The gospel is powerful to save. Both the Old and New Testaments provide ample illustrations of the saving power of God. While the Old Testament often stresses the temporal salvation of God’s people (e.g., Ex. 14:13; 15:2), there are other demonstrations also of God’s power to spiritually save sinners (e.g., Ps. 77:14-15; Is. 12:2; 52:7, 10). And the New Testament particularly echoes the truth of God’s saving power (e.g., 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:8).
This spiritual, justifying and sanctifying power is good news for all people because of man’s inability to save himself (e.g., Rom. 5:6; 8:3). There is nothing in this world that can keep a man from death, raise him from the dead, or even more significantly, keep him from sin. Apart from the power of God, all men have died and apart from the power of God, all men sin (Rom. 3:23). The gospel is the only power that can liberate someone from death and sin.
Yet when we talk about God’s saving power and salvation, we speak of it in general terms. Yet the Scriptures are clear that there are some specific ways that the gospel saves us. It has both a negative work (it saves us from something) and a positive work (it saves us to something). The chart below articulates some of these realities. Yes, the gospel is powerful, and it is powerful to accomplish all of these saving actions. We do well to remember, meditate on, and act on these truths. We have been saved. We no longer have to sin; we can do righteousness. God is no longer our enemy (He can never again be angry with us); He is always and ever our friend and Father (He will always love and care for us with infinite tenderness and joy).
This is our salvation and the work of God’s gospel.