The Gospel Paul Preached
The book of Romans is Paul's defense of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout the epistle, Paul details man's sin, man's need for justification, the conditions for justification, the effects of God's grace, and the assurances of the child of God. He makes several statements of his dedication to preaching this gospel in the opening chapter:
"For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son..." (Romans 1:9) I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Romans 1:14-16).
Paul's dedication to the gospel was not by accident, nor was he easily removed from his task of preaching. He was convicted of the gospel, the power of God that was contained in it, and the salvation that it promised. His willingness to defend the gospel of Christ is impressive to any Christian.
Separated for the Gospel
"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God..." (Romans 1:1).
Paul, in particular, was called to become an apostle of Christ, and he was separated to preach the gospel. The Lord, in a vision unto Ananias, said of Paul: "...he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15). The Lord appeared unto Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus with the purpose of using Paul as a chosen instrument.
Later as Paul stood trial before Agrippa, retelling his witnessing the resurrected Christ, we learn several things about Paul's purpose in life. Jesus told Paul that it was His purpose to make Paul a minister of the gospel (Acts 26:16). Paul was to go unto the Gentiles "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins..." (Acts 26:18). The apostle Paul was divinely commissioned to go forth preaching and teaching the things which he had witnessed and had been told. His authority as an apostle of Christ was the same as the other apostles. Paul was called to be an apostle, separated to preach the gospel to the Jews and unto the Gentiles.
The Promise of the Gospel
"...which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures..." (Romans 1:2).
The gospel had been promised by the Old Testament prophets and their writings. The new covenant had been prophesied about by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31-34). He also prophesied about the extension of the new covenant to all nations (Jeremiah 31:34). The prophet Amos also spoke of the gospel being extended to the Gentiles (Amos 9:11-12). This truth was affirmed by the apostles themselves (Acts 15:15-17). The condition of the gospel, i.e., a system of justification by grace through faith, was spoken of beforehand as well (Habbakuk 2:4; cf. Romans 1:17). Knowing that the gospel was promised beforehand ought to reassure us of God's plan of redemption. The fact that God carefully planned and foretold the gospel of His Son reveals to us the great love God has for mankind. Through a careful study of the Scriptures, we learn and understand the plan of redemption, and we are able to gain insight into the great salvation which has been revealed through the gospel of Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:1-6).
The Object of the Gospel
"...concerning his Son Jesus Christ..." (Romans 1:3).
The gospel which Paul was proclaiming was about Jesus Christ. Paul said that He preached Christ and Him crucified (I Corinthians 2:2). Everything that Paul proclaimed was for glory and honor unto Christ. When we preach the gospel of Christ it honors Christ Himself. Did Paul only preach the facts of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection? No! Paul certainly preached the Lordship of Christ, His Sonship, and obedience unto Christ (Romans 1:3-5). To not preach about the kingdom, rule, and Sovereignty of Christ is to not preach the gospel. Paul goes on through the Roman letter to affirm the grace of God, the necessity of faith, and obedience to the faith. When we neglect to preach any of these things then we fail to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through our preaching, just as in Paul's, the purpose is to honor the central object of the gospel - Jesus Christ.
The Purpose of the Gospel
"...for obedience to the faith..." (Romans 1:5).
The gospel has a purpose, and that purpose is to bring about obedience unto salvation. Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation..." (Romans 1:16). The goal that Paul had in mind was to demonstrate God's power through the preaching of the gospel so that it might achieve the salvation of those who would put their faith in it, and obey it. The salvation that is promised within the gospel is the righteousness that comes from God, being justified by Him through faith (Romans 3:21-25). We are able to enjoy this salvation by repenting of sins (Romans 2:4), confessing Christ as the Son of God (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3-6).
The gospel of Christ is the glorious revelation of salvation unto man. We learn how we might be justified from our sins, and enjoy eternal life with God through His Son (Romans 5:21; 6:23). Will you believe the gospel and respond in faith to it? If you fail to obey the gospel then there is wrath and anguish that will be upon your soul (Romans 2:8,9). However, through obedience then there is life and peace (Romans 8:3).