The Apostle Paul gives us a summary of the Gospel in Romans 16:25-27 with these words,
25 “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.”
This summary of the Gospel which closes Paul’s letter to the church at Rome is strikingly similar to Paul’s introduction of this letter in Romans 1:1-5.
First, this Gospel, this message of Good News is about Jesus Christ. Paul emphasizes that to confess Jesus as the Christ is to acknowledge that Jesus is both human and divine (Romans 1:3,4). He is the descendant of David in the flesh, and He is the divine Son of God (Romans 9:5).
Second, this Gospel is about Jesus Christ whose work for our salvation culminates in His resurrection from the dead. In Romans 1:4 the Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ was declared the Son of God with power by His resurrection from the dead. Although Jesus Christ was eternally the Son of God, it is with His resurrection from the dead that God the Father declares to the world with powerful evidence and verification that He is truly His Son. It is this Gospel which Paul proclaims and which the Church of Rome believes (Romans 16:25).
Third, this Gospel was foretold and predicted by the Scriptures of the prophets (Romans 16:26). I believe Paul’s use of the term prophets here is broader than just the major and minor prophets of the Old Testament. The apostle Paul is viewing the entire Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi as prophetic writings pointing to the coming of the Messiah. Such passages in the Old Testament anticipating and foreshadowing this coming King are: Genesis 3:15; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 16:8-11; Psalm 89; Psalm 132; Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 53; Jeremiah 23:5,6; Ezekiel 34:23,24. Christ’s person and work predicted and promised is the overarching theme of the Old Testament.
Fourth, this Gospel is addressed to all those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to bring about the obedience of faith (Romans 1:5; 16:26). This obedience flows from salvation and is always connected to ongoing faith. While Paul speaks of obeying the Gospel in Romans 10:16 as our initial response of trust in the Lord, the obedience of faith is not limited to this initial response. The obedience of faith includes both our justification and our ongoing transformation into the likeness of Christ.
May we trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation and continually yield to our Resurrected Lord who will transform us into His image. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Pastor Cedric R. Benner