Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gospel of the kingdom in Romans

I want to take a fresh look at Romans.  Is 'the gospel' in Romans different than the gospel of the kingdom, or gospel of heaven that Jesus and his disciples preached in 'the gospels'?

Gospel appears 12 times in Romans, first in chapter 1 verse 1.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Rom 1:1-5)

A quick scan of the next 11 hits does not give a verse that gives a full definition for 'the gospel'.  Unless your definition of 'the gospel' is 'Jesus is the gospel'.... which I think is true at many levels.

Romans 1:2
the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures

Romans 1:9
God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you

Romans 1:15
That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome.

Romans 1:16
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.

Romans 1:17
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."

Romans 2:16
This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Romans 11:28
As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,

Romans 15:16
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:19
by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

Romans 15:20
It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation.

Romans 16:25
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past,
However, I think when Jesus and His disciples went from town to town preaching the gospel of the kingdom, it was something like this: (see Mark 1:14-15)
God's kingdom is here!
The reign of God is here!
Change your life, believe this message!

Did you know God's power is available to you? You don't have to do everything in your own strength and wisdom. If you allow God to rule in your life, instead of your selfish ambitions He will restore your life to what it was intended to be.
So I'm wondering if this gospel continued to be taught by Paul in Romans?  I'll start my search in Romans 5.

Rom 5:14 (NIV)
Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
Rom 5:17 (NIV)

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Rom 5: 20-21 (NIV)

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Who do you want to rule your life?  Self - Sin - death?  Or Jesus - righteousness - grace?

Rom 6:6-7 (NIV)
For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Again... who do you want to rule your life?  Do you want to be slaves to sin?  You don't need to be slaves to sin anymore.

Rom 6:8-10 (NIV)
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
Death no longer has mastery over Christ.

Rom 6:11 - 14 (NIV)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

In the same way... death no longer is our master if we let Christ be our master.
Again... who do you want to rule your life?  Sin or God?  Death or life?

Rom 6:15-18 (NIV)
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
Again... who do you want to rule your life?  We can chose to be a slave to sin or to God.
Who is Lord of our lives?  Our own selfish desires or are we going to follow the Holy Spirit Jesus left with us?

Rom 6:19 - 23 (NIV)
I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Do we get it yet?  Yes we are weak.  We are easily mastered by many things.  Let God be our master, that would obviously be the best way.   Following our selfish sinful ways will lead to death, but following God will lead to life.

I'm going to stop here in Chapter 6 for now.

Do you see a connection with this and the good news of the kingdom of God that Jesus and His disciples preached?

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