God’s Gospel the Foundation
Grace and Salvation
As you have already seen, God’s Gospel, as it pertains to Christ, is throughout the seven epistles addressed to the Body of Christ in the Administration of Grace. This is how it should be since all seven are addressed to the entire Body of Christ.
Romans, Ephesians, and Thessalonians are doctrinal epistles. Corinthians and Philippians are reproof epistles. Galatians and Colossians are correction epistles. Thessalonians has no reproof or correction epistles since it is the gathering of the Body of Christ before the time of the tribulation and the return of the Revealing Administration. It is a doctrine that is out of our hands, it will happen regardless of our acceptance or denial. Together these epistles form the complete package of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and equip the child of God to live, and walk, and serve our heavenly Father.
Romans is our introduction to the accomplishments of Jesus Christ and how those accomplishments relate to those who have placed their trust in God. Romans is a gospel of God’s grace. Out of the 130 times the word grace is used in the King James Version, from Matthew through the book of Revelation, 91 times are in the Pauline epistles. Of the 91 times grace is used in the Pauline epistles, grace is used 24 times in the epistle to the Romans, more than any other Pauline epistle.
While telling the Romans why he is ready (prothymos/prothumos) to preach the gospel to them, Paul lays out the foundation of what God’s gospel reveals. Paul is going to give the Romans four reasons he is ready to preach God’s Gospel. “Ready” is Paul’s willingness, his passion and eagerness to preach.
The four reasons Paul is ready to preach to those in Rome are:
1.God’s gospel is a gospel of grace. 2.God’s gospel is the power of God unto salvation. 3.God’s gospel reveals the righteousness of God. 4.God’s gospel reveals the wrath of God against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.
Paul had a gift ministry to bring to Rome (Romans 1:11-12). The five gift ministries and their purpose are spoken of in Ephesians (Ephesians 4:7-16 and in Romans 13). We also have a ministry to operate, the ministry of reconciliation, as Ambassadors for Christ. Maybe Paul’s reasons to preach the Gospel of God will inspire us as well.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (of God): for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, the just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
These three verses are the heart of the epistle to the Romans. They show us all four of Paul’s reasons to preach God’s gospel. Paul is laying the foundation for every Christian life in the believer’s identification in Christ.
Verse sixteen begins with the word “for.” For is a conjunction, it is the Greek word gar. It has an unimpressive Lexicon definition: “for” and in some Lexicon’s, the word “indeed” is added. But as you grow to understand this conjunction and see it in action it is a word you will want to keep present in your mind as you study God’s Word. The Englishman’s Greek has this to say about gar, “This conjunction is most frequently used to give a reason or an explanation for what has just been said. Thus, this word explains the preceding context.” 1
That is amazing! How often would you like a better understanding or a better explanation of what was just said? The word gar (for) is used over one thousand times in the King James New Testament.
Add to this the figure of speech aetiologia.2 It comes from the Greek words aitia, which means cause or reason and logos, which means saying or word. This figure is defined by Dr. E.W. Bullinger as, “Either directly or indirectly, the speaker or writer renders a reason for what he thinks, says, or does.” This word gar forms this particular figure of speech.
Paul is offering four reasons why he is ready to preach God’s gospel and, in the process, shows what the epistle has to say about the foundation of God’s gospel. Four statements beginning with the word “for,” (gar) in the Greek.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ…
We looked at the phrase “gospel of Christ” in the previous teaching. By the figure of speech ellipsis, you could supply God’s gospel or gospel of God.
Paul is not ashamed of God’s gospel. When Paul says he is not ashamed he is acknowledging the grace of God. He is declaring he is proud to preach God’s grace. Paul is using an antonym. An antonym is a word that means the opposite of another word. Instead of saying, I am ready to preach God’s gospel of His glorious grace, he says he is not ashamed to preach the gospel. Paul is using an antonym to bring emphasis to the subject of God’s grace.
We use antonyms to explain things all the time. It is how we show the difference between darkness and light, young and old, new and used, even yes and no are antonyms. We begin teaching antonyms in kindergarten by showing children opposites. In elementary school we use antonyms to expand the vocabulary of students so they can better express their ideas when writing and speaking. Paul uses an antonym to begin teaching about his pride in preaching and sharing the gospel of God’s grace.
