Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power (Greek word dunamis, from which we get dynamite) of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 KJV.)
The gospel — the good news of Christ — is the power of God.
Christ, the anointed one, the designated one, the sin-free one, was qualified to accept my sin so I could get clear of it, clean of it, free of it myself. Free of its eternal consequences.
To all those who hear this good news and believe it, that good news is power. Not just ordinary human power, like a get-out-of-jail-free card, though.
God’s power. Dunamis, dynamite power, miracle power. God’s creative ability, strength, capability, resources, tools, knowledge and determination.
What does God use his power for?
For one thing, to create the creation. All the planets, all the universes, all the galaxies, all the matter and all the people that ever have existed or will exist, everything. And to maintain that creation. To keep things running, existing, cohering, living, forever.
In this specific instance, it is the ability to produce or result in salvation to everyone who believes.
Salvation, the key point in this verse.
Many Christians think of salvation as a combination get-out-of-hell-free card and the deed to a mansion in heaven after we die. They don’t think about it much more than that. But they should.
Sozo, the Greek word for salvation in this verse, is an inclusive word. It contains rescue, deliverance, safety, preservation, sustenance, healing and health, for the body, spirit and soul. Every provision for life.
Need rescue? From poverty, fire, earthquake, volcano, flood, tornado, tsunami, drought? Need deliverance from a terrorist, abuser, thief, or con man? Need freedom from addictions, phobias or fear? Or demon harassment? Sozo to the rescue.
Need provision? For body, soul and spirit? Food. Water. Exercise. Rest. Refreshment. Wisdom. Knowledge. Community. Network. First Aid. Medicine. Healing. Health. Employment. Strength. Training. Mentoring. Counseling. Guidance. Encouragement. Correction. Direction. Companionship.
All of that is contained in this one four-letter word, sozo. That aspect of God’s power is like a laser beam, a conduit or a conveyor belt from God to me when I need something. I’d say that qualifies as good news indeed.
The problem of suffering lack isn’t on God’s end. His end, the supply end, is always there. But sometimes when his conveyor belt is running, the laser beam is blasting or the conduit is flowing, we just don’t see it.
We’re too distracted, maybe. Or too busy trying to fix things ourselves, all the time wondering “Why doesn’t God do something to help me!”
“God helps those who help themselves,” they say. Doesn’t He? Yes, he helps by explaining plainly in his Word how to receive his help. It’s not God’s fault when people don’t listen.
So, how to receive this supply? The “God-power” container, the gospel, is freely available for those who will believe it. Believe all of it.
If you believe that God will take your soul to heaven when you die, that’s good, but that’s not all. That’s not the whole gospel. You’ll get as much gospel as you believe, and sometimes you just don’t believe enough of it.
Mark 16:20 says, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”
Believe the Lord. Believe his Word. They believed the gospel, God’s good news, then they preached it (the word), and then the Lord confirmed what they preached with “attesting miracles that accompanied them.” (Wuest translation)
Today with all of the world’s bad news, we need more of God’s good news! God’s creative, rescuing, providing power. Sozo.