3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David[b] according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, (Romans 1:3-4)
Through the Bible: Romans 1-3
For the next five days, we will be reading Romans together. Truthfully, five days isn’t nearly enough time to give to Romans. Consider that the book of Romans is central to the conversion stories of Saint Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Wesley. John Calvin called Romans “the entrance to all the most hidden treasures of Scripture.” John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress after studying Romans. And William Tyndale, the first person to translate the Bible into English directly from Hebrew and Greek, called Romans “the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament, and I think it [appropriate] that every Christian know it by heart and exercise himself therein continually, as daily bread for the soul. No man can read it too often or study it too well; for the more it is studied the easier it is; the more it is chewed the pleasanter it is, and the more it is searched the more precious are the things found in it.”
So, yeah. Five days isn’t enough. But in order to even scratch the surface of all that Romans is, we first have to understand what it is about. Paul tells us in verse 3 that this entire letter is “concerning [God’s] Son. He says two things about Jesus that frame everything else he will say in his letter:
First, Paul says that Jesus is descended from David according to the flesh. Jesus is a real, live, flesh and blood, historical person. We aren’t just invited to learn a philosophy or a teaching, like Buddhism. The gospel is about a person.
But second, Paul says that this person was “declared to be the Son of God in power… by his resurrection from the dead.” Now, this doesn’t mean that Jesus only became the divine son of God when He rose from the grave. We know from John 1:1 that Jesus was in the beginning with God. God the Son has always existed as the Second Person of the Trinity. But the resurrection is the singular event that removes all doubt and declares that Jesus is exactly who he says He is.
It’s kind of like when World War II ended on August 15, 1945. I believe the outcome of the war was decided on December 8, 1941. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States entered the war, I think the defeat of Japan and Germany was sealed in that moment. But a week after two atomic bomb were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki three and a half years later, victory was declared. The enemy said, “there is no way I can continue to fight against such decisive power.”
And that’s what the resurrection was. Jesus had always been the son of God. But the resurrection absolutely, fully, finally, decisively, indisputably, irrevocably declared that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
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