Jesus and the gospel
A Bible exposition on what the gospel is and how to use it effectively
People speak about being on a spiritual journey. The journey ends by arriving at the truth;
If you are still on the journey then you haven’t arrived.
The gospel message is the power of God to salvation - once understood it becomes the motivation to exercise ones will through the grace of God to put their trust in Christ; to call upon the lord to save them from their sins. And yes we all have sinned.
In our day we have seen people alter the gospel for the building of a person’s self esteem, to give us power for what we desire.
Some want power to heal and do miracles, to have authority by words, and even to make us sinless. There are those inside the church that want it changed. The gospel is no longer the only way to have membership in the church (in Christ). You don’t have to be in Christ to be in the church (or be the church). The gospel is the great equalizer, the church is made of those who have been forgiven by their savior and start again living a new spiritual life. Our life that is being transformed like Christ is a progression, a steady work of his spirit within us.
The gospels main focus, is to forgive us of our sins. The gospel’s purpose is to bring us into a relationship with God, to save us from being judged for our sins, even after we are saved.
If your gospel is not focused on Jesus’ death for our sins (and his resurrection), then you will not receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The gospel preached by the apostles (Paul) is found in 1 Cor.15:1-4:
1 Cor. 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
If one says Jesus did not rise physically from the dead but came back in a spiritual body, this is a denial of a core teaching that is related to the gospel of salvation - the resurrection. It changes the 3rd point of the gospel.
still exists in today (in a glorified state). It is this gospel Paul said He delivered to them in. The Gospel concerns God’s only Son and His work on the cross (the crucifixion) on our behalf to forgive our sin. If its focus is on something else, no matter how sacred or from the Bible, then it is not the gospel of Christ.
What does the Gospel consist of?
1st - The gospel is what Jesus did for us not what we do for him, it is focused on His death on the cross for our sins.
2nd - The gospel centers on the person of Christ; who He is. If you don’t know who He is, then you can’t know whom you are calling on for salvation? Whom the Son of God is must be defined when it is presented.
The Gospel is focused on two specific areas: 1) who Jesus is and 2) what He has done. It is centered on the person and work of Christ for us. The person is the who- which the gospel is focused on - God who came in the flesh. Jesus said unless you believe I am you will die in your sins”
If your Jesus is not God in the flesh, the Son who was eternally with the Father then he is not the Lord and cannot save.
If your salvation is dependent on saying the right words in a prayer but lacks biblical faith (wholly dependent on Jesus only to save) then it becomes only a religious exercise. One can exercise faith without a prayer and have it is acceptable. Praying without faith, repeating words that are put in your mouth is not what is required. To believe with spontaneous prayer from the heart in your own words shows that you understand the gospel message.
If he us not considered the only way, having a life and death dependence on the work he did
Jesus saving you- not the church, not baptism, not any work accompanying his work but that his sacrifice was 100% sufficient on its own ( the Father accepted it)
1 Cor 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Those who are saved by the message can give the message, for they understand who saved them.
1 Cor 1:21 “it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. What were they to believe?
1 Cor. 2:2 “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
This gospel says you can be saved – are you saved?
Another, a different Jesus
Paul explains what the Gospel is NOT in his admonition in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you may well put up with it” (you will have to endure it, or you wear it beautifully; and some do). Paul was concerned about Satan’s ability to corrupt our mind as he did Eve and remove us from the simplicity we now have in Christ.”
Notice that Paul states a Jesus that they, the apostles, did not preach. It is clear that Paul said “another Jesus” was being preached, even then.
1) Another Jesus (Greek-allos) The name is the same; it’s the name Jesus from the Bible, but it is NOT the Jesus of the Bible. The difference – he is an angel, a ascended master, the Jesus from the 7th dimension. He is not the sinless Son of God, who is Yahweh the creator of all , the Lord in human flesh who died and resurrected bodily. This is the Jesus one must have to be saved. If someone teaches a Jesus who is different in nature, not being fully God, or if they represent Him as something He is not, it can affect His nature and how you follow Him. That would be another Jesus.
2) A different gospel (Greek-heteros) means: altered, strange. It is not the same one Paul preached; it has a qualitative difference; it cannot save. This change comes from subtractions or additions. In Galatians 1:6-9, Paul declares: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed”(KJV).
