Complete or ‘pick and mix’ gospel?
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it 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.”
Gospel is simply good news, of which there can be lots. There is a lot of good news in the Bible. God is Love. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him would not perish. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus the anointed King. Etcetera. All good and all true.
Where ‘The Gospel’ is mentioned in the New Testament it usually means the specific complete message that is able to save those who hear it, believe it and obey it. It is the message of salvation that is revealed by the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, which saved those who gladly heard it. We can read it in Acts chapter two.
Galatians 1:6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
From this we can deduce that the gospel can be altered, adulterated, polluted, tainted until it does not have the eternal life saving power it has in its original form.
Galatians 1:11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to (Greek ‘kata’ = from or of) man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The complete, unadulterated pure gospel is that which comes by revelation of Jesus Christ. It is the message given by Christ to Christ’s messengers so that those who hear it may be saved. It is not up for discussion, super spiritualizing, dissecting or rationalizing.
If the source of a message supposedly of salvation is not Him Who is the tree of life then it is to be viewed with suspicion.
God is not the only One who speaks. The enemy of our souls is the master of words, to deceive, entangle and destroy.
Galatians 2:1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favouritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me.
Paul was careful to check out the gospel he had received from Christ with others who had received their gospel from Christ, namely Peter and the other apostles at Jerusalem.
As in computer programming, the best safeguard is the checksum, ie. That the total number of bits of data in one copy corresponds exactly to the number in the original version.
Paul’s gospel was no more and no less than that delivered to the other apostles. It was from the same source, the Lord Jesus, the anointed King.
No other gospel is guaranteed to work!
Ephesians 1:13 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.
So, what is this original, pure unadulterated gospel?
While the Lord Jesus had much to say about it as recorded in the four gospels of the New Testament, the finished version could only be declared after Christ had suffered for sin, laid in the tomb, been raised in power and ascended to Heaven.
His disciples were commanded to wait until the Holy Spirit was given, Who would reveal all the truth to them and give them authority and power to testify about the good news of Jesus the anointed king.
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation (message), which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?
Acts 2:1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him:
‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:
‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
The good news of Jesus Christ will always be by revelation of Jesus Christ, that is the Holy Spirit will reveal that Jesus of Nazareth is the One whom God has made both the Lord and the anointed King. The Holy Spirit will convict of sin granting repentance to eternal life to those who hear this word with faith.
The command to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission – removal – setting free from – sin will be part of this message of repentance and remission of sins through the name of Jesus Christ.
The result of the sowing of this gospel message being obeyed will be the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit and folks being added to the local body of Christ.
I am guessing that if any part of this gospel is extra to that which you have so far received you may have a desire to dismiss it as unimportant.
Resist that thought.
Colin Thompson. Gateshead. England
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