“The gospel … the power of God”
Paul in writing to the Romans speaks about “the power of God”. But he is not referring to physical power such as will be shown at the time Jesus returns when the greatest earthquake ever (Revelation 16:18) and other terrible events occur.
God gave Isaiah a vision of this time, as we read last month in chapter 29 about events around Jerusalem (code named ‘Ariel’) “the city where David encamped” (verse 1) and how God will deal with “the multitude of all the nations … that fight against Mount Zion” (verse 8). Note especially verse 5-7.
We can reason that some of these events have a spiritual interpretation as the hearts of people tremble in fear, but there is no doubt that there is to be a remarkable and totally awesome physical manifestation of God’s power.
Now today, in Romans 1, we saw how Paul wrote of the gospel saying,
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (verse 16).
What is the point of Paul writing that his is not ashamed of the Gospel? Well, I recall when a Hindu (the manager of the Hotel at which I was staying in India, years ago) asked me to tell him about the Christian God as he could no longer believe the nonsense about an Elephant headed God! But what do we tell people about the true God? How do we describe “the power of God” – in a genuine scriptural sense?
Paul’s point is that the Gospel makes sense, compared to the nonsense surrounding the many gods (of human imagination) the Romans believed in. Today, we can say it makes sense – compared to the nonsense of the theory of evolution – that everything that exists, sort of invented itself, and there is no need for a creator God.
But we need to take this one step further and realise that to believe a gospel about believer’s having a future life in heaven is also nonsense! As it is a falsehood, it has no power at all. It is only the gospel God revealed to men through his son that has “power” – because it is truth, because it is based on historical fact, because the events of the First Century and what followed, only make sense when we accept them as truth: the evidence for them is so strong it had the power to turn the beliefs of the pagan Roman world upside down.
Have we let this gospel become a power in our lives – influencing every aspect of our thinking and doing? Only then will we really live a life worth living – and, in the future – experience the wonder of the far greater life God is about to reveal for those who genuinely love him.
Let us embrace “the power of God” through ‘the original gospel’ – showing this in every aspect of the way we live our lives.