“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 and Divine Origin (see last two posts), the gospel is powerful because of its incredible Purpose—“salvation”.
Because of sin’s widespread devastation, the salvation offered in God’s message of spiritual victory includes:
Justification (salvation from sin’s guilt). At no cost to its recipient, the wrath of God toward all human ungodliness and unrighteousness is propitiated by the precious, atoning blood of Christ (Romans 3:24-25). When the guilty is justified, it is “just-as-if-I’d never sinned”. Pardon has been granted. The unpayable debt of sin’s horrific guilt has been remitted.
Sanctification (salvation from sin’s practice). No longer do you have to be enslaved to sin. Baptism into Christ transforms a dead slave into a living son. Buried with Christ into death allows you to be raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:3-11). We certainly do not continue in sin so grace may abound (Romans 6:1-2). The gospel’s solution is far superior to this perverse offer of cheap “grace”.
God’s saving grace instructs all His sanctified ones to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and live soberly, righteously, and godly in this crooked and perverse generation (Titus 2:12). God’s redeemed saints do not conform to this world; rather, they are transformed by the renewing of their minds so they can prove the goodness, acceptability, and perfection of God’s holy will (Romans 12:2). A living sacrifice—holy and acceptable to God—is the reasonable life of priestly service which the sanctified live (Romans 12:1).
Glorification (salvation from sin’s scars). Not only is there no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (i.e., justification) who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (i.e., sanctification), the eternal redemption of our body (i.e., glorification) awaits all sons/heirs of God (Romans 8:1, 16-23). The purifying hope of salvation for all God’s children is that we shall be like Him (1 John 3:1-3), transformed into conformity with Christ’s glorious body (Philippians 3:21). Only heaven knows what are all the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:18).
There is no legitimate message of genuine spiritual victory other than the gospel. What an incredible Purpose with its powerful offers of justification, sanctification, and glorification!