The gospel of God
Paul explains the gospel of God: who Jesus is according to (1) the flesh, and (2) the Spirit.
The gospel of God
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to theand designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 1:1-4.
The Old Testament prophets prophesied about Jesus in Isaiah 7:14-15 and in Isaiah 9 and Isaiah 53. We also read about Him in Micah 5, and in many, many other scriptures. In the New Testament we can find prophecies about Him in Luke 24:25-27, Acts 18:28, 1 Peter 1:10-13, and other places.
In the above verses Paul briefly explains in two parts the gospel of God concerning Jesus: (1) who He is according to the flesh, and (2) who He is according to the Spirit. If we disregard or change either one of these parts, we do not have the gospel of God.
What does it mean that He was descended from David according to the flesh? Quite simply, it means what it says. We know about David and his seed. Paul was of the same lineage. (Hebrews 2:16.) Paul says concerning himself, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh.” Romans 7:18. And Jesus’ flesh was just like that.
According to the Spirit of holiness He was designated Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead. We cannot change this fact either. So the question arises: When He came to earth in that body which was of the seed of David, did He come with all the fullness of God in His Spirit? The answer is “No”, because it is written, “… who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8. We often hear it said, “He was true God and true Man.” But this is not true if you mean that He retained all God’s fullness when He came to earth in the body that was of the seed of David. Nor is this statement appropriate in light of what is written in Hebrews 12:2, “… looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
Read more here: Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
What Took Place in Jesus During the Days of His Flesh?
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and being made perfect he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 5:7-10.
We read that His prayers were heard. Thus it could not have been His death on the cross of Calvary that He prayed to be saved from, for He had to suffer that death in order to reconcile all things to God. (Colossians 1:19-22; 2 Corinthians 5:19.) “For if you live according to the flesh you will die …” Romans 8:13. It was on account of this death that He offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, His prayers were heard; and death could not hold Him. Here again we have both parts of the gospel.
In Hebrews 2:14-15, we read, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”
In Genesis we read how the serpent, by a lie, deceived Eve into thinking she would become like God, by knowing good and evil. The serpent tempted Eve with a glory that he said she could gain by disobedience; but the result was death. However, Jesus came with death first, and through death he destroyed him who had the power of death. He came with death to the lusts and desires of the flesh, which are the cause of all the corruption in the world, and which end in death. (2 Peter 1:4.) But by the death that Jesus came with, we come—through obedience—to that glory with which the serpent tempted Eve.
Nearly everyone believes the same lie Eve believed, and they end up in corruption. Jesus, on the other hand, by first putting to death all the lusts and desires, destroyed him who had the power of death; and for those who believe, the power of him who had the power of death is also destroyed. This was proven by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead on the third day. Paul had come to faith in this, and by the knowledge of Jesus he could say, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21-23.
“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do; sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 8:3. This was the first part of the gospel; it made the second part possible.
Romans 8:3 is the foundation of the gospel which is offered to us in verse 4: “… in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
This article has been translated from Norwegian and is a slightly abridged version of the first two chapters of the book “The Gospel of God,” first published by Skjulte Skatters Forlag in January 1988.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag
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Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.