By Rev Dr Edward Goh
The Gospel is not just the power of God to save sinners from hell; it is also the power of God for saints to live in faith and obedience. Paul’s closing words in Romans 16:25-27 point us to this Gospel as the means through which God strengthens believers.
Paul tells us in verses 25-26 that this Gospel was the mystery hidden in the past, but has now been revealed to us through the prophetic writings in the Bible. This happened just as God commanded. Hence this Gospel shows God is righteous, all-wise, and all-powerful. He fulfils whatever He has said, and so we can trust Him completely. By revealing God’s attributes and plan for the world, the Gospel brings men and women everywhere to obey God, by believing in Christ.
Romans 1-3 has shown us that the Gospel reveals our unrighteousness, that we have fallen short of God’s standard. In contrast to our unrighteousness, true righteousness is found at the cross where Christ’s blood was shed for our sins. There, God’s wrath was poured out on His Son, and God’s justice was satisfied. The cross is hence shown to be the right and only way God impartially judges sin, and at the same time, justly grants us the righteousness that belongs to His Son.
For Paul, this Gospel that shows God’s righteousness, wisdom and plan for the world also shaped how he saw life. Life was no longer about pleasing oneself. Rather, the advancement of the Gospel governed all his decisions, including his eating and drinking (Rom. 14:17). He became a man on God’s mission. Romans 15:16 says he counted this Gospel work as his priestly service to God. He offered his life to God by using it to serve the cause of the Gospel. His work in the Gospel became his service of worship (Rom. 12:1-2).
If the Gospel is God’s chosen means to strengthen us, as Romans 16:25 says, then it behoves us to not just know its message superficially, but deeply. Though it may feel familiar to us, how much we grasp its message is revealed by the extent the Gospel redirects our lives, our passions, our decisions, and hence our investments. The epistle of Romans is God’s invitation for us to look intently at the significance of the cross. May God, through the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the teaching of the Gospel in ORPC, fill, energise, and revitalise our lives for Him.