What's the gospel to those who believe?
What is the Gospel?
We're considering the gospel using Paul's words from Romans 1:16-17.
Last week we saw that the gospel is the power of God. This week we read it is the power of God for salvation "to every one who believes." Two questions arise. What is meant by "to every one who believes." and what do they believe?
Paul writes, "the gospel is the power of God for salvation." He does not add, "Plus the power of man to believe." The power is God's and therefore produces the very thing it requires and that is faith. This truth is attested elsewhere in Scripture. For instance, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God;" Eph.2:8 "But by His [God's] doing you are in Christ Jesus;" 1 Cor. 1:30 "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth;" James 1:18 and "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation," 2 Cor 5:17, to list a few.
God calls us to faith. Then grants it through the gospel. God's power is seen in everyone who believes; He creates faith within them. The gospel's power produces faith. Secondly, what's the content of faith? What is actually produced? "It's the power of God for salvation." Gospel faith awakens the need for salvation. Like spiritual radar it detects a deep need, the depth of moral decay or the emptiness of self-exalting moralism.
Faith sees the awesome clouds of God's wrath moving ominously above. As the men before Peter on Pentecost, "They were pierced to the heart . . . and said, 'Brothers, what shall we do?'" Acts 2:37.
Gospel faith senses the wrath of God and dreads it, but also senses the love of God and longs for it. Gospel faith trusts that through Christ, God has spent His wrath to secure our blessing. Gospel faith believes that our sins are credited to Christ on the cross and His righteous life is credited to us through the cross.
Gospel faith enlightens the heart in four ways: to the knowledge of sin, to the dread of wrath, to a desire for His favor and to confidence in Christ alone to secure that favor.
John Newton captured this truth in the hymn "Amazing Grace" when he wrote, "Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved." Will you believe in the gospel?