~by Randy Bushey
For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
Magnum opus is a Latin term referring literally to a great work.
For John Bunyan, it would be Pilgrim’s Progress.
For Michelangelo, the Creation of Adam painted on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel at the Vatican.
Handel’s would be Messiah. Leonardo da Vinci’s master work, Mona Lisa. The Beatles classic piece would be Abbey Road, and for Shakespeare it would be Hamlet.
Think of a master producing his or her masterpiece, or an archetypal work of genius. That is their magnum opus.
And for the Apostle Paul, it would have to be his Epistle to the Romans.
Paul likely wrote Romans from Greece around 57 AD during his 3 month stay in the region (Acts 20:3). One of his reasons was to state his intention to come to Rome, the imperial centre of the world and a city the apostle had not yet visited.
But, as in everything he undertook, Paul’s motivation was primarily to declare the Gospel.
The great apostle realizes that this is not his Gospel, but that he is called to be an apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God (1:1)
Paul’s rendering of the Gospel is simultaneously simple and complex:
-Justification: the point where a person is declared righteous by the Holy Judge based on faith in the Person and work of Christ
-Sanctification: from the point of justification until death, the Holy Spirit relentlessly persists in renewing one’s heart and mind to be more like Christ.
-Glorification: the hope of every Christ-follower, knowing that the best is yet to come: eternity with the Saviour.
Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul chooses to commence his letter by carefully introducing Christ, providing 3 key components to an adequate understanding of Jesus:
1) He is the long-awaited Jewish Messiah: the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures (1:2).
2) He is the Son of God: regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead (1:3,4).
3) He is the Sovereign Lord: Jesus Christ our Lord (1:4).
Takeaway: may the truth of Paul’s classic masterpiece so influence our lives 2 millennia after it was penned, that with the Apostle we can say, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).