counsel of God. All the
counsel of God is equivalent with the Gospel.
differences as to which of these responsibilities has the greater
call on a person's life. Are we to concentrate our energy on reaching
the lost or attempt to build up believers in the faith? This question
cannot be answered with an either/or. The demands of the Gospel
require that we both evangelize the lost and instruct the
believers. How thankful we should be that the Gospel is able to
provision of the Christian life is the Lord Jesus Himself. Through
our union with Him, we share His life. In Romans 6, Paul stated
the characteristics of this life. It is a life that has power over
sin. We do not have to live under sin's dominion. The second trait
of the Christian life is that it is lived unto God. What does it
mean to live unto God? It is the opposite of how many people live.
They live unto themselves; they live for themselves. They do not
consider anyone else except themselves and their personal advantage
when making choices. How different should be the life of the Christian.
He lives his life for God and expresses that life by seeking to
POWER OF A PERSON (ROMANS 1:16-17)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for
salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to
the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from
faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall
live by faith."
one may remark, "Everything you have said is good, but there
is one great problem." How is it possible to live such a life
as the one you described? I desire to live such a life but I lack
the power. For such persons we have good news! We have the Gospel!
1:16, Paul stated that he was not ashamed of the Gospel. What did
Paul mean? He spoke of the total trust that he had in the Gospel.
To be ashamed meant that what one had trusted in did not have the
ability to fulfill its promises. The Gospel is able to accomplish
what it has promised. Why is this so?
It is true
because the Gospel is the power of God. By the Gospel, God demonstrated
His omnipotence in carrying out what He had promised.
the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Man does not realize
how desperate his situation truly is. He is under the power and
guilt of sin. He is dead in his trespasses and sins. The person
who remains in their sins is in a hopeless situation. They do not
have the ability to save themselves. The Bible tells us that they
do not even have the desire to do so.
Paul stated in Romans 1:16 that the Gospel was the revelation of
God's power. What man did not have the ability to do, God did for
him. But there is another need that man has. He is in great need
of righteousness. The Word of God says that man is not righteous.
But the righteousness that man needs is contained in the Gospel.
Luther, the great German reformer, found this to be true. As a monk,
Luther attempted to win the favor of God by his good works. While
teaching Romans, Luther encountered the phrase "the righteousness
or justice of God." When he read those words, Luther was struck
with terror. He thought the words meant that God demanded righteousness
from man before he could be accepted. Luther knew that he could
never attain to such righteousness. In his words, he did not love
God but hated Him because of His impossible demands. However, Luther's
eyes were opened to understand that rather than an impossible demand
put upon man by God, the righteousness of God was His gracious gift
to man given in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Luther wrote that
when this truth entered his understanding, he felt that he had entered
the gates of Paradise. The reality of that truth in Luthers
life led to the beginning of the Reformation.
what Paul stated in Romans 1:17 concerning the righteousness of
God. The Gospel is the power of God to provide the righteousness
that we could never attain by our own works. The Greek word that
is translated as power is the word dynamite. The Gospel is the dynamite
of God! It is no wonder that the Gospel is good news. This is the
best news that one could ever hear!
is our world to hear good news. All around us we are constantly
hearing bad news. The Gospel is good news because it concerns the
Person of Jesus Christ, God's Son. It is good news for all mankind
without exception. It is good news for the Christian as well as
the one in need of salvation. And finally, it is good news because
it provides us with the righteousness that we need in order to stand
before a holy God.
despite the good news, a question remains to be answered. How does
one appropriate this good news? How does one become a participant
in the benefits of the Gospel? Paul gives us the answer in Romans
1:17. It is by faith. True faith requires more than just the correct
understanding of the mind and the conviction of the heart. Biblical
faith also includes an act of trust or commitment to the truth of
the Gospel. There are many who have a clear intellectual concept
of the Gospel. There are many who are convinced that the Gospel
is true. However, they have never committed their lives to the Gospel.
True commitment to the Gospel is not a commitment to a set of intellectual
propositions but to the Person of Jesus Christ. Apart from this
personal commitment or trust, there is no true faith and thus no
today are seeking to do what God has declared to be impossible.
God stated, without equivocation, that it is impossible for man
to approach Him on the basis of his works. See Romans 3:20; Ephesians
2:8, 9 and Titus 3:5-7 for proof of this statement. The only way
by which a person can approach God is on the basis of another Person's
work. That Person is Jesus Christ and He is the Gospel. The question
that must be answered is this, "Have you approached God by
the only way that He will accept you? Have you come to Him by the
Gospel? Have you come to Him through the Person of His Son? Have
you come to Him by faith in Christ alone? The consequences of a
right response to the Gospel invitation are eternal in their nature.