“The Greatness of the Gospel” (Part 1)
August 9, 2015
I have in my closet some important letters — Raye Jeanne wrote them to me when we were dating and not yet married. Over the 13 months that we dated before marriage I suppose I have 100 or more letters (hard copies — on genuine paper and cards!). They speak of a love that has now flourished for more than 28 years.
You have in your hands an important book that is a compilation of 66 books. Together, they are a letter of love from God to man and the most important tome one will ever read. Individually, they all bear the same message of the same God. All of them individually are profitable for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training in righteousness.
At the same time, some books stand out in particular ways, and as I’ve noted previously, Romans has been called the greatest letter in the greatest book (the Bible) ever written. Luther said of this book, “This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well.” [“Preface to Romans.”] And this morning we arrive at the key verses and theme of this great letter, 1:16-17.
One writer has said, “These two verses express the theme of the book of Romans, and they contain the most life-transforming truth God has put into men’s hands.” [MacArthur, p. 49.] Another has written, “These two verses have an importance all out of proportion to their length. The weighty matter they contain tells us much of what this epistle is about. Barrett can say, ‘Most commentators recognize in them the “text” of the epistle; it is not wrong to see in them a summary of Paul’s theology as a whole.” [Morris, Romans, p. 66.]
We might summarize these two verses this way:
The gospel is God’s saving power, revealed through His righteousness.
These two verses contain four declarations of the greatness of the gospel (we will look at the first two this week).
- There is No Shame in the Gospel (v. 16a)
- The Gospel is Powerful (v. 16b)
- The Gospel Reveals the Righteousness of God (v. 17a)
- The Gospel is Realized through Faith
Download the rest of this sermon from Romans 1:16-17.
The audio will be posted on the GBC website later today.