What Makes Salvation So Great
October 28, 2022
-by Dr. J. Vernon McGee, from our Romans Bible Companion
You are about to spend time in one of the most important books of the Bible. For millions in every generation, God uses this book of Romans to change thinking, deepen faith, and comfort hearts. Before you dive in, ask Him to quiet your heart and awaken your mind to the greatest subject of the ages: His great salvation.
Every Christian should make every effort to know Romans, for this book will ground your faith. It contains God’s great gospel manifesto, but we must begin by seeing mankind on our own as ruined creatures without God, helpless, and hopelessly lost. The only remedy for our sin is the perfect remedy God provides in Jesus Christ for a lost humanity.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” -Romans 1:16, 17
This is the great message of Romans: God takes lost sinners—like us—and He brings us into the family of God and makes us His children. He does it not because we deserve it, but because Christ died on the cross.
The gospel of Christ, the apostle Paul says, is the power of God to save everyone who believes. You can’t work for or buy this righteousness from God; you only can accept it by faith. Justification by faith means not only the subtraction of sin but the addition of righteousness—all so you might stand before God complete in Christ. God saves on no other ground than that you trust Jesus.
God uses many ways to communicate with us in His Word. First, He gave history, poetry, prophecy, and the Gospels, and now we come to a new section: The Epistles. The Lord speaks to us in each one of these wonderful letters whose primary purpose was to carry the gospel along Roman roads to the world.
This message is God’s good news. Man didn’t create it; it existed way before us. God promised it all through the Old Testament. The message is this: God loves mankind and has made a way to save mankind. The gospel is “concerning” Jesus Christ and what He has done. “Concerning” is the Greek preposition peri—used also in “periscope” and “perimeter”—and means “that which encircles.” Draw a wide circle around Jesus, and the gospel is what goes inside.
We are introduced to Jesus here by His full title: He is the Son of God, and He is Jesus Christ our Lord. In His humanity, Jesus is the seed of David. He is virgin-born because He is the Son of God with power. He is the risen One—when Jesus rose from the dead, it proved everything. The Resurrection didn’t make Him the Son of God, it simply revealed that He was. He is perfect humanity and perfect deity—not any more man because He is God, and not any less God because He is man. He is God-man.
Jesus’ resurrection insures He will someday return to this earth as the Judge and as the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will put down sin, and He will reign on this earth in righteousness.
As Paul and the other apostles crisscrossed the colossal empire sharing the gospel, hundreds of thousands of people came to faith in Jesus Christ, believing God loved the world so much that He gave His Son to die that whoever believed on Jesus Christ will not perish, but have eternal life (see John 3:16).
Like he did in every letter, Paul begins the book by wishing us, God’s grace and peace (Romans 1:7)—grace (charis), the Gentile’s greeting, and peace (shalom), the Jewish greeting. Paul extends his double blessing on everyone who will read this and then begins to teach.
These discussion questions are from the Bible Companion for Romans:
- We are sinners who need God’s righteousness—how does He give it to us?
- Romans teaches us that the gospel is both an act and a process. What does that mean?
- Explain what it means to be saved by Jesus. Careful not to use “Christian” talk, but instead, pretend you’re talking to someone new to the Bible, new to faith.
- Why is Jesus’ resurrection so important to what we believe?
- The Apostle Paul took the gospel around the world. Where are you taking the gospel? Who do you wish knew about Jesus’ offer of salvation?