Paul introduces himself in his epistle to the Romans in usual fashion. He identifies himself as a “slave of Christ Jesus” (c.f. Phlm., Ti.) and one who is “called as an apostle” (c.f. 1 Cor., 2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Col., 1 Tim., 2 Tim., Titus). However, in this epistle Paul adds a phrase unique to the introduction of Romans, εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ (“the gospel of God” or “God’s good news”). This was the purpose for which Paul was writing to the Romans, it was the very reason he had been “set apart” by God himself.
Notice, though, that this was God’s good news. John MacArthur said this of verse one:
The most important thing about the gospel is that it is of God… it was not man’s news, but God’s good news for man.
The fact is, the gospel is from God, about God, and dependent upon God. Paul continues in his opening of Romans to elaborate on the nature of this gospel. He says verses 16-17:
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God (θεοῦ) for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God (θεοῦ) is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”
What does it mean that the gospel is of God? It means that we can be assured of its certainty based on the character of God. We don’t have to question our calling every time we do something wrong or feel as though we don’t deserve salvation. The point is that we don’t deserve salvation, but God, in His righteousness, has decided to enter into a covenant with those who would respond to Him in faith. Once an individual has entered into a covenant with God, it cannot be broken because God’s righteousness won’t allow it. Consider the following passages:
8 He will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:8-9)
10 This is why I endure all things for the elect: so that they also may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11This saying is trustworthy: For if we have died with Him,we will also live with Him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He will also deny us; 13if we are faithless, He remains faithful,for He cannot deny Himself. (2 Tim. 2:10-13)
29 For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those He predestined, He also called; and those He called, He also justified;and those He justified, He also glorified.
31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?32He did not even spare His own Son, but offered Him up for us all; how will He not also with Him grant us everything? 33Who can bring an accusation against God’s elect? God is the One who justifies. 34Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died,but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us. 35Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written: Because of You we are being put to death all day long; we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered. 37No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. 38ForI am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come,nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:29-39)
I ran into a man at the airport a couple of weeks ago and he was adamantly against me because of my position that once saved, one could not lose their salvation. The belief that you could lose your salvation is based off of a misunderstanding that our actions are what determine our standing before God. If this were true, there’d be no hope for any of us. The gospel is “of God.” It is based on Christ’s work on the cross and for that, there is no condemnation.