Helps Word-studies: epaisxýnomai (from epi, "on, fitting" intensifying aisxyno, "disgrace") properly, disgraced...
Aisxyno comes from the root word aischros which means disgrace. So, Paul uses an antonym to emphasize God’s grace.
Our God has always been a God of grace, it is His nature, it is who He is.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
“Variableness” means a change. God is always the same, He does not change. “Shadow of turning” is in reference to the sun. How an outside source causes the shadow of an object to become longer or shorter, first in front and then behind. God is His own source of power and life; nothing causes Him to alter who He is. For example, when Adam sinned God did not have to adapt to the situation and become a God who forgives, He was always a forgiving God, forgiveness is part of His nature, it is who He is. God is always giving good and perfect gifts, it is His nature, it is who our God is. Our God has always been a God of grace.
God steps over our sin, to give us His grace.
I have said before that God’s mercy and grace are attached at the hip. You will remember what we read in Titus chapter three.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…
In Romans, God will give us a complete explanation of this stepping over (Romans 1:19-3:20). But in Ephesians chapter two we get the cliff notes.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
This is the mercy Paul was speaking of in Titus. This is what God stepped over to freely give to us.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
All of this is an outpouring of God’s love for us.
1 John 4:19
We love him, because he first loved us.
God’s love for us, His grace to us, calls for a response. The only sane response is to receive His grace and His love and then labor more abundantly. We will see this shortly.
And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith [believing]; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
While most consider Romans to be an epistle that tells a person HOW to become a child of God, and it does do that, it opens by speaking to those who are already children of God.
To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
All seven Church epistles, Romans through Thessalonians, open and close with grace.
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
“Being justified,” present tense, meaning a continuing now. Justification is the legal declaration of God, the Just judge. At the moment of justification, the one who has believed and stands upon the foundation of Christ Jesus, is found righteous. How do you stand upon the foundation of Christ Jesus? You confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead.
“Freely,” dorean in the text, means an undeserved gift. The sinner who has believed is freely justified. No work, it is a present, a gift to you from God. A gift of His grace (charis). “Through” (dia), by means of, the redemption (apolytrosis), that is in (en) in and remaining within, Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:11).
Let’s consider a brief synopsis of man’s situation. Adam committed treason against God by rejecting what God had given to serve the Adversary. Who you obey is who you serve. Adam gave humanity separation from God. God’s plan of redemption and reconciliation was the seed of the woman. While God’s plan developed all men continued to commit sins, because the nature we received from Adam was a rebellious and disobedient sin nature (Genesis 5:3).
To keep man alive and hold some of the consequences of sins away from man God gave two things, the animal sacrifice, and the Old Testament Law. But both were inadequate. A physical body was required for the sacrifice to redeem humanity (Hebrews 10:4-7). Man committed this treason, man needed to pay for this treason. When the seed of the woman came, he believed God from the beginning to the end. Complete and total obedience to the will of God (Hebrews 12:2). His complete obedience and willingness to sacrifice himself made it available for man to be redeemed.
God inspired men to preach and write about the accomplishments of the seed of the woman, the Christ (2 Peter 1:9-21 and Galatians 1:11-12 and Romans 10:15-18). In these words, the world learned that if they confessed Jesus as their Lord and believed God had raised Jesus from the dead, God promised salvation and righteousness. (Romans1:16-17)
A very brief synopsis.
Justification is the legal acquittal of guilt from sins and being in the present tense makes it a continuous acquittal. We are not speaking of feeling guilty, we are speaking of God, as the Just judge, declaring you are not guilty, you are acquitted. So, stop focusing on sins! The issue with sins has been done away in the accomplishments of Christ. That is not who you are. Now you are building upon the foundation of Christ Jesus. It is God’s gift to you; it is God’s grace for you. You have been redeemed!
When you see the fullness of your redemption, this becomes clear. The Greek word for redeemed in Romans 3:24 is apolytrosis, it means, “liberation procured by the payment of a ransom.” 3
Whom [Christ Jesus] God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
“Propitiation” is the Greek word hilasterion. Many simply say this means payment and they are accurate. But God uses the example of the Ark of the Covenant which is more picturesque. So, let’s follow the example God uses.
Hilasterion is only used twice in the New Testament, here and in Hebrews.
