Paul introduces himself to the Roman church as an apostle, set apart for the "gospel of God." What is the good news? We don't have to guess because Paul tells us.
It's a message rooted in the promises of the prophets in the Scriptures (Romans 1:2). It's about the Son (1:3), who is the seed of David, scion of a royal house (1:3).
It's about the declaration or proclamation of Jesus the Son as Son of God, a royal title (1:4). This announcement of Jesus' kingship occurs when He is raised by the power of the Spirit (1:4).
The purpose of Paul's gospel ministry is to "bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles" (1:5).
Paul is commissioned to announce the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise (to bless the nations) and the Davidic promise (to give David's son an eternal throne).
The content of the gospel is fundamentally political: Jesus is raised to David's throne. The aim of preaching the gospel is also political: To bring about the obedience of faith among the Gentiles.
This gospel is the "power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (1:16). As Bates says, Paul's preaching of the good news of Jesus' kingship unleashes resurrection power.
Paul's description of the gospel sets the parameters for understanding key terms and ideas in Paul's letter. We don't just ask what faith (pistis) means in the abstract. We ask what it means for someone to have or show pistis to a King.
We don't just ask what righteousness means in general. We ask what it means for God's righteousness (or justice) to be revealed in Jesus' enthronement.
This shouldn't be controversial, or difficult. Paul couldn't have made it any clearer that the substance of the gospel is the story of Jesus' ascension to David's throne.
Jesus the son of David has risen to be installed as Son of God, enthroned as King of creation. That is the "gospel of God," the gospel that carries the power of salvation.
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