The Essential Outline: The Bottom Line

Read the first installment, “The Essential Outline: The Main Points.”

If Barclay is right that Romans 1:2-4 is a “most essential outline” of the gospel, what do these main points have to say to us?

1. God is unwavering in his plan of salvation. And when he says something, be sure he will do it. Don’t tell us he might change his mind at the end. That’s human thinking, it’s what people do, not God. The holy Scriptures are the touchstone for saints, the guiding star for disciples, the open door into the heart and presence of God. Discerning believers praise it as the word of God.

2. Jesus is all that man was meant to be. He is both supreme example and sufficient sacrifice. Unblemished and pure, he did what we could not and makes us what we always aspired to be. While we await perfection, that complete banishment of sin, we enjoy holiness and sanctification. As his followers, we share in his nature and ancestry, true children of Abraham. He is the unique Son who brings many children to God.

What Jesus was “according to the flesh” points us beyond his human nature to what he is in the spirit.

3. By Jesus God guarantees he will do the same for us, both in the first, spiritual resurrection and the second, eternal one. The resurrection of Christ means all we read in Scripture is true. Hence, our hope is firm, our faith secure, our love grounded in both his person and his actions toward us. Eyewitnesses said they saw and touched him; faith proclaims we will see and embrace him.

4. The Holy Spirit permeates the new covenant as the distinguishing feature of the gospel. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17b). The same Spirit who works to make the word convict and transform is the same who dwells, with Christ and God, in the heart of the obedient. He it is who takes our mangled wordless prayers and gives them wing and welcome before the Father. Moses’ wistful wish (Numbers 11:29) is now every disciple’s weal.

5. Christ is in charge. He makes it happen, ushers history to its conclusion, sends and dispatches to complete his mission, holds the churches in his hand. In him is the full heaven-and-earth authority of God. In him are concentrated all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, all the fulness of deity, all the substance and reality (Colossians 2:3, 9, 17). So when he commands, his people obey. No questions asked. Christ doesn’t want creative people in his kingdom, but submissive servants. No tweaking needed, just seeking to do what’s ordered.

Next week, “The Essential Outline: Less basic not unnecessary

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