. . . which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures.
–Romans 1:2

In Romans 1, Paul gave us several characteristics of the gospel. He said the gospel was described in the Old Testament. Romans 1:2 says the gospel was “promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures.” One of the charges against Paul was that he was preaching a brand-new message that contradicted Judaism. But Jesus was a Jew. Paul was a Jew. Peter was a Jew. Almost all the New Testament writers were Jews. There would be no gospel without the Jews. Christianity is not a contradiction of Judaism; it is the completion of Judaism. Paul was saying the idea of a Messiah, a Savior who would take away the sins of the world, did not start in the New Testament; it was foretold in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Paul also said the gospel is dependent on Jesus Christ. The gospel is about “His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1:3-4). Do you realize that almost every other religion is built around the teachings of its founder? Not so with Christianity. The basis of the Christian faith is not the teaching of Jesus; it is the person and work of Jesus Christ. That is why Christianity is different than other religions.

The gospel depends on three aspects of Christ’s life. First, the gospel is based on Christ’s humanity. Paul said the gospel concerns God’s Son, “who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh” (1:3). Some people in Paul’s day said Jesus was not really human; He was a spirit that just appeared to be human. But Paul said Jesus was born of the flesh. That is important because it means Jesus identifies with us. There is no adversity that strikes you, no temptation that befalls you, and no heartbreak that engulfs you that Jesus has not experienced.

Second, the gospel is also based on Christ’s deity. “He was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1:4). The resurrection did not make Jesus the Son of God, but it proved He was the Son of God. The resurrection proved Jesus did not die for His own sins; instead, He died for our sins. God accepted that sacrifice and proved it to the world by lifting Jesus out of the grave.

Third, the gospel is built on Christ’s lordship. Paul said in verse 4: “Jesus Christ our Lord.” That was the earliest Christian confession of faith: Jesus is Lord. When people were baptized in the first century, they would say, “Jesus is Lord.” In Romans 10:9, Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” What is the big deal about that? The word “Lord” is the Greek word “kurios.” That word is the Greek translation of the most holy name for God: Yahweh–the one God, the sovereign over all the universe. Jesus Christ is Lord.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Good News from a Distant Land” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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