Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus , called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1)
Paul introduces himself as a servant of Christ. He goes on further to say why he is a servant of Christ; he was set apart to proclaim the gospel of God. And as a servant, Christ did not call him to proclaim his own ideas and philosophies; as many preachers do today in the name of preaching. The Christian message takes its source from God. It is God’s message to human kind. The word gospel simply means good news. Hence the Christian message — the gospel of God is the good news of God.
Now good news exists because there is bad news. The bad news is that human beings are sinners separated from God by sin and damned for condemnation (Ps. 51:5, Jer. 17:9, Jn 3:18-19, Rom. 3:23, 6:23; Eph. 2:1).
However, God in his mercy has made a way of escape for the sinner and this way is faith in Christ Jesus (Jn.1:12, 3:16, Rom.3:24; 28, 5:1). Christ is the ‘content‘ of God’s message. The gospel of God, Paul says was “…promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh“(v.2–3). Paul here tells us plainly that God’s message is about Christ. And where we find this message is in Scripture. Christ is, as I have already mentioned, the ‘content’ of God’s message. Christ is our kerygma—the proclamation of the Christian message.
One may further ask, “What about Christ?” Paul answers that Christ “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord” (v.4). The Christian message is centred on the death and ressurection of Christ. That’s the gospel: “…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…he was buried…he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1Cor. 15:3-4).
The gospel—Christ’s death and resurrection is the only hope by which sinners will be saved. Sinners can only be reconciled to God as they believe in the gospel and repent from their sins. Paul says in 1 Cor. 1:17 that Christ did not send him to preach the gospel “with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power”. There is power in the preaching of the cross —death and resurrection — of Christ for the salvation of sinners (1Cor 1:18).
The gospel—the message of the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of sinners is more relevant to our human condition than the so called relevant messages —motivational and prosperity— we hear often. Any message not centred on Christ and his finished work on Calvary is no gospel. The gospel is not God has a purpose for you. The gospel is not God cares about you. The gospel is not God will heal you. The gospel is Christ died for sinners and rose again that through faith in him sinners will have eternal life.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.