The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Study of Romans as given by Dr. James Montgomery Boice: Romans 1:2-4

2..the gospel promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Boice in the last sermon tried to show that Christianity is a unique religion and he did that by giving a number of reasons proving that uniqueness. In this sermon Boice gives the main reason, the chief reason Christianity is unique. Christianity is unique because it is founded upon a unique person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity is not only unique because its founder is unique, it is unique because of how Christ is uniquely linked to Christianity. You cannot have Christianity without having Christ. Boice gives cites a passage from J.N.D. Anderson, director of the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies at the University of London. Here are a few of the important points.

In Confucianism and Buddhism it is the teaching and principles of Confucius and Buddha which represent the essence of the religion, rather than the teacher…

Even in Islam, the towering figure of Muhammad finds its paramount important in the divine revelation which it believes was given to mankind through him.

A Muslim would point to the Book and the Traditions, rather than to Muhammad himself, as the media of revelation.

By contrast, Christianity is Jesus Christ. John R.W. Stott wrote: “The person and work of Christ are the rock upon which the Christian religion is built. If he is not who he said he was, and if he did not do what he said he had come to do, the foundation is undermined and the whole superstructure will collapse. Take Christ from Christianity, and you disembowel it; there is practically nothing left. Christ is the center of Christianity; all else is circumference.”

  1. Who Is Jesus Christ?

    1. Paul tells who Jesus Christ is in verse 4, “…was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead…”
    2. In an attempt to deny the deity of Christ liberal theology holds that we are all sons or daughters of God, but this is rather a new heresy and one that none of the New Testament writers would have understood.
    3. When New Testaments writers used the words “Son of God” they were not referring to any supposed divine characteristics of human beings, they meant deity itself
    4. They meant that he who was being called Son of God was uniquely divine; that is, he was and always had been God.
    5. Peter confesses before Christ when Christs asks Peter who he says Christ is, Matthew 16:16 You are the Christ, the Son of hte living God
    6. When Peter makes this declaration Christ accepted this designation and assures pEtter and the others that this insight had come not as a result of simple human observation, but as a special revelation from God the Father.
    7. In John 10:38 Jesus explicitly teches who he is: “I and the Father are one“And in John 8:58 “Before Abraham was born, I am!“.
    8. We begin to see Paul as he unfolds the content of the Christian message. He calls it the “gospel of God” now he adds that the gospel concerns his Son. This means that Jesus is the unique Son of God
    9. The person and work of this divine Jesus are the gospel’s substance
    10. This is where we start. We begin with the eternal Son of God, and we confess that everything we belive and are as Christians centers in the person and work of that unique individual.
  2. The God-Man

    1. Contrast between Human and Divine Nature
      1. Jesus is also unique in that he bacame man at some specific point in time and now remains the God-man eternally
      2. There is an obvious contrast between the two natures of Christ, the human nature and the divine nature.
      3. In the Greek text the word “sarx”, translated “flesh”, speaks to his human nature.
      4. The word “sarx” is not just limited to describing only the fleshly parts, it means “the whole man”. NIV translators are correct when they translate the word “sarx” to “as to his human nature”.
      5. This human nature is contrasted with Christ’s divine nature, which is described as “the Spirit of holiness”.
      6. The phrase does not refere to the Holy Sprit, as some believe, but to Christ’s own spiritual or divine nature, which is holy.
      7. The first important thing about this section is its clear recognition of both the human and divine natures of Jesus.
    2. Contrast “descendant of David” and “Son of God”
      1. Descendant of David again points to the human nature of Christ.
      2. It is as a man that Christ was born into David’s family tree.
      3. “Son of God” is obviously linked to his divine nature.
    3. Another interesting contrast is betweent he words “was” and “declared”.
      1. “Was” is the verb used in the first part of this descriptive sentence and “declared” is the verb used in part two.
      2. “Was” is a weak rendering of the word paul actually used. It is the word “ginomai which means “become”, “take place,” “happen”, or in some cases “be born” or “come into being”.
      3. “Was” describes a past tense. “Became” shows that something came into existence that was not in existence previously.
      4. This is exactly what happened. Before his birth to Mary he was divine, he was God. After his birth he became human, but was and always will be divine.
  3. Great David’s Greater Son

