“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Rom. 10:9-15).
“God’s Reign as King,” the “what” of the good tidings, gives way to the “how” of the good tidings (through Christ by the power of the Spirit in covenant). It’s set in Covenant Theology. Get that wrong, then most everything you believe about the Gospel will be wrong. The Puritans and Reformers are full of this concept all over the place in all kinds of works; singular books, systematics, covenant tomes, etc. It is a large part of “covenant” systematics, and even the way the Institutes of the Christian Religion are set up by John Calvin. His basic premise, “Know God first, then know yourself,” i.e. know God as supreme King, know man is sinner, and know God’s remedy as King in power to send Christ to reverse the fall. (God is a God of reversals.)
“Jesus loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life,” is not the Gospel. Don’t be duped.
Romans 10 is very explicit, especially the manner in which the Apostle lays out his whole “Romans” argument, and quotes extensively from Isaiah as to both his own commission as a preacher, the manner of faith, the manner of sanctification and preservation, and the covenant work of the Messiah in bringing good news by his ordained men. Bad news, all have turned aside and have become worthless. But Abraham was justified. God justified Abraham by faith. But, God does the choosing to whomever he will give faith, just look at Abraham and his covenant, look at Pharaoh and God’s kingly power. Look at election, and see that God does in fact save people in his own way and manner, through the Spirit. But, what is the good news? Romans 10 says that it is happy tidings. Isaiah’s proclamation, that which is prophesied to be brought to the nations, is “Our God Reigns”. Paul quotes Isaiah 52 in Romans 10 prove this point out.
But all of this is first a hermeneutical issue. If one does not believe Paul is teaching the OT, then all of this is for nought (which is a matter of exegetical thoughtfulness). Hermeneutics on this is eminently first, and covenant issues are usually butchered by contemporary evangelicalism because they often read the bible backwards. They start reading and preaching in John instead of Genesis.
Puritan and Reformed works hash this covenantal nuance out well, but one must read bits and pieces of all kinds of things to see it in full orbed glory; lots of systematics for example. They often quote things in assumption, assuming you as a parishioner of a church are well versed in your catechism and understand their concepts as they preach or write them. Here are a few quotes on this from just preached sermons:
“These news are proclaimed by great voices from Heaven: which may be understood either properly of the joy in Heaven and praise which God getteth there for the conversion of one sinner, much more for the conversion of Nations, or, (which especially we rest in) figuratively of the visible Church which is just now constituted, and the witnesses set therein; they before this spoke silently, now, with confidence and boldnesse they cry and praise: the rather we conceive this to be the voice of the witnesses and faithfull Ministers, because in the Song following we find only mention made of the Elders, and yet it is not like that the Ministers or beasts were silent, who (Chap. 4. and 5.) use in their thanksgiving to go before the Elders: this therefore is like to be from them, it being one of the delightsomest messages of the Ministers of the Gospel (Isa. 52.7.) to say unto Sion, thy God reigneth.” James Durham, A Commentarie upon the Book of the Revelation (Edinburgh: Christopher Higgins, 1658), 507.
“He hath raised you up to praise him, he hath brought you forth to glorifie his Name for ever: Oh ISRAEL, thy GOD Reigneth! Oh SEED of JACOB, thy King is beautiful and glorious! his Government is Everlasting, and his Dominion endures throughout all Ages; he is Risen to make all subject to him, and to make all bow before the Scepter of his glory.”
William Smith, The Morning-Watch, Or, A Spiritual Glass Opened (London: Printed, and are to be sold by Robert Wilson .., 1660), 54.
“HERE is matter of universal Joy: The Lord reigns, let the Earth rejoice. It is owing to this, that there is any good Order and civil Peace among the Heathen, tho’ they know not GOD, as manifested in his Son JESUS CHRIST. How shou’d Zion then rejoice and triumph in her King! Zeph. 3.14, 15. Sing, O daughter of Zion, shout O Israel, be glad & rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem — The King of Israel, even the Lord is in the midst of thee —. Certainly these are good Tydings of great Joy, which may well Comfort those that mourn in Zion, Isa. 52.7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Joseph Sewall, Jehovah Is the King and Saviour of His People. (Boston in New-England: B. Green, 1727), 12–13.