Notice Paul says “if we,” he includes himself and the other apostles in this warning of preaching another gospel. Knowing that anyone can be removed from teaching the truth. Angels (spirit beings) were always involved in giving revelation to mankind. Paul, under prophetic inspiration, is warning the believers then and us now against receiving any new understanding from a spiritual source that would be different from what was first delivered to the apostles and is written in the Bible.
If someone teaches a gospel that affects who Christ is or how one relates to Him, subtracting or adding any work (i.e. old Testament laws, or something made up), it distorts the teaching of salvation of grace through faith. It becomes another gospel, even if the crucifixion and resurrection are mentioned. There are those who preach the right gospel but compromise, teaching unbiblical things after which hinders or affects one walking right and standing in the gospel, such as you need to have hands laid on you, collapse, to receive the Spirit.
We need to make sure we are preaching the same gospel, the same Jesus that the apostles did, the one that will save someone from their sin. A gospel that denies the depravity of the natural man, not calling us sinners is a different gospel. Until we are willing to admit we are not as good as we think we are and see ourselves as God does, in a damaged condition because of sin, we can’t be cured. Without a correct understanding of the nature of man and sin, in relation to God, saving faith cannot be exercised. Christ came to die for sin (Heb. 9:26, 28).
If you have another Jesus you will have a different spirit that teaches a different gospel.
A number of different Jesus’ are being presented today, even from inside the Church. Some say that Jesus left His deity in heaven and came to earth as an ordinary man (a sinless man), as prophet, making Jesus to be only an anointed man.
Cults redefine the message to its lowest common denominator
They call Jesus the Son of God: All the cults believe this, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Iglesia ni Christo etc. so should we welcome them to the body of Christ? They believe he is the savior.
These cults have another Jesus, as they make Him be an angel or just a perfect man. Some see Jesus as only a prophet or that He became the Christ when he was anointed by the spirit at His baptism. If Jesus is not equal with the Father, The Son manifested in the flesh then you have forfeited the salvation he gives (I Jn.3:8).
Additions such as holiness, works, tithing for blessings, keeping the Sabbath day and baptism to be saved change the gospel. Baptism is an act of obedience following belief, but it is not the gospel which is centered on what Jesus did. Signs and wonders not the Gospel either. They can point to the one who can save. Many now practice a cross-less Christianity in place of the message of the cross. In many churches miracles and self improvement methods are preached, not Christ crucified. The gospels priority is about salvation to the lost, it is not about offering blessings to the saved. Paul preached the cross, Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 1:18).
God’s mercy was initiated by God himself. He came to set us free from the bondage (lifestyle chains) that sin has on us. Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."
Faith comes from hearing the word of God. Salvation Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. It is an act of faith, the application of blood is done by those who believe that this is what their trust is in ONLY. Salvation is only through the sacrifice of Jesus and nothing else is required, not the Sabbath, not baptism, not tithing
Works in relation to the Gospel
There is no mention of good works in the "gospel by which we are saved" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In fact, Paul argues that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28), which were kept by works,and he reminds us that "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us" (Thus 3:5).
All the world's religions are based upon works. The idea that we must live up to a certain standard of works to be accepted is their foundation. Somehow their god[s] must be appeased by human efforts. The same idea is innate in all people who find themselves in a quandary they can’t control: "If You will get me out of this predicament, God, then I'll do this or that for You!" Clearly that is not what James is teaching under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit when he speaks of (Jms.2:145-21).
Biblical Christianity rejects this universal propaganda that we are saved by works, a professed faith that is not evidenced by works is dead and cannot save: "[if] a man says he has faith" (2:14). James’ warning that a mere profession of faith, from the lips but not lived by the heart is empty, our faith is not genuine.
Even if you could keep the law perfectly in the future, it could not make up for having broken it in the past. Paul said, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). It is therefore clear no one can be saved by good works.
True faith sees no merit in its own work but holds to the merit found in Christ by His work on the cross. A works-for-salvation mentality is found in every cult. Indeed, even atheists justify their rejection of Christianity on this basis. Famed atheist Robert Ingersoll sarcastically complained against the gospel of God's grace:
They [Christians] say a certain belief is necessary to salvation. They do not say, if you behave yourself you will get there; they do not say, if you pay your debts and love your wife and love your children, and are good to your friends and your neighbors and your country (like we atheists are], you will get there. That will do you no good; you have got to believe a certain thing.”
