In a day of doubt men need a message of certainty. In a time of fear we need a lesson of faith. In an age of frustration the word of Almighty God brings a message of hope! God has some good news for you and God’s good news Is powerful!
The apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16, “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.”
There are three important and significant matters in this statement about God’s good news to which we direct your attention. First, this message is full of power! God’s power! Second, God’s good news is designed to save men and women from sin and is for an abundant life now and unto everlasting life in heaven. Third, it is necessary for men to believe God’s good news in order to be blessed by the God-authored message.
Let us think together about the power of God in the gospel. The gospel is a message of power because God, the author of it, is a God of power!
The power of God is revealed in the wonders of the created universe. Paul in discussing the problem of agnosticism, atheism, and unbelief generally, so prevalent in first century society, said in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,…”
Is the chance theory of creation a reasonable or an adequate explanation for the existence of limitless space with the millions of starts, or for the sun, moon, and the earth? Is blind chance responsible for the season, for the mathematical precision with which this universe operates?
Consider man, his physiology – the sophisticated chemistry laboratory called his digestive system; the computer capabilities of the human brain; the power of the human eye – do you honestly believe that such delicate things came about through mere natural forces? Does not the design suggest to you a Designer?
There is an interesting passage in the book of Hebrews, Hebrews 3:4 which states, “For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God.” Do you believe the first part of this statement, that “every house is built by someone”? What about the house in which you live? Did it just happen? Perhaps you live in an apartment complex, or in a condominium, or in a very small house; in any case, does not the existence of the house reveal a builder? Well, look at the heavens and the earth. The sweet singer of Israel said in Psalm 19:1-3, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. 2 Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard.”
What is the message declared by the heavens? They are saying by their very existence, by the mathematical precision by which they operate, that “the hand that made us is divine.”
How did a powerful God bring the heavens and the earth into being? Hebrews 11:3 states, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” The worlds were framed by the word of God! There was, therefore, creative power in the word of Almighty God!
Not only did God have the capability to create the heavens and earth by His marvelous might, He had the power to raise His Son, Jesus Christ from the dead!
Paul the peerless apostle, had a deep desire that Ephesian saints might be able to understand the “working of His (God’s) mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.” Let’s read Ephesians 1:18-20, “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,…”
Furthermore, this same Almighty God had a mighty power that enabled Him to bring men from a state of spiritual dead, or, a condition of being separated from God because of sin.
If one continues to examine the Ephesian passage, he will see the force of the conjunction with which Ephesians 2:1 begins, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,” In other words, if God by a “mighty power” could bring His Son from physical death, He could bring these people from Ephesus from spiritual death.
God’s Power in The Gospel
Now in Romans 1 Paul talks about the power of God in the gospel. Please remember that this inspired apostle has given a simple but beautiful explanation of the word “gospel.” He called the gospel in Romans 10:15, “glad tidings of good things.”
Indeed, the gospel is a message of power because the God who authored it is a God of power! There have been I times past, human messages which had power to move men. Churchill’s “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” speech was, in a sense, a marshalling of language to make of it an implement of warfare.
The gospel is a powerful instrument to deliver men from the defiling, destroying, contaminating and condemning power of sin. This idea leads us to consider with you the second important part of the power of God’s good news according to Romans 1:16. Paul said, “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.” “Unto salvation…” is the part we want to focus on now. “Salvation” is an important concept in the Scriptures. In fact, man’s salvation is the purpose of divine revelation. God did not reveal the gospel to entertainment. There are a number of ways by which people entertain themselves and by which they are entertained. God’s gospel is designed to save men.
Now, some people do not thrill at the possibility of salvation because they have never appreciated the fact of alienation or separation from God because of sin. Conviction of sin, a realization and recognition of the reality of sin, are necessary to conversion or salvation.
After all, why did the Son of God come to this sin-cursed earth? Indeed as John says in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh…” but why?
You know, prior to the Savior’s birth, the angel, or heavenly messenger, told Joseph that the virgin’s babe should be called “Jesus.” Why? Well, the name “Jesus” means “Savior,” or “deliverer.” The Scriptures say, in Matthew 1:21, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
After the Lord had spent several years upon this earth, and during the time of His active ministry, He made the following statement in the city of Jericho found in Luke 19:10, “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Why did the One who, from eternity, was with God and who was Himself Deity, why did He as Paul says in Philippians 2:5-8, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Well, the Bible connects salvation with the cross of Christ! God’s good word informs us in passages like Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14 that forgiveness of sins comes through the precious blood of Christ.
When we consider forgiveness of sins we are thinking about salvation because the salvation of the gospel is salvation from sin! The word “Salvation” means “deliverance from the power and consequences of sin.”
The Son of God can save men from sin. HE can deliver men from the bondage of sin. Sin does enslave men. But Jesus Christ can free men from sin’s bondage. This freedom is called redemption. It is made possible by Christ’s death as the apostle Peter exclaims in 1 Peter 1:18, 19, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” To be saved is to be redeemed!
The Lord Jesus Christ can deliver men from the defilement of sin. Sin fills the conscience with guilt. However, through forgiveness the guilt is removed, even as it is written in Ephesians 1:7, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” Deliverance from the guilt of sin is made possible through forgiveness and this forgiveness is salvation!
