In Romans 1:16-17, we find that the topic of the gospel is one of unmatched significance. Paul writes that “it is the power is God unto salvation … and that … in it, God’s righteousness is revealed.” Surely, something of this magnitude demands the attention of all of us. What does the Bible affirm about the Gospel?
First things first;
What is the gospel?
In 1 Cor 15:1-8, the Apostle Paul reminds us of the kind of the gospel he preached to the church in Corinth. Two things are to be noted in this passage for our understating of the gospel: (1) It is a saving gospel (2) It is about Christ and his redemptive work.
15 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance a: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, b and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
In Romans 1:16-17, Paul unpacks for us why the gospel saves. He says,” I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom 1:16-17,NIV)
Definition: The gospel is God’s message that brings us to the person Christ (The God-man) and his redemptive work.
Summary: The person of Christ is at the heart of gospel.
Did/do we need this gospel?
Yes we do need this gospel. Why? Because of the condemnation that is upon us: Our Lord Jesus said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”( John 3:17-18,NIV). And this is a condemnation that leads to death, everlasting separation from God. We need to pay attention to this message of the gospel because we are told to choose life by believing in the Son rather than death.
Rom 3:23-26: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (NIV)
What separates this gospel from any other “gospel”?
The gospel of 1 Corinthians 15 is the saving gospel. It brings us to Christ through whom we have redemption. It brings us to the central truth of the work of Christ and that is salvation. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 we read: “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
Let us briefly take a look at what is trending today: The “Prosperity gospel.” It does not bring you to Christ. It brings you to wealth not Christ. Christ is presented as the means of getting that wealth as long as you have enough faith.
This what the prosperity gospel is doing: it is planting people in the land of the pagan where pursuit of worldly things is only issue. The things that our Lord Jesus tells us not to worry about are what prosperity gospel wants us to worry about. We see People claiming stuff in the name of Jesus.
Matt 6:28-34 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.-NIV
So the Prosperity gospel is another gospel that drives us far from the true gospel through which we received the promised Holy Spirit.
Gal 1:6-9: I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Summary: The gospel that saves is that which leads us to the person of Christ and his redemptive work.