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 earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.Romans 1:1-4
At the heart of Paul's argument is a person: Jesus Christ, our Lord. That, certainly, is the theme of the epistle to the Romans, as it is the theme of all Paul's writings and all the New Testament. Union in Christ is the central truth that God wants us to see. As Paul himself wrote in the letter to the Colossians,
Christ in you, the hope of glory, (Colossians 1:27b). That is the great truth from which all others flow.
Sometimes Bible teachers identify certain of the great emphases that come from that truth as being the central truth. For instance, they emphasize justification by faith, or sanctification, that is, solving the problems of sin. But these themes all stem from the great central theme — union with Christ. We are not simply followers of a philosophy, or even of a philosopher, but of a savior, a redeemer, a person — and he must be central in all things.
In his introduction, Paul points out that the Lord was promised to us; he came as predicted in the Old Testament. The gospel was promised beforehand through the
prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son. One of the most important things that we can learn about our faith is that it comes to us through the anticipation and prediction of centuries of teaching and preaching.
When The Lord Jesus comes, he is presented to us in two unique ways: First, concerning his human nature, the apostle says he was a descendant of David. The actual Greek says he comes of the very sperm of David, emphasizing his intense humanity. We all came that way, and Jesus came in the same way.
Second, is the deity of him who
was appointed the Son of God in power. There Paul begins with that phrase,
the Son of God, that unmistakably declares the deity of our Lord. There were three things that marked the deity of Jesus: First, there was power; he came by power. This is a reference to the miracles that he did. Second, he came by the spirit of holiness. I've always been concerned about this word holiness because I find people misunderstand it so. We think of it as something that is bad, but the meaning can be recaptured for us if we will use a similar term that comes from the same root, the word wholeness. Paul is saying that when Jesus came, he was a whole person. He demonstrated whole humanity — humanity as it was intended to be. That is how we are called to live. The glory of the good news is that God's goal for us is to make us whole, so that we are able to walk through the midst of the pressures and the turmoils and the tragedies of this world and be able to handle them — whole persons — holy persons. That wholeness is what Jesus demonstrated, and supplies us in himself.
The third great mark of Jesus' deity was the resurrection; his deity was authenticated
by his resurrection from the dead. That is where our faith ultimately rests. We can have confidence that God has told us the truth by the unshakable fact that he raised Jesus from the dead. No one can remove that fact from the annals of history. It happened, our faith rests on it, and whenever anybody pursues you and tries to shake your faith, ask them to explain the resurrection. Ask them what they do with it — because it cannot be explained away. It is the unshakable fact through which God has broken into our time, and he rests the whole story upon that great fact.
Thank you, Father, for sending your Son and for giving me the joy of knowing him and seeing his life manifest through me.
What is the central theme of the Book of Romans? What are three powerful proofs of Christ's deity? Is the Lord Jesus Christ and our union with him the central theme of our life and of our verbal witness?