Psalms: 61, 62 & 68:1-20
OT: Jer. 2:1-13
NT: Rom. 1:16-25
Gospel: John 4:43-54
What do you think of when you hear someone say, “The Gospel”? Some of us think about four point outlines or The Romans Road. Others think about service. Still others, think about the crucifixion and resurrection. Some people may think about Jesus being victorious over sin and death. You might think about how to get to heaven or how to avoid hell. Maybe you think about music.
Do you think about power?
Actually, do you think about an eternal power that undoes sin and death and ultimately overcomes the evil of this world and sets all things right?
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:16-25, ESV)
He is not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. When Paul thought of the gospel he thought of power. This power was from God and it was able to bring about salvation. A salvation that undoes the brokenness of this world forever.
Nothing but faith is required of us. “The righteous shall live by faith.” God’s righteousness, Paul writes, is “revealed from faith for faith.” That is, we experience and enter into God’s righteousness through faith and by no other means.
I want you to notice that the “wrath of God” that is revealed is against broken action and beliefs. It is not against men themselves, but against their acts of ungodliness and unrighteousness. The other thing that is important to grasp is that the unrighteous acts of people have at their center a suppression of truth that is played out through idolatry. When humanity gives itself over to the worship of something or someone other than the Creator God, then it falls apart.
Paul argues that, “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” Therefore humanity has no excuse to worship falsely. To avoid worship of the Creator, we must actively suppress the truth of who he is.
Why do we go out of our way to suppress the truth? I think it’s because if we don’t then we have to come to grips with the reality that there is a God. If there is a God then it changes everything. It means that we are not our own. It means that forgiveness is available to us. It also means that we have to forgive and give grace. It means that all that stuff Jesus said isn’t just some sort of morality speak but it is to shape our lives.
If the gospel is the power of God, then the way we understand power is completely upside down and backwards. Power then must be understood as life through death, authority through service, and power through weakness.