    1. There is debate as to whether the church Paul was writing to was mostly Gentile, mostly Jewish, or an equal mix. Boice contends that the church was mostly Gentile, but Paul saw the gospel as growing out of its Jewish roots.
    2. When Paul uses the phrase “…was a descendant of David…” in verse 3 Paul brings the whole matter of Jesus’ Jewish ancestry.
    3. Why does Paul do this>
      1. By referring to Jesus as a “descendant of David,” Paul gives substance to his main contention, nameley, that Jesus was a true human being.
        1. Jesus was not a man by some mystical way, but was a true man that was grounded in a particular human ancestry.
        2. He would have a physical appearance, stories to tell about his relatives, we could have talked to him, and real friends.
      2. By referring to Jesus as a “descendant of David,” Paul gives a specific example of the things “promised beforehand” by God “in the Holy Scriptures.”
        1. One of the chief promises given was that Christ would come from the line of David, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse [David’s father]; From his roots a Branch will bear fruit.“(Isa. 11:1).
        2. Jeremiah 23:5-6 is even more explicit, “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reiigh wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord our Righteousness.”
        3. There is a problem because there were to lines of descendency from King David, one was the line of Solomon, the second was Nathan who was the older brother of Solomon.
        4. The problem arrises from Jeremiah 22:30. A prophesy is made about Jehoiachin, the last of the actual reigning kinds descended from King Solomon: “Record this mas as if childless, a man who will not propser in his lifetime: for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.
        5. Because of God’s curse no king descended from the line of Solomon, after Jehoiachin, could reign legitimately.
        6. Nathan had alos produced descendants, but any descendant who tried to claim the thrown would be challenged.
        7. There was a lack of reigning kings in one line and a curse on the other.
        8. How God solved it was so simple it confounds the wisest skeptics. The line of Solomon ran through the centures until it produced Joseph.
        9. Joseph could not produce the king because of the curse, but when Joseph took Mary under his protection and thus became the adobptive father of her divine child, he passed the right of royalty to him.
        10. As it turns out, Mary was a descendant of David through the line of Nathan.
        11. Jesus claims both lines in his unique personhood and eliminating the possibillity of there ever being any hother ligitimate claimant to the throne.
      3. By referring to Jesus as a “descendant of David,” Paul prepares the way for the exalted title he is going to give hime at the end of this great sentence, namely, “Lord.”
  4. The Sovereign Son

    1. How are we to unstand “was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead”? Particularly, how are we to understand the phrase “with power”?
      1. Most common way is to relate “with power” to “his resurrection” as if Paul was thinking of the resurrection as a striking revelation of God’s power.
      2. Using this approach, the words “Spirit of holiness” wold be seen as referring to the Holy Spirit, viewed as the agent of the resurrection.
      3. This resurrection would be proof of Christ’s deity, but the Bible does not speak of hte Holy Sprit’s raising Jesus from the dead. The Father is the one who did this resurrection.
      4. More importantly we have already seen “Spirit of holiness” refer to Christ’s divine nature. Words “kata pneuma”(according to spirit) parallel the words “kata sarka” (according to flesh)” and not to the third person of hte Trinity.
    2. A second understanding links “with power” to the declaration of Christ’s deity. That is, it views Paul as thinking of a powerful or effective declaration, one that accomplishes its ends.
    3. The words “with power” follow immediately after thw words “Son of God” so the text literally reads: “…declared the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead.
      1. In this view the words “with power” are linked to “Son of God” and Paul is now seen as speaking of “Sone of God with power”.
      2. “The powerful Son of God who he is declared to be by the ressurection”.
    4. The point of all this is not to show that the resurrection was a demonstration of the great power of God. The point is to declare Jesus as the sovereign Son of God and therefore rightly the “Lord” of all men as well as the Savior.

Personal Reflection

Paul gives us a crystal clear picture of who Jesus Christ is, he was from the line of David and he was the Son of God, both. This point cannot be argued, although some would like to. Liberal theology is in the habit of denying the deity of Christ, a failed attempt at making Christ out to be just a wise prophet, like Muhammad. But Paul, inspired the the Holy Spirit says no, this is not true. Jesus Christ is the true Son of God, born of a virgin, crucified, dead, buried and with power resurrected from the dead. This is a point which Christians cannot negotiate. Christian I say to you, do not even let it enter you mind that Christ was not the Son of God. It’s a terrible thing to compromise on this point, because if the Christian will compromise on this, what will the Christian compromise on next? The existence of God? Christianity cannot exist with Christ not being the Son of God. For if He was not the Son of God, then he would be a sinner just as you and I were, and His death holds no weight. Redemption had to be bought with the blood of an innocent sinless victim, Christ was that sacrifice. We take away the deity of Christ, then we take away all hope for mankind.

Of course this is what Liberal Theology would want. If they can remove the deity of Christ and plant the seed of doubt then they can begin to restructure, or redefine, what Christianity is. If they can redefine what Christianity is, then they can redefine what or who God is. All this is a feeble attempt to remove the sovereignty of God, to remove the guilt of sin, to redefine what sin is and is not. We see this in arenas of what constitutes life, what marriage is, and other biblical institutions. It is the end game of liberal theology to mold God into man’s image instead of accepting that man is made in the image of God and was created by God. All this to gain self-autonomy, free from an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God. Christian, if you attend a church, or visit a church, that dares to deny the deity of Christ I have but one word for you. FLEE! Run from that church and let its doors never be darkened by your shadow again. Christ, from the line of King David and also the Son of God, came to this earth with power. Christ used that power to go to his death on a cross and God used that power to resurrect Christ from the dead so that Christ would be crowned King of all creation. Do not let any man or woman persuade you otherwise. Jesus Christ our Lord.


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