Sin surely brings men under condemnation as Paul says in Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” But salvation is justification. So Paul could write in Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
`A man who is justified from sin has been pardoned by God. Our Lord made justification possible by paying the price for sin, or by dying for sinners. In Romans 5:6 let’s note, “…when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
So, “salvation,” this “deliverance from the power and consequences of sin,” means that one is redeemed or liberated from the rule of sin in and over his life. Salvation is forgiveness: The guilt of sin is removed. Men who are delivered from the power and control of sin are, in being saved, reconciled to God.
As surely as man’s salvation was designed by Almighty God, as certainly as salvation is made available to men through the blood of God’s Son, so it is revealed or made know to men in, by, and through the gospel!
God’s good news is a message of salvation! Salvation from sin! With these matters in mind let us read again Romans 1:16, “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.”
Is God a God of power? He created the heavens and earth didn’t He? He raised Jesus Christ from the dead, didn’t He? He brought people at Ephesus from spiritual death in sin to new life in Christ, didn’t He?
If God is a God of power, and He is, if the gospel is His power to save men from sin, and it is. Then let men today believe the truth – that God’s power to save is brought to men through the gospel of Christ! You notice that I used the word “believe.” In Romans 2:26, Paul says that the gospel is God’s power unto salvation “to everyone who believes.”
Believe the Message
This brings us, then, to the third important aspect of God’s good news: men must believe the message in order to be blessed or saved by that message. In this same Roman letter we see that with the heart man believes as Romans 10:10 says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
When a man hears the gospel, this God-given message about salvation through Christ that man who has heard the message has two options: (1) He may with his heart, disbelieve the message, or (2) he may, with his heart, believe the message. The Bible takes about an unbelieving heart in Hebrews 3:12, “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;”
Belief gives God’s powerful message an opportunity to work in the life of an individual; unbelief nullifies God’s power! Unbelief keeps one under condemnation, or in a lost condition. Jesus said in Mark 16:16, “…he who does not believe will be condemned.” In this connection the Lord was giving the great commission, that great charge or challenge to His disciples which would move them to preach the gospel!
Once a person sees the simple but important truth, namely, that God’s power to save men is in a message, the gospel, “glad tidings of good things,” then with an honest and good heart men can believe the gospel to their own salvation.
But what does it mean to believe the gospel? Surely it means to accept in and with the heart the facts of this message as set forth in 1 Corinthians 15:1-3, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,”
Moreover, to believe the gospel means that one accepts the command of the gospel as valid and binding. Every time Scripture uses the expression, “obey the gospel,” as in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 and 1 Peter 4:17, there is an obvious implication of certain commands.
There are commands which men must believe and obey in order to be saved by the gospel which, I remind you, is God’s power unto salvation, but only to those who believe the message.
As surely as God’s powerful message, this gospel, requires men to repent of their sins, and it makes this kind of requirement in Luke 24:46-47; Acts 17:30-31; and Acts 2:38; as surely as the gospel demands repentance; then men must repent in order to have the hope of forgiveness.
The “gospel,” as set forth in Romans especially chapter 1 and chapter 10, involves an oral confession. With the mouth one is to confess the Lord Jesus. In Romans 10:10 Paul says, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” This is part of what the Bible calls “obeying the gospel” as Paul says in romans 10:16, “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?"
Furthermore, the gospel, this powerful saving message of God, instructs men to be baptized as Jesus says in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Baptism is important because in obeying this command of the gospel one reaches the cleansing, pardoning, forgiving, redeeming blood of Christ as Paul says in Romans 6:3-4, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
God has a powerful message containing good news. But unless and until you and I believe that message – the facts and the commands – then the promises of the God-authored message are not our precious possession.
I’m sure you have observed the way people generally react to news. It is not uncommon for one to react in disbelief to news of a personal or family tragedy. Perhaps you had seen your mother, or your father only a few minutes or hours prior to the time that the phone call informs you that one of your parents has died of a heart attack, or both of them have been in an auto accident. Maybe people react in disbelief to this kind of ness subconsciously, feeling that disbelief cancels the reality.
But sometimes people respond to good news with the same belief with which they attempt to nullify bad news.
What if your telephone rang to inform you that your name had been drawn and that you were the winner of five thousand dollars? Would you have trouble believing that kind of message?
Maybe you wouldn’t believe the message because you were confident that the one giving the message was trying to be funny or someone was pulling a cruel joke on you. Or, let us assume that you have trouble believing the message because you just couldn’t imagine anything like that happening to you!
The gospel is God’s message. Believe it, my friends, as your speaker believes the gospel. Believe it with your heart, with all your heart. Because your faith in the facts, in the promises, and in the commands of the gospel is the means whereby God’s great power touches your soul and life for good – now and eternally!
Almighty God has a power to save you from sin. This power is in a good message, the gospel! This power can reach out to every man who will believe it – it reaches out to black, white, red and yellow; it reaches out to the rich, the poor, or the middle class; it reaches out to those who are formally educated but it reaches out to those uneducated; it reaches out to those who are sick and to those who are well; it reaches out to those who are lonely, sad, discouraged, and despondent; it reaches out to the careless and the carefree. By reaching out, the gospel can reach into the heart when the heart of man then, in belief of the gospel facts and in obedience to the gospel commands, reaches up to God, the j of forgiveness, the precious peace of pardon and the refreshing hope of heaven become real blessings.