“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.’” (Romans 1:16-17).
Paul’s evangelistic fervor was fueled by his sense of obligation (Romans 1:14), his preparation for the work of preaching (Romans 1:15; Galatians 1:15), and his fearlessness which was spawned by the gospel’s incredible power.
In these verses Paul identifies six characteristics which contribute to the gospel’s unique, incredible power. In addition to its Exclusiveness (see yesterday’s post), Paul also identifies its Divine Origin; it is “of God”.
The gospel was conceived in the mind of the triune God. Like creation (Genesis 1), humanity’s spiritual re-creation necessitated each Being in the Godhead having an essential role.
The Father’s role included an uncompromising expectation of complete obedience from the Son. It necessitated the incredible heartbreak and self-control of allowing His atoning, innocent Lamb to be brutally sacrificed for the sins of the world. For humanity to be justified, the Father had to be uncompromisingly just (Romans 3:26). Every jot and tittle of the Law, every predictive prophecy of the Messiah had to be fulfilled. There were no shortcuts. God’s offer of salvation by His grace did not come cheaply.
The Son’s role was one of utter unselfishness. A willingness to lay aside His glory (John 17:5) and divine autonomy so to make Himself of no reputation, take the form of a bondservant, come in the likeness of humanity, and humble Himself to the point of obediently dying by crucifixion between two criminals (Philippians 2:5-8). He chose to forever be the Son of Man so that sons of men could be the sons of God forever (Hebrews 2:9-10).
The Holy Spirit’s role was to move holy men to speak and write God’s word (2 Peter 1:20-21). The Old Testament’s law and prophets were fulfilled by the Son of God. Then, the Spirit of truth guided the New Testament apostles and prophets into all truth (John 16:13) by bringing to their remembrance all things Jesus said and teaching them all things (John 14:26) He commanded to be observed (Matthew 28:20). To accomplish this, the Spirit was subservient to the Son (John 16:13); His focus was on glorifying Jesus (John 16:14) who was coronated King of kings and Lord of lords, the only Potentate after His ascension.
No world religion has the divine pedigree of Judaism or Christianity. None were attested by God with miracles, wonders, and signs. No world religion was designed to culminate in another, superior one. None, except the gospel of God (i.e., Christianity) which He promised before in the Holy Scriptures of the Jews.
The gospel is unique and powerful because of its Divine Origin.