“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” (Romans 1:16-17 ESV)
In 1846 Ascanio Sobrero invented a colorless liquid with highly explosive properties known as Nitroglycerin. However, this explosive liquid was highly unstable and dangerous to move. Many felt that it could not be developed as a commercial explosive. But not Alfred Nobel.
Nobel, who is perhaps better known for the awards that use his name, was an engineer and son of an engineer. He was a successful inventor and was searching for a way to remove large amounts of stone. In 1863 he developed a blasting cap that could set off Nitroglycerin using a shockwave instead of heat. However the nitroglycerin was still highly dangerous to move and handle. In 1866 he discovered you could mix nitroglycerin with silica and turn it into a paste. It lost some of its explosive power, but gained stability to be formed into tubes and be sold. Nobel named this new explosive: Dynamite.
Dynamite, although we pronounce it wrong, is the Greek word for power, and the very word we find in this passage. The Gospel is the dynamite of God for salvation. At the core of what we believe is this: the Gospel is what truly works in us to change us, to shape us and to mold us.
The Gospel tells us that we can’t save ourselves, only God can. It tells us that on our own we are in desperate straights because we have chosen to act against the God who loves us. The Gospel tells us that there is no amount of rules we can follow that will make us holy. There is nothing special about us, whether our ancestors, our skin tone, or our genetics that saves us. It reminds us that there is an unmistakable, unchanging right and wrong and we can’t just live life however we feel like. Nor can we save ourselves from the results of the punishment.
Instead the Gospel is the power of God that reveals the righteousness of God. Righteousness that has been bought by Jesus Christ and offered to each of us when we confess that Jesus is Lord in our life and ask his forgiveness. It is the Gospel that we live our life in line with, and the Gospel that guides us.
Galatians 2:14 tells of when Paul takes Peter to task. The reason was that he wasn’t living “in step with the Gospel.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ becomes the guiding pattern for our life that we seek to keep in step with. Timothy Keller developed this in his article: “The Centrality of the Gospel.” He said: “The gospel is not the first ‘step’ in a ‘stairway’ of truths, rather, it is more like the ‘hub’ in a ‘wheel’ of truth.”
At its very core is a central tenant: we are not perfect. We have done wrong, and we cannot save ourselves either by following rules to live a better life, nor by doing away with all right and wrong. The penalty must be paid, but it already has been paid by Jesus, if we will simply surrender our lives to him and ask for forgiveness. This releases God’s amazing dynamite power to work in our life.
There can be no alignment without accepting and bringing our life into step with the Gospel.