Romans 1:1-4 “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 as to his spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The truth that Paul shares with us in this verse may be the forgotten lesson of Jesus’ resurrection. We tend to stress the fact that, because Jesus has risen from the dead, we know that the Father accepted his sacrifice. His effort to pay for our sins was successful. More than that, we draw the conclusion that since Jesus is alive and our sins are paid for, someday we will rise from the dead, too. These things certainly deserve to be emphasized.
But Jesus’ resurrection is also the miracle of miracles. A handful of other people have been raised back to life from the dead throughout history, only to die again. Only Jesus raised himself from the dead, and only he has risen to a new kind of life that never ends.
That makes a powerful statement about who Jesus is. No mere man could bring himself back to life. Jesus is the Son of God. The resurrection doesn’t make him the Son of God. It makes his divinity clear to see. It puts a big exclamation point on the truth that our Savior Jesus is also our God.
How does that truth help to put the “good news” in our gospel? Just look at the ramifications:
1) If Jesus is God, then his work, his life, his death, have infinite value. I can be sure that my sins are covered.
2) If Jesus is God, then you and I can put our utter trust in him. What he tells us we can believe with complete confidence. How he treats us we can receive certain that he is taking care of us.
3) If Jesus is God, then getting to know him means we are getting to know God. And what is the picture we see when we look at Jesus? Someone who loves us passionately. Someone who is caring, kind, gentle, and approachable. Yet someone who is strong, steady, and upright. What more could you want on your side?
4) The last phrase of this verse calls him “Jesus Christ our Lord.” When people say things like, “Jesus is my Lord,” they are often thinking of the obedience they owe to him. But a Lord is also a protector, isn’t he? If our Lord is our God, then you and I are utterly safe.
5) If Jesus is God, then we can be sure that we are in the right place whenever we are following him. If Jesus is God, then all the news for us is only good.
The heart of the Christian faith is not a list of principles or a way of life. It is a person, promised by prophets, descended from David, and declared to be God by his resurrection from the dead. The news is good, dear friends.