Romans 1:2 Commentary and application
Romans 1:2- 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures,)
Paul points out that the gospel was promised by God through His prophets and in the Scriptures. This is an important point. This means that the gospel and the church is not some new idea that was foreign to the scriptures but it is the fulfillment of the promises of God in the Old Testament. It is the fulfillment of the promise in Gen 3:15 of the seed of the woman crushing the head of the serpent. It is the fulfillment of the promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in Genesis (Gal 3:6-16, 26-29). It is the fulfillment of the promise made to David that God would rebuild his tabernacle and his Son would sit on his throne forever (Amos 9:11-12, Acts 15:16-17). It is the fulfillment of the promise that the gentiles would be made a part of Israel (Isa 54:1-3, Eph 2:11-22). If we look at Luke 1:67-75 and Luke 2:25-32 we will see that the Holy Spirit spoke about this through Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, and Simeon.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; For he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us In the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, Which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, And from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, And to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies Might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, All the days of our life.” Luke 1:67-75
“25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart In peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Luke 2:25-32
All the promises of God find their amen in Jesus (2cor 1:20). Jesus is the fulfillment of all the promises of God. When we read the Old Testament and we see the great promises God made we should think about how those promises are fulfilled in Christ and His church.
In modern day dispensational theology there is a tendency to divorce the Old Testament promises and prophecies from what Christ has done through the gospel and in His church. This goes against what Paul and the apostles taught. There is a clear teaching in the New Testament that the promises God made in the Old Testament find their fulfillment in Christ, the church, and the gospel. We must always read the Old Testament through the lens of what God has revealed to His people in Christ and the gospel. We no longer look to an earthly Jerusalem and Zion but to the true heavenly one (Heb 12:22-24). When we read prophetic language in the Old Testament we need to understand that they were painting pictures of spiritual things that the people could not understand yet. When you read the prophecy of Zacharias above note that he says that in the coming of Christ, and the preaching of the gospel, God was fulfilling all the promises He had made in the scriptures through the prophets. God has saved us (the Israel of God), not from earthly enemies like Rome, Babylon, etc, but from our true enemies, Satan, sin, the world, and death. He has made us perfect, holy, and righteous servants, not by works of the law but through the faith of Christ. He has given us peace, not an earthly peace and comfort, but the eternal peace and comfort of knowing that we will spend eternity in a new world to come with Him and His people forever!
I know what I have said above may be alarming for people with a dispensational background but I ask you to reflect on these scriptures. Look at Amos 9:11-12 and then look at Acts 15:16-17. Here you will clearly see that God has already rebuilt the throne of David in the true Jerusalem, the heavenly one. Jesus sits on the throne NOW ruling over God’s true Israel from one end of the earth to the other. We are not waiting for the earthly Jerusalem to have her king; we were always waiting for the Heavenly King to take His throne after making atonement for our sins! Jesus established the Kingdom at His first coming and will consummate it at His second coming.
I have tried to be brief in covering this verse because a whole book could be written about how Christ has fulfilled the law and prophets. For more in depth study I listed some verses below you can reflect on.
Read these promises and see how they are fulfilled in Christ and the church-
Gen 3:15, 22:18, 49:10, Psa 72:17, Isa 7:14, 9:6-7, Isa 53-54, Joel 2:28-32, Eze 36:25-27, Jer 31:31-37
These are only a few of the promises that find fulfilment in Christ and the church!