The Gospel IS the power of God for Salvation to everyone that believes. It is the bedrock of the Christian faith, the crucial starting point that clearly distinguishes by whose power we are saved. From this foundation is our walk with God built so that even our effort is grace driven. But I fear that many who have believed something other than the gospel lay claims to Salvation. These, having begun on a false footing, have continued therein thinking to themselves that they are saved, striving by their own strength to maintain a morality that they confuse for the fruit of repentance. To these, the Christian life is bondage from which they seek release but they have concluded that it is better to endure this horrible existence than to burn is a god forsaken hell!
These men and women are heavy on externals but their hearts are putrid graves of hastily buried passions. They burn with lusts and unholy desires, but are afraid to even admit it, they are under the heavy yoke of the law, for they have not submitted to God’s grace and do not love his law! The love of God which the Spirit gives (Romans 5:5) is not in them and so, they have to “work up” love. Everything is an effort and the only “relief” they feel is when they are in familiar circles and reassure themselves that they are okay!
What utter ruin these have to put up with, all because they believed a false Gospel!
We must do everything to warn men! Knowing the wrath of God! We must present the gospel over and over again; trusting God’s word that this indeed is the power of God unto Salvation. I remember a recent conversation with a much respected preacher who thought it quite odd to rely on just telling people about these words of salvation (Acts 11:14). Perhaps, a little guilt will be in order? As incredible as it may sound, people are saved by believing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This gospel is an account of historical truths about Christ and the profound implications of His glorious person and finished redemptive work in the place of sinners on the cross of Calvary.
The gospel is not about an abundant life here on earth, it is not about wealth, health or great relationships; it is not about good behaviour or good works; it is not about hell or heaven. It is not about sanctification or faith. It is not even about how to start a “personal relationship” with God!
The gospel is about Christ and his finished work on behalf of sinners!
It is set forth in a manner that first and foremost awaken the hearers to the bad news of their rebellion and God’s righteous wrath against all of mankind (because all have sinned!), then it proclaims the free gift God offers to sinners through his Son’s finished work on their behalf and to the glory of God
So far, I have talked about one side of the coin of the “misconstruers” of the gospel. There are also those who believe that the gospel only requires a mental assent from the hearer (these wrongly term this mere mental assent as faith). These people fail to realize that Paul’s assertion about the Gospel as God’s power for salvation in Romans 1:16 continues in Romans 1:17 “for in it, a righteousness from God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, ‘The RIGHTEOUS shall LIVE by FAITH'”
The life that the gospel offers is by faith and by faith alone, but it is nevertheless a righteous life. A person whose life does not show forth this fruit of righteous living has most definitely not being converted by this gospel of Jesus Christ for it promises that with Salvation comes righteous living by faith!
There is the danger of course, in somebody hearing this and going, “Oh my, I really must prove that I am his!” The problem with that kind of thinking is that it is a throw back to self effort. My prayer is that you not only agree with what the gospel is, but really believe that God has accomplished what he has promised and then look forward to that transformation which is by His Holy Spirit.
Some of us, wrongly assume that the gospel is the ABC of the faith when in fact it is its A to Z. The reality of this life is hinged on what Christ has done on our behalf, and our sanctification is the unfolding realization of this. There will NEVER be anything you can do for God. It will FOREVER be about what God has done for you!
What is the gospel?
I break the Gospel down into 9 propositions:
1. God is glorious and deserves our worship.
2. God not only deserves our worship, he demands it.
3. Man rejects God’s right to his worship and gives it to himself and other creatures
4. God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against man’s rebellion. He punishes it with eternal hell.
5. Because of his rebellion, man is unable and unwilling to serve God.
6. God, because of his love, sent His unique son, Jesus in the form of sinful flesh and for sin, to condemn sin in the flesh. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life before God, was betrayed by his friend to the religious leaders of his day they handed him over to the Romans who tortured and killed him, after 3 days he rose from the dead
7. All this happened according to God’s plan so that people who trust in him will escape hell when they die, and be free from the controlling power of sin in this life.
8. Because of Christ’s death, people will either go to hell forever, if they reject his offer of salvation or enjoy eternal bliss with God if they accept it.
9. Those who accept it will be helped (i.ε. empowered) by God’s Spirit to pursue a life of godliness.