No matter how bad you are, you can instantly be forgiven if you genuinely turn you life over to Jesus Christ the savior of all men. No matter how good you are now or become, if you fail to believe in Christs work, that which you still cannot understand, at the day of judgment no excuse will help you.
If anyone could be saved by his works, then he would have a reason to boast before God which eph.2:8 says is not possible (Rom. 3:27). If we could be saved by our own good works, then the death of Christ was unnecessary (Gal. 2:21). It is part of our fallen nature to boast in what we do, even if we think we did something right.
The Law and works
If we still need anything from the law to complete salvation, (such as the Sabbath, diet etc.) then Christ is not the Savior: His work is not perfect or sufficient. Paul writes in Galatians 2:21: “…for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Gal. 3:19-25 states that the law points out our guilt and was a teacher to bring us to the Savior: once faith is exercised in Christs work (the gospel) we are under a new covenant, we are kept by the power of the Spirit, and it is by our faith that the requirements of Christ are established in our living.
Nowhere in the Scripture do we find anyone keeping the law for salvation, which would make one accepted by God through his works. In Rom. 5:20: “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might increase…”
We are told the law stirred up what is in the corrupt heart of man. It didn’t make man corrupt but only brought out what was already there inside. But it did not help man to become cleansed from sin, either. Rom.7:5: “For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions (the emotions of sin) which were aroused by the Law were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.” The law put sin in motion. Rom 7:9-11: “And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and the commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me.”
The laws purpose is to point out our failure to keep its commands; it does not help one iota in making us holy.
The ancient Gospel
From the beginning a blood sacrifice was to be given and was used by faith to cover sin
“God forbid that I should glory [boast], save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 6:14).
The Bible teaches a person cannot be baptized unless they repented and believe the gospel, and that Jesus Christ is the Lord. This makes it impossible for them to be baptized to be saved, when one needs to be saved to be baptized.
Throughout the New Testament, we find Jesus forgiving one's sins without baptism (Mark 2 for example). Baptism is only connection to the forgiveness of sins is because it serves as the external statement of the real internal experience, thus it is a seal of the covenant we made through faith.
“To believe” (have faith) is used 240 times in the New Testament in relation to receiving salvation
Godly sorrow for one’s sins means repentance has taken place. 2 Cor. 7:10: “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.”
Accepting a wrong gospel is like getting what you think is a diamond and later finding out it was a glass imitation, a counterfeit, it can’t do what it is supposed to do. Hopefully you find this out sooner than later.
The Unchanging Gospel
The apostles preached Christ crucified. In every sermon, His death and (or) resurrection was given prominence 1 Cor. 2:2 says, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” This is what Paul states in 1 Cor. 15:1-4: “I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you . . . by which also you are saved . . . I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received.” He then mentions Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
To do this, one confesses to God that he is a sinner and is in need of Christ’s work to be reconciled to God. So the content of the Gospel is to believed, that He died for our sins and rose again to be our Savior. One is convinced of this truth and puts his trust in the person and the work of Christ.
John 6:44"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him”
It is God’s work, through the Holy Spirit to draw an unbeliever to the point of conviction and recognition of his sinful state.
It is at that point that we can agree with God that we are sinful, separated from Him, and in dire need of being reconciled to God. The mind is convinced of this truth and the heart will rejoice in learning it. Both the material and immaterial part of man is involved in the decision to trust in Christ (Rom. 10:8-13).
Eph. 1:7 tells us that we are redeemed through His shed blood (brought back from the slave market of sin), and forgiven. In verse 13 we read that, ‘“In Him you also trusted after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (vs. 14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance . . .”
The Word of truth, Christ’s death and resurrection - the Gospel. When one believes he is immediately sealed with the Holy Spirit, who then resides in them.
Paul stated in Rom. 1:16-17 that the gospel of Christ is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” In other words they continue in faith.
The Bible speaks of two births, one of the flesh the other of the Spirit (Jn.3:6). Your first birth is a birth in sin, we are all conceived having the sin nature. The second birth you are born by the Spirit by faith only those who believe the gospel receive a righteous nature which is to rule over the fallen one
Our sins are remitted through our participation in the death of Jesus Christ – it is by the “one time offering” of Jesus. If this gospel message is changed then it cannot save, it cannot produce the new life from the Holy Spirit.
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
“Whosoever” is a statement that is used 81 times in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Be a whosoever, not a whatever.