Romans 1:4 reads,

τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν,


“the one appointed/decreed the son of God in power with regard to the Spirit of holiness from the resurrection of the dead,”

It appears that the Apostle Paul understood the resurrection of Christ to be nothing less than coronation ceremony of Jesus Christ as Lord and King. This is not to say that Paul disagreed with Johannine or Nicean Christological confessions that declare Jesus to be the son of God from eternity. Nor is it to deny the significance of the accounts of Jesus’ baptism in the First (Matthew 3:13-16), Second (Mark 1:9-11), and Third (Luke 3:21-22) Gospels where God announces Jesus as His son. Rather, it is to emphasize the resurrection in Pauline thought, especially as it relates to the justification of Messianic claims related to Jesus.

Jesus is (1) the one decreed or appointed the Son of God, (2) in power, (3) by the Holy Spirit (Hebraism: “Spirit of holiness”), and (4) from the resurrection of the dead. In other words Jesus is officially announced as God’s Son through the resurrection. I would argue that “son” here is not necessarily in reference to Jesus’ status as the second person of the Trinity, but rather it carries Messianic/Davidic connotations (see v. 3). Jesus is the King, Messiah, descendant of David, as promised by God through the Scriptures.

It would appear that in some sense the Apostle is echoing, or at least reflecting upon, the second Psalm which reads,

1 Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6 “But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”
10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (NASB)

In Psalm 2 the king whom God has chosen is rejected by the rulers. It is the desire to throw off his rule. Yet God laughs, then scoffs, then replies in anger. God announces He has already installed His king. The king replies that he has been called a “son” by God. God has begotten him. God has promised him the nations. Therefore, the nations ought to submit because there really is no other option. God has spoken.

With this in mind Paul can declare in 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all the ones believing, Jew first also Greek.”