The Centrality of the Gospel in Preaching 14
How then is spiritual regeneration and effectual calling accomplished? I submit through the centrality of the gospel in preaching wherein the Holy Spirit regenerates the fallen sinner thereby enabling him/her to repent of sin (2 Timothy 2:25) and turn by faith to Christ for salvation (Romans 3:31-28). The proclamation of the gospel, and the centrality of the same, is indispensable in applying the completed work of redemption, propitiation and justification which Christ accomplished on the cross.
Paul continues by articulating that the Jew is first to receive the gospel. As one commentator explains:
Because the Jews were God’s Chosen People (11:1), the custodians of God’s revelation (3:2), and the people through whom Christ came (9:5), they have a preference of privilege expressed historically in a chronological priority. As the Lord Jesus stated it, “Salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22). In Paul’s ministry he sought out the Jews first in every new city (Acts 13:5, 14; 14:1; 17:2, 10, 17; 18:4, 19; 19:8). Three times he responded to their rejection of his message by turning to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:25-28). Today evangelism of the world must include the Jews, but the priority of the Jews has been fulfilled. (Bible Knowledge Commentary 2:441)
Not only must the church delight in the gospel and remember the power of God is contained in the gospel, but the church must also recognize the righteousness of Christ is revealed in the Gospel. Romans 1:17 states, “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17, ESV).
The phrase “for in it” takes us back to the main subject: the gospel. Paul explains that the gospel not only contains the power of God unto salvation, but it also reveals the righteousness of God. Righteousness (δικαιοσύνη / dikaiosynē) is the doctrine concerning the way in which man may be viewed as being in a state or condition approved of God. It means to be put in a right relationship with God.
Paul further develops the idea of the righteousness of God in Romans 3:21-26 where he writes:
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3.21-26, ESV)