The Promise of the Gospel—Romans 1:2
"The gospel he promised before hand through his prophets
in the Holy Scriptures..." (Romans 1:2)
If you look at the account of Paul's life in the Book of Acts, you'll see he was constantly defending the gospel before masses of people, Jewish leaders, the Roman government, and even before the original Apostles who learned directly from Jesus. I think this was because the gospel was so radically different than anything that had previously been taught and so the natural tendency was to question it.
Here's a beautiful truth: the very same gospel that Paul preached was promised throughout the entirety of the scriptures. Even today, we have a hard time understanding this, as I imagine the Apostle Paul did at first. In his own words, he admits to being faultless concerning legalistic righteousness (Phil. 3:6)—meaning he followed the letter of the law, which he knew inside and out and lived every moment making sure he was doing all that the law required. Some things don't change, for example, how many of us are like this today?
Imagine how mind-blowing it must have been to encounter Jesus and then to start piecing together everything the law and prophets talked about, which included everything Paul previously misunderstood while trying to do all that the law required. Imaging waking up to the fullness of what those things actually revealed—Jesus! This incredible revelation was so profound that Paul immediately set off for the desert of Arabia and spent three years sorting it out (Gal. 1:11-12, 17-18).
I picture Paul going word by word through the writings of the law and the prophets and reconciling them to the truth of Jesus. This is why he exclaims as his thesis in the letter to the Romans, "I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God…” (Rom. 1:16a). Paul's eyes were opened, and he saw everything the law and the prophets promised—they promised Jesus!
Jesus has always been God's plan—period. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the epicenter of history past, present, and future. In this truth, we learn that the gospel "is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:16b). This is good news for which Paul was set apart for from birth (Rom. 1:1).
Do Some Digging...
Have I sparked your interest? Then do some digging. Here are a few passages showing how Jesus was always God's plan for the world.
Gen. 3:15—God promised a Redeemer in the garden after the fall.
1 Pet. 1:18-20—Jesus was the Lamb chosen before the creation of the world.
Rev. 13:8—Jesus was the Lamb slain from the creation of the world.
2 Tim. 1:9-10—God's grace was given in Christ at the beginning of time.
Titus 1:1-3—God promised eternal life in Christ before the beginning of time.
Eph. 1:4—God chose us in Christ before the creation of the world.
Heb. 10:1—The law was a type and shadow always pointing towards Jesus.
John 5:39-40—Jesus said the scriptures testify about Him.
For further study on how the law and the prophets always pointed to Jesus, check out this blog post on Messianic Prophecies showing how Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy.
Can you think of other passages showing how Jesus was always God's plan for redemption? If so, then please share them in the comments section.
Original article published May 1, 2009.