“Taken from the Prophecies of the old Testament, foretelling and perswading such a duty in the New, Isa. 52.8. with the voyce together shall they sing. And that is foretold of the times, when the feet of the Messengers of glad tydings shal be beautiful, who shall say unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. Which Paul explaineth of the times of the Gospel, Rom. 10.14.” John Cotton, Singing of Psalmes a Gospel-Ordinance, Or, A Treatise Wherein Are Handled These Particulars 1. Touching the Duty Itselfe, 2. Touching the Matter to Be Sung, 3. Touching the Singers, 4. Touching the Manner of Singing / by John Cotton, Early English Books Online (London: Printed for J.R. … and H.A. .., 1650), 10.
“The founder of the gospel was so. Isaiah lxi. 1, Luke iv. 18, he was anointed to preach the gospel to the poor; and how beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings; that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation, that saith to Zion, thy God reigneth—not thy perverse will, nor thy adversary.” Shippie Townsend, Repentance and Remission of Sins Considered, (Boston: Warden and Russell, 1784), 18.
(Even the Baptists (the older ones) quote and confer), “Finally, that passage in the Prophet, Thy Watchmen shall lift up the Voice, with the Voice together shall they Sing, is (saith he) prophetically spoken of the Times when the Feet of the Messengers of glad-tidings shall be beautiful, who shall say unto Sion, Thy God reigneth. This is interpreted by the Apostle Paul of the Gospel-times under the New Testament.” Benjamin Keach, The Breach Repaired in God’s Worship, (London: Printed for the Author, 1691), 82.
“The good tidings to Zion is, Thy God reigneth. And with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Isaiah III. 7. Rom. x. 10, 15.” Isaac Backus, The Doctrine of Particular Election and Final Perseverance, Explained and Vindicated, (Boston: Samuel Hall, 1789), 13.
“This is that glad tidings, that God hath commanded us his servants, to publish to his people, Esa. 52.7. Say unto Zion, thy God reigneth, when all is done.” Arthur Hildersam, CLII Lectures Vpon Psalme LI (London: George Miller, 1635), 256.
“When he enter’d upon his publick Ministry, God gave him the Tongue of the learned, that he should know how to speak a Word in Season to him that is weary; and he was most painful and diligent in his Work, he was awaken’d Morning by Morning, his Ear was awaken’d to hear, and vigorously to attend to the great Business before him. 71—He began his Ministry in the mountainous Parts of Judea; and how beautiful then upon the Mountains were the Feet of him who brought good Tidings, who published Peace, who brought good Tidings of Good, who published Salvation, who said unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” Jonathan Dickinson, Familiar Letters to a Gentleman, (Boston: Rogers and Fowle, 1745), 38–39.
“It sheweth you do not prize the Word, when you hate the Messengers of it, when you offer Violence to their Persons, and rob them of their good Names. Isa. 52.7. How beautiful upon the Mountains are the Feet of him that bringeth good Tidings, that publisheth Peace, that bringeth good Tidings of Good, that publisheth Salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Thomas Manton, A Second Volume of Sermons (London: J. Astwood, 1684), 284.
“Surely upon this account we should be welcome to you, Isa. 52.7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth Salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God Reigneth! How dirty soever their feet be with the Journey. Our Message is not to require satisfaction for the wrongs done to the Crown of Heaven, or to denounce War, but a matter of peace: Not only to beg a correspondency of Traffick, but a treaty about Marriage, and so to enter into the strictest-amity with God; Even that you may be married unto Christ, to bring forth fruit unto God, Rom. 7.4.” Thomas Manton, A Second Volume of Sermons (London: J. Astwood, 1684), 248.
“Still you know, that the Lord God almighty, the King of saints reigneth; that he only is holy, that all his ways are just and true; that his judgments will sooner or later be made manifest; and that in his loving-kindness you are secure against all real harm, tho’ the earth and heavens were mixed in one common chaos? The King of saints will never leave nor forsake those, who are truly such. Why then, O son of Sion, should thy soul be cast down, or disquieted within thee, if thy God reigneth! Hope thou in him; for thou shalt yet, and forever praise him.” Jonathan Mayhew, A Discourse on Rev. XV. (Boston: N.E.: Edes & Gill, 1755), 69–70.
