“…separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Romans 1:1-3).
Prior to its usage in the New Testament, the word “gospel” was employed when a distant messenger arrived back from the battlefront and reported the good news of a military victory over the enemy. How appropriate that God’s wonderful message of spiritual victory over the enemies of Satan, sin, death, and Hades is called “the gospel”. In this passage, the apostle Paul identifies several distinctive characteristics about God’s gospel.
“…which He promised before…” As early as the Garden of Eden—with the promised seed of woman (Genesis 3:15)—God began pointing toward His powerful, all-sufficient solution to human sin. Seed promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David were given hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth. The very first thing stated in the genealogy of Jesus Christ is that He is the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1). The gospel of God is founded upon God making and keeping His promises.
“…through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures…” God’s servants the prophets were called primarily to address the sin found in their day and time. To enable His people to discern between a genuine spokesman and a false, presumptuous one, specific predictions were included in their preaching (Deuteronomy 18:22). Unlike any other religious document, the Holy Scriptures have scores of prophetic predictions. Every prophecy related to Christ and the gospel of the kingdom of God has been fulfilled. In Romans alone, “it is written” is used 17 times. The New Testament’s gospel of God is the fulfillment of the Old Testament’s predictive prophecy.
“…concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord…” Jesus is the focus of Scripture because He is the One through whom all spiritual victories and blessings come. The Son of God was named Jesus because He would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). He is the Christ because He is God’s anointed one. Like the Old Testament’s Melchizedek (Genesis 14), Jesus reigns as king while serving as God’s priest. His spiritual victory over Satan has resulted in His being seated at God’s right hand in the heavenly places “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet” (Ephesians 1:21-22). He is King of kings, Lord of lords, the only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15). His authority in heaven and earth is absolute (Matthew 28:18).
The gospel of God offers spiritual victory to all. Jehovah promised it through the Old Testament’s prophets, and Jesus ensured it by His jot-and-tittle obedience to God’s Word. The gospel of God is His power to salvation.