81. WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF GOD?
(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 1)
There is and has always been only one true Gospel of God (also referred to in the Bible as the Gospel of Christ) and it has absolutely nothing to do with money, riches, getting ahead in life, breakthrough, advancement, promotion, sowing a financial seed or how to acquire possessions for yourself and live your best life while here on earth.
The Bible makes it clear that any Teacher, Preacher, Pastor or Prophet that teaches or preaches anything other than the Gospel of God, which is touted as the Gospel of God, equivalent to the Gospel of God or that contradicts the Gospel of God is a FALSE Teacher, Preacher, Pastor or Prophet. He or she is not of Christ but of the devil. He or she is not fighting for the cause of Jesus Christ but against it.
It does not matter who he or she is, how well respected, liked, articulate, nice or popular. Galatians 1:8 makes it clear that “… though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
WHAT THEN IS THE TRUE GOSPEL OF GOD?
Jesus Christ is at the centre of the true Gospel of God and the very subject of it.
In Romans 1:16-17, the apostle Paul declared boldly:
- “For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL OF CHRIST: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”
The Gospel of God (The Gospel of Christ) is therefore about believing the truth about Jesus presented by God in his Word the Bible, through faith, which then enables the believer to obtain God’s perfect righteousness and salvation.
In a nutshell, the Gospel of God (The Gospel of Christ) speaks about mankind’s PROBLEM, the PENALTY for our problem and therefore our dire PREDICAMENT, God’s PROVISION to deliver us from this grave penalty and his promise of PEACE to all that believe and receive his free gift of salvation.
Let us examine these (4) aspects which constitute the Gospel, in more detail:
Sin (a deadly spiritual virus), entered the world as a result of one man’s disobedient and reckless actions and this virus passed on or spread from that one man (Adam) to all human beings (his descendants) or future generations.
The Bible tells us:
- “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
- “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
THE PENALTY AND OUR PREDICAMENT
God, who is the source of life and life itself, hates sin and so, as descendants of Adam, the first man ever created, we are born separated from God because we are born with sin in our DNA.
Given that we are born separated from God, the Bible tells us that we are born into this world spiritually dead (although we are alive physically) and condemned to a lost eternity.
For, God has pronounced the penalty of death as the reward or wages for sin. This is why we live for a while when we are born but then succumb to death physically. However, the penalty for sin is not just physical death but it extends to what is referred to in the Bible as the second death. That is, when we die physically, our souls continue to exist but due to our sin condition, God sends us to hell forever, a very hot place with fire and brimstone.
For, God refuses to allow the soul of any human being into his perfect heaven after physical death, if he has not been cleansed from his spiritual sin virus or disease. Denied access to heaven, the only other place after physical death and judgment for sinners to go is hell. This is the penalty or wages for sin: Eternal separation from God in hell forever.
The Bible tells us:
- “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
- “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)
- “..it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
John, who was given insight by the glorified Jesus into what was about to come at the end of the world, stated in Revelations 20:12-15:
- “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 states:
- “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ::Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
In Matthew 25:31-33, 41 and 46, Jesus stated of his return to judge the earth of sin, referring to himself as the Son of man:
- “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”
Although we are born condemned and with a grave penalty for sin hanging over our heads because of his love for us, God decided to freely offer all of mankind the opportunity to be cleansed from his sin and saved from God’s wrath to come, through Jesus Christ, His Son.
As part of this plan, God the Son (Jesus) came to earth in human form many years ago, lived a perfect life and then allowed himself to be captured and killed by wicked, envious, sinful men. Given that he was God the Son, God rose him up from the dead on the third day (just as heaven had planned and as Jesus testified would happen), he appeared to more than 500 people, spent at least 40 days on earth and then, in the presence of eye witnesses, went back up to heaven.
He (Jesus), has however promised that he will return again at the end of the world to judge it of sin and that all of the human beings on the earth or who have ever lived, will be judged and sent to one of two places: Heaven or Hell.
Those who have died in their sins or who he returns to find still physically alive but in their sins, will be sent to hell where the devil and his angels (demons) will also be sent. However, those who accepted God’s offer of salvation while they were still alive and before Jesus returned, will be saved and granted access to heaven.
For, God has made cleansing, forgiveness for sin, healing and restoration available while we are alive, through his Son Jesus Christ. He has promised that whosoever believes that Jesus rose again from the dead and confesses with their mouth that he is Lord, will be washed with the very blood of Jesus, which was shed on the cross for our sins. This blood is powerful because it is the blood of God the Son and it therefore has the ability to remove and erase our sins.
To benefit from this free gift of salvation and to be washed from our sins, we must come humbly to Jesus, believe God’s testimony (as told to us in his Word the Bible), that Jesus rose from the dead and confess with our mouth that he is Lord over all. In so doing, we must be sorry for our sins (which God hates), turn away from them (repent) and resolve to live a life surrendered to the authority of Jesus and His Lordship.
The Bible tells us:
- “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31)
- “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
- “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
- “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) (JESUS)
- “…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.” (Romans 10:9-13)
- “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10-12)
- “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
- “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8)
- “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
- “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
- “…Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelations 1:5)
- “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)
- “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14)
Once we accept God’s free gift offered by grace, in that we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, have confessed with our mouth that he is Lord and we turn to him in faith that he has the power to forgive and remove our sin stain and to grant us access to heaven, God indwells us with his Holy Spirit and gives us the promise of peace.
That is, when Jesus washes us with his blood because we believe his testimony and receive him into our hearts and lives as Lord and Saviour, God removes us from the place of condemnation that we have been born in and places us in the place of eternal life. We become partakers of an eternal inheritance in heaven because God no longer sees us in our filthy sin condition but he sees us clothed in the perfect righteousness of Christ. We are in Christ because we have his blood covering over us and when God sees this, he promises to give us access to his heaven.
The Bible tells us:
- “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
- “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
- “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:For by HIM were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by HIM, and for HIM: And HE is before all things, and by HIM all things consist.And HE is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things HE might have the preeminence.For it pleased the Father that in HIM should all fulness dwell;And, having made peace through the blood of HIS cross, by HIM to reconcile all things unto himself; by HIM, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:12-20)
- “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen”. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
(Written between March – June 2020, added to on 30th October, 2020 and thereafter)