“In answer, it may be said, that their commission was, ‘to go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ It is agreed that the word gospel, signifies good news, glad tidings: The Prophet and Apostles agree herein. The Prophet Isaiah saith, ‘O Zion that bringeth good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength, lift up, be not affraid: Say to the cities of Judah, behold you God. How beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good; that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, thy God reigneth.’ And similar is the word which God sent to the children of Israel; with which Peter was sent to the Gentiles, ‘preaching peace, by Jesus Christ, he is Lord of all.'” Shippie Townsend, The Gospel Considered, Boston: Thomas Adams, 1792), 5.
“THAT this Errand is to publish the glad tidings of Peace, and invite men to accept of it. That therefore is used as a periphrasis of the Gospel Ministry, Isai. 52.7. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that published peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! The Gospel is called, the Gospel of Peace, because it is an Instrument of making Reconciliation & Peace between God and man. Sin had made them enemies, but Christ came to made on the breath.” Samuel Willard, A Compleat Body of Divinity (Boston in New-England: B. Green and S. Kneeland, 1726), 437–438.
“How beautiful, ye Watchmen of Mount Ephraim, encompassing the walls of Jerusalem, were your footsteps in every intermediate age! Yours, in truth, were the feet of them, who brought good tidings of good, glad tidings of great joy, being shod with the preparation of the glorious Gospel of the Blessed; whilst your tongues, in the language of eloquent oratory, publishing Peace and proclaiming Salvation, said, unto Zion, God even thy God reigneth, and cried, unto the ends of Earth, Behold, the Desire of all Nations cometh.” George Richards, The Cry of the Watchmen of Mount Ephraim! (Portsmouth N.H.: John Melcher, 1795), 7–8.
“These Men of GOD come to us in the Name of the Great King of Heaven, clothed with his Authority, with his Word in their Mouth, and they say to Zion, Thy GOD reigneth!, thy KING cometh, bringing Salvation. They bring the Alarm of War, and Denunciation of Wrath against the wicked and ungodly: And they bring Messages of Peace, a Proclamation of Pardon and Grace unto penitent believing Sinners. They come upon the most honourable and momentous Concern that can be, the Salvation of lost Souls; and how beautiful should their Feet be unto all to whom they are sent?” Benjamin Colman, God Is a Great King. (Boston: S. Kneeland & T. Green, 1733), 6.
“Daniel saith in the end of his Prophecy, Many shall run to and fro, and Knowledge shall be increased: And Zacharia, We have walked to and fro thorow the Earth, and behold all the Earth sitteth still and is at Rest. Were but these things fixed, then might we very well say, How Beautiful upon the Mountains are the Feet of him that bringeth Glad Tidings, that Publisheth Peace, that bringeth Good Tidings of Good, that Publisheth Salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. These things are to be performed and done in the time of Christ Reign.” Thomas Brookhouse, The Temple Opened, (London: George Larkin, 1696), 44.
“For the gospel of Christ, saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth. Isaiah lii. 7.” Isaac Backus, The Nature and Necessity of an Internal Call to Preach the Everlasting Gospel, (Boston: Samuel Hall, in Cornhill, 1792), 20.
“How beautifull upon on the mountaines are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good things, that publisheth salvation; that saith to the righteous, thy God reigneth. How beautifull are their feet? much more their lips; you doe not in this as you doe in naturall things, if a man come, and bring glad tidings of taking of such a Towne, or of such a victory, though it may be there is losse, and little good in it, we all welcome it, and he is rewarded presently, and hath all wayes of encouragment, and yet when people shall come, and by the Spirit of God make known all the love of God in Jesus Christ, and all the riches of the Gospel in Jesus Christ, that your hearts should so rise against it, that you should receive and entertain so many prejudices against it, it is a strange, and wonderous thing.” Walter Cradock, Glad Tydings from Heaven to the Worst of Sinners on Earth (London: Mathew Simmons, 1648), 46–47.
Our God Reigns, (what), through Jesus Christ, (how).
The “what” of the Gospel: Our God Reigns.
Our God who is supreme King can reverse the misery and tragedy of the fall in his sovereign power as the SOVEREIGN God of the Universe.
The “how” of that Gospel is: through the covenant work of Jesus Christ.
Christ is that SOVEREIGN GOD, who comes to fulfill the Father’s will in covenant, and then sends the power of the Spirit to fulfill all his work in the lives of believers.