The Promised Good News
Romans 1:2, “which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures,”
It is very easy to make a promise but not easy to keep a promise. I haven’t always been great at keeping promises. Before God saved me, I didn’t really understand the importance of keeping promises. Now, I rarely make promises because as a Christ-follower I know it is so important to be a man of my word. God, unlike me and unlike most of us, always keeps His promises.
Paul says here in Romans 1:2 that the good news was “promised” by God “beforehand.” It was promised by God through His prophets. This is a very important point in the gospel message. Even though the Christian gospel seemed new to the sin-stained first century world, it really wasn’t new at all. In fact. the “gospel of God” was the entire point of the Old Testament. Everything in the Old Testament, the poetry, the Law, the narratives, the prophets all pointed to one thing or rather one person, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Where was the promise made? It was made “in the holy Scriptures.” This is tremendously important because it identifies the place where the announcement of “the gospel of God” may be found and it therefore highlights its very essence.
First, the announcement of “the gospel of God” is made in writing, the writings of the prophets. This means that we must not look anywhere else for the gospel. God has not chosen to reveal this good news through mystical visions, through inward feelings, or in some other non-Biblical and non-objective way. We have a His word, written down, to study and to ponder and to understand. We live in a day and age though where experience seems to trump what the Bible has to say. In other words what I experience what I feel has more validity than the Word of God. Emotion overrides the inerrancy the Word.
Second, the books of the Bible are special, “holy” writings, which means they are not just human compositions but rather they are the very words of God. They are God’s revelation to mankind. Peter himself wrote in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” We should be drawn to the Word of God in faithful study and meditation – if we really believe the Bible to be God’s “holy Scriptures.”
Paul understood as we should recognize, that God has spoken to us through His Word, the Bible, and therefore we should determine to study it carefully and obediently. We should do what Francis Bacon said to do with books in general: “taste,” “chew,” “swallow,” and “digest” it, and read it “wholly, and with diligence and attention.”
In too many evangelical quarters today there seems to be this willingness to depart from the Word of God in the name of cultural relevance. Too many denominational leaders and those who are propped up by denominations and organizations espouse extra-Biblical revelation. It is a pathogen that is infecting the entirety of evangelicalism to the point that I believe the word evangelical is largely meaningless today. What this reveals is a fundamental lack of faith in the power and efficacy of God’s Word. Let us rest on the power, the trans-formative power of the inerrant, effective, Word of God; nothing more and nothing less.