And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Here hilasterion is translated mercy seat. It is the mercy seat, the covering for the Ark of the Covenant. God gave Israel mercy for the sins they had committed. Remember this is freely given. They, and we, deserved a judgment, we earned a judgment, but God gave mercy, looking beyond our sins.
Help Word-studies: hilasterion (a substantial adjective, derived from hiláskomai, "to propitiate") the place of propitiation; the lid of the golden ark (the mercy-seat) where the blood of a vicarious lamb appeased God's wrath on sin.
The High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the animal sacrifice once a year, on the Day of Atonement, on the covering of the Ark of the Covenant. He would sprinkle the blood between the cherubim. (No “s” is required, cherubim is the plural for cherub.)
God has always dwelt between cherubim.
O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.
Even when man was ejected from the Garden, God gave man a place to meet with Him.
So, he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
The cherubim were on the covering, the mercy seat.
And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
The mercy seat is where payment was made for sins and where God would commune with Moses to teach him the Law, and the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.
Whom God hath set forth to be the mercy seat through faith in his blood…
“His blood” is the figure of speech metalepsis4 or double metonym. Two metonymies, one contained in the other, but only one expressed.5 Blood is put for the atoning merits of his death.
… to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.
“To declare” or show the proof of His righteousness for (dia) through or because of the remission of sins. Remission is the Greek word paresis; this is the only time this word is used in the New Testament. This remission is proof of God’s righteousness. Paresis is defined as a passing over, a letting pass, disregarding. 6
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
When God saw the blood, He passed over that house. When He sees the blood of Jesus on your life, the atoning sacrifice in his death, God passes over your sins. This takes place on the mercy seat. God steps over what we have earned because we are identified with Christ. As he steps over our past His abundant grace abounds in our lives.
Following the example God used, the mercy seat, and the cherubim, and the Ark of the Covenant allowed us to go beyond the accurate statement of payment to the glorious mind picture of the Old Testament sacrifice. God’s example showed us the figure of speech allegory, which is a continuing metaphor and hypocatastasis.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Gentiles in the first century did not have a Passover celebration, they did not have Feast Days, neither do we. Again, it is an allegory, a figure of speech. Following God’s example has given us a clearer picture of what God did for us in justification by grace. From Romans 3:21 through Romans 5:11 is what God did for us regarding the product of our sin nature.
This is the first part of our redemption, paying the price, paying the ransom. But our redemption goes beyond just paying the price. Ultimately apolytrosis means deliverance. Apolytrosis is from the Greek word lytron which means, “price paid for slaves and captives,”7 we were both. Then, the root for apolytrosis is lyo, which means “to loose one bound, to unbind, release from bonds, to set free.”8 That you are set free is deliverance. If I were to go to a pawn shop and redeem an item on the shelf, I would then own it, it would be in my possession, and I would control what happens with it.
But this is not what God desired. He did not want to control you. God redeemed you, the price was paid, and then God set you free. You decide what you will do with your life. We will come back to this aspect.
Now, move on from the item on the shelf. You are shopping at the slave market, and you buy a slave. He is now your slave, and he is now in bondage to you. But you did not desire this slave you purchased to be in bondage, even to you. So, you give him his freedom.
Bondage is not what God desired. He was not saving you from one bondage only to force you into another bondage. While retaining the rights of ownership (sanctification, a setting apart), God gives to this slave freedom to act independently.
God used two different Greek words when speaking of our redemption in the Administration of Grace. We just looked at the first, apolytrosis which speaks of the payment and our deliverance, our freedom. The second word is exagorazo. This means to buy out of the marketplace. This word shows us where we were purchased and adds a clarity to why.
Christ hath redeemed [exagorazo] us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree:
Helps Word-studies: exagorazo (from ek, "completely out from" which intensifies agorázō, "buy-up at the marketplace") properly, take full advantage of, seizing a buying-opportunity, i.e. making the most of the present opportunity (recognizing its future gain).
Why would Christ redeem us from the curse of the Law? I am a Gentile; I was not under the Law.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The consequence of sin, singular, referring to our sin nature, is death and all have sinned, plural, referring to the fruit of or result of our sin nature. We were not under the Law (Romans 2:14), but we were under the consequence of sin. Therefore, we needed redemption from the curse of the Law, the consequence of sin.
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
The sin was not imputed when there was no Law, but the consequence of the sin nature still produced death.
