A final thought on our first study in Romans 1:1–7 yesterday morning (June 14, 2015) entitled, “What is the Gospel?”:
I mentioned that as Bible-believing, evangelical* Christians we so often talk about “the gospel” in such impersonal terms. We throw phrases around like, “It’s the gospel that justifies; it’s the gospel that sanctifies; the motivation for obedience is the gospel.” Paul also speaks of “the gospel” as shorthand. In Romans 1:15 he tells the Roman Christians “I am eager to preach the gospel to you.” But he does this having already spoken of the gospel with the qualifying phrases “the gospel of God” (1:1) and “the gospel of his Son” (1:9). The point being is that Paul speaks of the gospel not as an abstract principle but as a person. He says he was set apart to preach the gospel (1:1) and that it was promised by ancient prophets (1:2). Then he uses the preposition “concerning” (Greek, περὶ) to specify what this gospel is in reference to: “his Son,” that is, Jesus Christ, whom he goes on to describe in terms of his humiliation and exaltation (1:3–4).
Why is this important?
- Our God is personal. We have a tri-personal God, in fact—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Our salvation is personal. The eternal person of the Son became the Lord Jesus Christ that he might save sinful persons like you and me.
- Our worship is personal. Saved persons come to meet publicly and corporately with our personal God not at a distance, but face to face as friends.
- Our evangelism is personal. We seek to speak one-on-one with our actual loved ones about a relationship with the Creator who made them, whom they have offended, but who has provided his own Son to make them his sons and daughters.
In a word, we need to speak much more personally about the God who loves us and whom we love because his good news to us is the person of his Son.
*By “evangelical” I mean the historic use of the term, meaning, Protestants who believe the gospel of God’s free grace in Jesus Christ alone.