WONDERFUL WORDS OF LIFE RADIO SERMON
February 29, 1976
THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
Romans 1:16 17
There is power in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact there is a power in the Gospel that cannot be found in
anything else in the whole experience of man. Paul makes the Gospel and its power the central theme of this
letter to the Roman Christians.
By the Gospel a Person is meant primarily. Already Paul has set forth this truth. The Gospel concerns God's
Son and our Lord Jesus Christ. This Jesus was from the seed of David in His humanity but by His resurrection
was declared to be the Son of God ac-cording to the Spirit of holiness. So the good news that has so much
power is about this Divine human person, about what He did for sinful man and about what He proposes to do
for sinful man.
Today our attention is drawn to this statement, "for I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power
of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
THE SOURCE OF THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
"For it is the power of God unto salvation". The power is "of God". God has chosen to demonstrate His power
through the message of the Gospel.
At first both the message of the Gospel and the messenger with the Gospel seem to be a rather weak thing. All
that you have is a mortal man standing before other mortal men to declare some basic facts about the life and
work of one, the Lord Jesus Christ. Could such a message and such an activity ever make any difference in a
life, or in the flow of history? It can! It can because God is pleased to place in that Gospel message His own
power. It is not just that God uses the message, but rather that God's energy is made to be resident in the
This should help us understand something! You may wonder why you were ever captiva¬ted and drawn by such
a simple account. Here is the truth! That was no ordinary message! The very power of Almighty God Himself is
in that message.
THE SCOPE OF THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
The Gospel does not have the power to do everything. It is specifically "the power of God unto salvation". That
confronts us with a very limited scope in one way, yet a very marvelous scope from another perspective. While
the Gospel only has the power to do one thing, it has the power to do the most important thing.
"Salvation" is the basic Biblical word used to refer to God's rescue of man from the plight into which his sin has
plunged him. Because of his sin, man finds himself condemned under the just penalty of the law of God. His only
prospect for the future is the wrath and judgment of Holy God. As he looks back to his past he is depressed by
a terrible weight of guilt. As he surveys his present, he finds himself to be the willing slave of his passions, sin
and Satan. He finds himself incapable of doing anything to blot out the past, change the present, or secure the
future. Salvation is the gracious act of God whereby He does just this. He takes the guilty sinner and delivers
him from the penalty of his sins, relieves him from the power of his sin, and assures him of sal¬vation from the
presence of his sin.
Only the Gospel has the power to do this. Medical science can make men healthy, but only the Gospel can
make it possible for man to be holy. Military science can secure a man from outward threats, but only the
Gospel can give a man eternal security. Earthly power can get a man into the important places of earth, but only
the Gospel can get a man into heaven. The power of riches can make a man's life luxurious, but only the Gos-
pel can make a man's life worth living. This is the scope of Gospel power!
This is the only power of the Gospel. The Gospel has the power to change the flow of history or the problems of
the human family only because it has the power to change men. It is the power of God unto salvation.
THE SECRET OF THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” This points us to the secret of the power of
the Gospel. This revelation of the Divine righteous¬ness is the power of the Gospel.
What is it that is revealed? To understand the letter to the Romans, we must understand this term
"righteousness of God". It will help us to understand the term if we will see two terms with which Paul contrasted
it. He contrasted it with "my own righteousness". While any personal righteousness cannot gain divine approval,
God's righteousness does have the approval of God. In another place Paul contrasted it with the "righteousness
which is of the law". By this term he meant that which man seeks to do in obedience to the law. This, too, cannot
gain divine approval. All of man's earnest attempts to be righteous only produces frustration at their best his
righteous deeds are only filthy garments, dirty old rags.
The "righteousness of God" which is revealed in the Gospel is a righteousness which God provides to man as a
gracious and free gift. It is the righteousness of God's own Son. It is the righteousness which already has the full
approval of Holy God. When man is clothed in this Divine righteousness he can enter boldly into the awful
presence of the eternal God.
The secret of the Gospel is that it unveils this righteousness. Man would never find this righteousness if the
Gospel did not unveil it. This is the "good" part of the "good news". That which man could not do, namely,
provide himself with a righteous¬ness, God has done. God did this by Christ Jesus taking the sin of man and
giving to man in exchange His own perfect righteousness. This would have to be good news in any language.
This is the secret of the Gospel's power to save.
THE SPHERE OF THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL
Where does the Gospel do its work? Obviously not everyone experiences this power. What determines which
one will know the power of the Gospel and which will not?
The sphere of the Gospel's power is not racial. It is demonstrated to be equally powerful among both Jew and
Greek. While it is true that its power was first demonstrated among the Jews, it is also known to those of other
The sphere of the Gospel's power is faith "to everyone that believeth". It is revealed "from faith to faith". This
confirms the profound statement through the prophet Habakkuk, "The just shall live by faith". But what is meant
by faith? The basic thrust of this word in this context is "trustful reliance" upon the One who cannot lie. Whoever
comes to God through Jesus Christ in response to the hearing of the proclamation of the good news personally
experiences the power of this Gospel. Wherever faith is found, the saving power of the Gospel will be found.
Some have been bothered by the statement "from faith to faith". Probably all that Paul meant to say by that
statement is that it is by faith and by faith alone.
It begins with faith and concludes with faith. From beginning to end it is faith.
Let us review a minute. Are you interested in becoming acceptable before God? Are you interested in getting rid
of all your sins in one transaction? Then the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the message. God has chosen to make
this Gospel of Jesus Christ the power of God unto salvation. By the power of this message, salvation is possible.
The secret of this is that God has provided through His Son, Jesus, our Lord, a right¬eousness which He has
already approved. Anyone dressed in this divinely provided righteousness is dressed appropriately for heaven.
The only condition is that of faith. The power of this Gospel is known only to those that believe.
Are you ready to respond to this message in faith?