God's Good News

Paul presents his most detailed explanation of the “Good News of God” in his letter to the churches of Rome. At issue were conflicts between Gentile and Jewish believers in the Assembly. Moreover, he was preparing the ground for taking the Gospel to the western regions of the Roman Empire. His letter addressed several related topics - death, sin, redemption, the Law, resurrection, and the New Creation.

In explaining the “Gospel of God,” Paul connected the Gift of the Spirit, the future resurrection, and immortal life in the coming New Creation, the “redemption of our bodies.” He began by describing the plight of humanity resulting from Adam’s disobedience, and he presented the solution provided by God through His Son.

Crocuses - Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash
[Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash]

All men are in the same dilemma. Disobedience alienates them from God and condemns every member of humanity to weakness, decay, and death. No one is exempt, neither Jew nor Greek, not even the most righteous saint in the history of Israel. Even the holy law given by God proved incapable of reversing this horrific reality. No one could be set right before God “
from the works of the Law.”

Paul identified himself as “Paul, a called apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets.” In his Apostolic role, he proclaimed the Good News about the one who was “marked out as Son of God by power, according to a spirit of holiness, from a resurrection from among dead ones” - (Romans 1:1-4).

The Gospel is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Jews and Gentiles are justified by God on the same basis, faith. God has “revealed a righteousness from faith for faith” through His Son, but the proclamation of His Good News also reveals His “wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.”

Sinners resist what truth they may possess from knowledge gleaned from the created order (“The invisible things of him since the creation of the world are seen, being perceived through the things that are made”). Having rejected the God who created all things, they exchange the worship of Him for that of the “likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things” – namely, idolatrous worship.

Therefore, God “delivered them to the lusts of their hearts.” The presence of the very sins that humanity revels in demonstrates that men are under His “wrath” even before the final judgment. The “wrath” of God includes His handing men over to engage in the sins for which they lust. The picture in Chapter 1 of idolatry run amok has the Gentiles in view.

What about Jews? Are they any better off than the idolatrous Gentiles? Paul answers in the negative - “No, certainly not, for we before laid to the charge both of Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.”

He cites several passages from the Hebrew Bible proving that all men have sinned. Everyone is in the same desperate situation, including the most rigorously Torah-observant Jews. “There is none righteous, no, not one… There is none that does good, no, not so much as one.”

What about the Law? Does not its possession give Israel an advantage over unenlightened Gentiles? Yes and no. The Jews have it. They understand what God requires. However, the Law speaks to those who are “within the Law,” that is, Israel:

  • So that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under penal sentence of God, because from the works of the law will no flesh be set right in his sight. For through law is the awareness of sin” - (Romans 3:19).

Paul writes, “For through law is the AWARENESS of sin.” The English term “awareness” translates the Greek noun epignôsis, a compound of the preposition epi and the noun gnosis. The latter means “knowledge.” Compounded with epi, it acquires a fuller sense such as “full knowledge,” “understanding,” and “comprehension.”

Because Jews are taught the Law, they comprehend what God requires, and what will result from violating His statutes, putting devout Jews in double jeopardy since they are without excuse. They are at greater risk of enduring God’s “wrath” than unenlightened Gentiles who do not live “within the Law.”

In contrast to the Law, the Gospel provides a solution for both Jews and Gentiles, “The righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ for all who believe, for there is no distinction; all have sinned and lack the glory of God.”

Jews and Gentiles are justified “through the redemption in Christ Jesus.” Thus, a man is put into a right relationship with God from faithapart from the works of the Torah.” In this way, God demonstrates His love for all men:

  • While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now set right through his blood, we will be saved from the wrath through him. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.”

When Paul says we are saved “through his life,” he means the resurrection life of Jesus. Sin is not reckoned to us if we believe God “raised Jesus from among the dead.” He was delivered to death for our trespasses and “raised for our justification.” This is the plight of all men. “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; thus, death passed to all men since all have sinned.”


Death is the penalty for sin. In the passage in Chapter 5, Paul refers to Adam and his disobedience in the Garden. That first sin doomed all men to death and enslavement under sin, the just punishment for disobedience. Not that all die for Adam’s sin, for all men sin. Therefore, all men deserve death. Fortunately, God did not leave us without hope:

  • If by the trespass of the one man, the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many… For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ.”

Believers have been baptized into Christ’s death. “Just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we also walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection… if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death no more has dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God.”

The counterpart to death is resurrection. That knowledge should reorient our lives, including our relationship to the Law. We also must “become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that we should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead.” Despite being justified by God, believers are still subject to death.

However, “If the Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised Jesus from the dead will give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit.” Believers remain mortal in the present age. However, the Gift of the Spirit is the guarantor and foretaste of their future resurrection when Jesus returns.

The Spirit dwells in mortal believers and attests that they are the “children of God” and “coheirs with Christ.” The creation also is in “earnest expectation” as it awaits the day when the “sons of God will be revealed.”

Adam’s disobedience subjected the creation to decay and death, but all creation will be freed from this “bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God…at our adoption, that is, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:10-23).

Thus, Paul links the Gift of the Spirit, the bodily resurrection, and the New Creation. The “redemption of our bodies” refers to our future resurrection when Jesus “arrives.” In the meantime, the believer’s participation in the resurrection and life in the “New Heavens and New Erath” is guaranteed by the Gift of the Spirit.

If the Universe is anticipating that final event, then its arrival can only mean the commencement of the New Creation. Who, then, “shall separate us from the love of Christ?” Certainly NOT death!

  • The Spirit and Resurrection - (The Gift of the Spirit is Firstfruits of the bodily resurrection and a foretaste of the promised New Creation)
  • The Earnest of the Inheritance - (Believers are the heirs of Abraham, and the possession of their inheritance is secured by possession of the Gift of the Spirit)
  • The Spirit of Christ - (The Spirit of Christ that indwells the true believer will quicken his or her mortal body at the future resurrection – Romans 8:18-39)

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