The GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST is GOD’s POWER to SALVATION: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17)
The above passage reveals the best explanation of the gospel message found in the entire Bible. Apostle Paul is passionate to take “the gospel of Christ” or, "the good news" that there can be deliverance from the power and dominion of sin through Jesus Christ. Paul’s fervor to preach the gospel is rooted in its power to rescue people from the tragic consequences of their own sin. Jesus Christ is the author and provider of salvation for humankind (see 3:24, 25; 5:21; Acts 4:12; Heb. 12:2). This spiritual deliverance is graciously and lovingly offered by God to all people, but only those who repent and trust in Jesus will experience its blessings (see John 3:16; Eph. 2:8, 9; Heb. 2:3).
In stating the theme of the gospel as the good news that Christ died for our sins, Paul makes a bold claim that he is not ashamed of proclaiming this news as he may have been cognizant of the warning given by the Lord Jesus Christ earlier: “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). Thus, Paul not only felt obligated (v. 14) and eager (v. 15) to proclaim the gospel, but he was not ashamed to do so (v. 16). The reason was that the gospel message has tremendous intrinsic ability to effect changes in the lives of the people who accepted the message and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!
The essential facts of the gospel of Jesus Christ as stated in 1 Cor. 15:3 include the following: the incarnation of the Son of God, His atoning death on the cross for our sins, His victorious resurrection for our justification, and the promise of His return for His people. The appeal of the gospel is for people to respond to these truths in repentance and faith. The gospel is effective only in those who believe the good news that Jesus is the Christ and that He has done everything necessary to save us. The gospel has a special relevance to Israel which was God’s primary instrument in bringing blessing to the world (Exod. 19:5–6). So, God gave the Jews the first opportunity to receive His Son Jesus Christ. Today, the Great Commission makes no distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles (Matt. 28:19–20), and the gospel is for all who believe!
The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel. First the gospel tells us that God’s righteousness demands that sins be punished, and the penalty is eternal death. But then we hear that God’s love provided what His righteousness demanded. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die as a substitute for sinners, paying the penalty in full. Now because His righteous claims have been fully satisfied, God can save all those who avail themselves of the work of Christ - all who believe and accept His substitutionary death on their behalf!
The New Testament speaks of salvation in the past tense (Eph. 2:8), in the present tense (2 Cor. 2:15), and in the future tense (13:11). In the past, the believer has been saved from the penalty of sin. In the present, the believer is being saved from the power of sin. In the future, the believer will be saved from the very presence of sin (see Matt. 5:10–12; 8:17; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 2:11–13; Rev. 22:12). The basic outcome of salvation is wholeness and fellowship with God as it restores people back to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Salvation is a comprehensive process as it involves many aspects of deliverance including justification, redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, and glorification. The more we consider the marvelous truth of salvation, the more thankful to God we will be, and the more eager we will be to share with others the hope that is in us.
The first followers of Jesus experienced the power of the gospel in such a profound way that they changed the entire Roman world during their time. Apostle Paul also felt no shame in the gospel of Christ, for he saw it as powerful enough to transform lives. So, he preached the gospel without fear. Our loyalty to Jesus Christ should be seen and heard in our lives through the gospel that we present to others. Today, Jesus Christ sends us out to bring others in through His gospel. Remember, the gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s power to salvation!