The Power of the Gospel

by Jerry Senn

“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. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed, from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’”
—Romans 1:16–17

Paul had recently become an acknowledged leader of the early church. He established groups of believers everywhere and wrote 13 letters to encourage and instruct them about Jesus and salvation.

He had never been to Rome, so he was anxious to visit the brothers there. He hoped to make it a jumping off place for mission work in Spain. He felt obligated (indebted) to share the powerful message with everyone. 

Paul knew the gospel gives meaning to life. It can deliver the goods. In his day, men constantly sought salvation–peace of mind and heart, peace for their souls. Men still seek salvation, but somehow they miss the real message of the gospel.

In far too many churches Christianity has been reduced to another religion, complete with rituals, rules and all things thought necessary to “reach up to God.” But this is NOT the gospel Paul preached. There are several things the gospel is not:

  1. The gospel is not laws and rules, burdens. It is not a religion at all, as we know institutional religions today.
  2. Nor is the gospel made up of man-made ideas — human wisdom.
  3. The gospel is not anti-intellectual, but calls for submission to our Creator God whose righteousness we may enjoy, freedom for sin, guilt, shame, and uncertainty of our future after death.

The gospel is good news from God in Jesus Christ. It is God saying to man, “I love you; the burden is off your back. I have reached down to do something for you. Christ died for your sin, your guilt, your inadequacy. Christ rose from death to life. And if your faith rests in him you will one day rise to life with him. It is for those who know they are undeserving sinners in need of acceptance and forgiveness from the Lord (Romans 1:5; 3:23). 

This is what the book of Romans is all about. Please “take it up and read” with care and be blessed.