There are three aspects to this redemption (exagorazo). Pre-redemption, redemption, and post-redemption. The pre-redemption is to realize we were in the agora, the marketplace where things are bought and sold. With the pre-redemption we were the ones buying and selling in the marketplace. Our commodity was our own life as we trafficked as servants (doulos) of our only nature, a sin nature. We were fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and the desires of our flesh and of our mind (Ephesians 2:3).
Then the second aspect, redemption, exagorazo. God redeemed us, purchased us out from, (ek) the marketplace (agora), out from the curse of the Law. Jesus Christ paid the price and because a curse for us, God using that obedience to give His abundant grace.
To redeem [exagorazo] them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
We are Gentiles, we were not under the law. But the Galatians were talked out of what God had freely given them by grace. They were seduced into believing they had missed something they needed to do in their flesh (Galatians 3:2-3).
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
God did not remove us from bondage to place us in bondage to Himself.
The post-redemption is in Ephesians and Colossians.
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
This just brings it all together.
God redeemed us out from the marketplace where we sold ourselves to fulfill the lust of the flesh. God did this with the price Jesus paid, but having no desire to take away our freedom, God also gave us deliverance, a setting free. Now it is up to us, what will we do with our lives, serve the world, or serve God? God has always desired a family that willing comes to Him. Not a family that is forced to be with Him. Consider Paul’s example of himself for post-redemption.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God, I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
By the grace of God, I am what I am… I am identified in Christ; therefore, I am redeemed, I am justified, I am righteous, I am sanctified, I am holy and without blame, I am an adopted child of God, I am saved, I am a joint heir with Christ.
And his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly…I read God’s Word, I studied God’s Word, I renewed my mind, I walk in love, I walk by the spirit, I speak in tongues, I preach the gospel, I willingly serve as a doulos of Jesus Christ and of God.
Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me…my grace is sufficient for you.
We love Him because He first loved us. God pours out His grace upon us. He shows us what we have received in Christ (Romans chapter one through chapter eight), what He has given to us in Christ and if we see it, we respond to His love and grace by returning to Him (Romans 12:1 and following), as in 1 Corinthians 15:10.
This is remarkable! Not only has God paid the price of my redemption with the life of His son, then He set me free, allowing me to choose whom I will serve.
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
God has given you the freedom to choose. What is your response to His love and His grace? How will you redeem your time?
Knowing this, that our old man is [was] crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed [unemployed], that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed [dikaioo = is justified in the text] from sin.
This is our identification in Christ. This is our foundation by His grace. Our old nature was a sin nature. The product of that nature was sins. God is speaking about our old nature here; we should not be a doulos to our old nature, it will only produce sins. We now have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) and its fruit has no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
Do not focus on the old, do not dwell on the old. Rather walk forth in your newness of life, put on the new you and go forth in the ministry of reconciliation.
Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism [Romans 10:9-10] into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Newness is the Greek word kainotes, from the root kainos,9 meaning recently made, fresh, unused; of a new kind, unprecedented, unheard of. We died with him, we were buried with him, we were raised with him, therefore walk forth in your newness of life, in your new kind of life, in your new nature.
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
It is the same Greek word for newness, kainotes, and it is only used in these two places in the New Testament. Our choice is to serve the old nature or to serve the new nature.
“We are delivered from the law,” needs to be understood in context.
Know ye not, brethren, (for [gar] I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
We are Gentiles, we do not know the Law. However, we can and should choose to serve in the newness of our holy spirit, the Christ within us.
If Gentiles are not judged by the Law, how shall they be judged.
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
God looks on the heart, God searches the heart. God knows every man from the inside out.
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
Then comes this great parenthesis, that begins with the word gar.
(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For [gar] when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
Verses seven through twelve spoke of two different types of hearts. God knows the heart and is the Just judge who judges according to righteousness.
For all people in the Administration of Grace we are judged by a different standard.
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
1. Englishman’s Greek, Chapter 10, Conjunctions and Prepositions
2. Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, page 963, Dr. E.W. Bullinger
3. G629 - apolytrōsis - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
4. Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, Dr. E.W. Bullinger, page 609
5. Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, Dr. E.W. Bullinger, page 610
6. G3929 - paresis - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
7. G3083 - lytron - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
8. G3089 - lyō - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
9. G2537 - kainos - Strong's Greek Lexicon (kjv) (blueletterbible.org)
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