“Paul’s introduction to his letter to the church in Rome makes it quite apparent that the entire epistle’s theme is the good news of “the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1).
Bracketing Romans is the apostle’s reminder to his readers that he was called to be “set apart for the gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1) and a”minister of Christ Jesus… in the priestly service of the gospel of God” (Rom. 15:16).
This good news of the gospel is
- “the good news of the kingdom of God” (Luke 16:16),
- “good news… of Jesus Christ” (Acts 8:12),
- “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36),
- “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24),
- “the gospel of his Son” (Rom. 1:9),
- “the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13),
- “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” (1 Tim. 1:11).
Surrounded by bad news at every turn, the church has been entrusted with good news, the good news of the gospel, which finds its foundation in God himself.
The gospel is not an earthly message but a heavenly message. Paul says that this is the “gospel of God‘ (Rom. 1:1).
The gospel is about God– His holiness, love, grace, wrath, and righteousness. But Paul’s main emphasis here is that the gospel is from God.
He is the single author and architect of the gospel. The gospel doesn’t originate in the church.
The church doesn’t devise the gospel. The church hasn’t crafted the gospel.
The gospel is a message given to the bride of Christ announcing his mediatorial triumph over sin, death, and the world.
The word translated “gospel” is a compound in Greek, euangelion. The prefix eu means “good.” The primary root word angelion means “messenger” or “message.”
When those two words are placed together, the word gospel simply means “good news.”
The gospel is the good news of salvation through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. It is the message that sinners can be rescued from God’s wrath against sin through the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ upon the cross and his triumphant resurrection from the dead.
This isn’t only good news; it’s beautifully good news. We will never hear anything more surpassingly beautiful than the truth that Jesus Christ is a willing liberator and Savior of sinners.
What specifically is the message of God’s beautiful gospel?
God sent His Son, the second person of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ, to rescue sinners.
He was born of a virgin and lived a sinlessly perfect and obedient life under the law.
He was crucified on a cross as a substitute to pay the penalty of God’s wrath against the sins of all those who would ever believe.
In His body, He bore on that tree the punishment due to sinners, and His perfect righteousness was imputed to them, making them acceptable in the sight of God.
He was buried in a borrowed tomb and on the third day rose from the dead.
He ascended back to the authority and power of the right hand of his Father to intercede for all believers.
Now, everyone who by faith “calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ (Rom. 10:13).
No church has the freedom to tamper with, tweak, add to, or subtract from the good news of Jesus Christ– we are just to herald it.
For there is nothing more beautiful and lovely in the sight of God than the extricating of sinners from the kingdom of darkness and delivering them to the kingdom of light.”
–Dustin Benge, The Loveliest Place: The Beauty and Glory of the Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022), 122-124.