Romans 1:2-3 “the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who was a descendant of David according to the flesh,”
When I was young I tended to hyper focus on the New Testament. The prevailing thought was that the Old Testament was a bunch of interesting stories but the real meat for practical living was found in the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament.
The more I took my own spiritual growth seriously, the more I studied and tried to learn God’s Word on my own. The more I studied, the more I realized how most of New Testament theology was found in Old Testament doctrine.
Look a little closer at the words of Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles and you’ll see their references to ancient literature.
Acts 13:32-33 “And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm:
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’
There are many prophecies concerning the Messiah in Old Testament literature but the focus here is how the gospel has always been present. Jesus is certainly the center of the gospel, so we can’t have a gospel focus without embracing the coming Messiah.
The promise made to the fathers was the gospel; that people could not be justified by the law and so a greater grace had to be revealed. Jesus’ sacrifice was and is the revelation of God’s grace.
The glad tidings as spoken of by Luke would have been a key indicator for the promised Savior.
Consider the conditions for such a proclamation:
- Zechariah was given this reason for joy when the angel Gabriel announced the coming birth of John who would prepare the way for the Messiah.(Luke 1:19)
- The angel of the Lord exclaimed the same as he announced the birth of the Messiah. (Luke 2:10)
- The good news of Isaiah was the prophetic revelation of the coming KIng.(Isaiah 40:9)
- The good news was announced to the Ninevites, a model for the good news that was to come through God’s people.(Nahum 1:15)
There are many examples of the gospel being preached to the people of old, even though the Messiah had not been given, they looked forward with eager anticipation for their eventual release from Sheol.
34-35 “And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:
‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.
’Therefore He also says in another Psalm:‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
Just as Jesus did not see the corruption of His body, His people likewise will never see corruption. This is certainly good news and the hope of salvation became fulfilled through Jesus’ life.
Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
You see, the gospel was given to the Patriarch’s as a promise of things to come. Jesus fulfilled the promise of God revealed since the fall of mankind.
Just like today, there are those who receive the gospel with joy, and there are those who despise it’s message which leads to their ruin.
Acts 13:40-41 “Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
‘Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you.’ ”
I have known scoffers who have asked why God doesn’t just appear in the sky and remind everyone that He is real. The idea was that by proving Himself true, God would set aside all fear and doubt in the hearts of those who have rejected Him.
In reality, we have a model of what that would look like; Jesus appeared and herod tried to kill Him. Jesus proclaimed the gospel and many only followed for the reward or the intrigue of miracles. Ultimately, the people responded by crucifying Him on the cross and His closest followers fled in fear.
The call of God on a person’s life comes by way of the Holy Spirit, the gospel is the means by which the message is revealed.
Receiving the Gospel
Acts 13:48 “Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.”
Do you see the response of those who believe?
- The Word of God is lifted up
- Gladness springs forth
- Belief is evident
John 1:12-13 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Once belief is evident in the hearer, the right to be called a child of God is given. It is not earned, it is a right that Jesus made possible by His life.
- Family heritage does not make you qualified
- You cannot earn this right
- You cannot will yourself into God’s good grace
- Only God imparts salvation
The Gospel is the greatest news ever revealed, it is the highest honor to be called to carry, and for those who bear the message faithfully, there is reward.
Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Do you lack Joy?
Do you know the fellowship of the Spirit?
The key is sharing the gospel.