The Gospel of Jesus Christ
David J. Stewart
By David J. Stewart
Christ Died on the cross, was Buried and Resurrected the Third Day
Heresy has crept into many churches today. We are hearing many unbiblical teachings; such as, to be saved you need to “Invite Christ into your life,” or “Ask Jesus to come into your heart,” or “Follow Jesus,” or “Invite Christ to be the Lord of your life,” et cetera. None of these are the Gospel by which we are saved. The apostle Paul said in 1st Corinthians 1:17, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”
We are saved by believing the Gospel. Romans 1:16, “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.” 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Amen! We are saved by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL! So what exactly is the Gospel?
There is no need to guess or wonder what the Gospel is, because God tells us plainly in the Holy Bible:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you THEGOSPEL which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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” (1st Corinthians 15:1-4).
Something that I love about God is that He doesn't leave us wondering how to be saved. Although the Bible is open to interpretation on many subjects, God has given us clear and concise instructions how to be saved, that is, BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!!!
As we just learned in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, the Gospel is three things: Christ DIED on the cross for our sins. Second, He was BURIED. And thirdly, Jesus bodily RESURRECTED from the dead on the third day. Amen! This is the Good News, which is what the word “Gospel” means. The Gospel is the Glad Tidings of Christ crucified, buried and risen for everyone's sins. Romans 10:15, “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” The Gospel brings peace between God and man, by the blood of Jesus. Romans 5:1 and 9, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ... Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Have you been saved my friend? Have you been born-again by the Holy Spirit of God, through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? If not, then now is the time... right here, right now! Please, don't go to Hell friend. Simply acknowledge that you are a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God and believe the Gospel. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. Receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full-payment for your sins, believing that He miraculously raised up from the dead 72 hours later for your justification!!! Simply believe and the work is done! John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” God had to make getting saved simple, otherwise simple people couldn't understand it. Bless God, He made salvation so easy and simple that even a young child can believe the Gospel and be saved. 1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”
The only prerequisite to believing the Gospel is that you realize you are a guilty sinner in God's eyes. Notice in 1st Corinthians 15:3 that Christ died FOR OUR SINS. 1st John 1:8, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” You must know what you are being saved from! You cannot turn north without turning away from some other direction. Likewise, you cannot turn to Jesus Christ by faith without at the same time turning your back again unbelief, sin, intellectualism, pride, religion, or whatever was hindering you from coming to the light of the Gospel to be saved. This is repentance, a change of mind. Repentance doesn't mean forsaking the world, giving up sinful bad habits, nor does it mean being willing to reform or turn away from one's sins.
The modern English meaning of the word “repent” is to feel sorrow and turn away from sin. However, the Biblical Greek meaning of “repent” is very different, simply meaning “a change of mind.” People change their mind about hundreds of things all the time. There are many reasons why most people won't come to Jesus Christ to be saved. The Bible commands them to repent (think different) and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. Mark 1:15,“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” You don't get saved by repenting, you get saved by putting your trust in Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable, like two sides of the same coin. When you believe, you have repented. If you didn't repent, you'd never believe. They happen together, simultaneously. Anyone who separates repentance from faith, requiring you to reform your sinful ways as a step to being saved, is preaching a false plan of salvation! We don't repent AND believe; we repent TO believe!
The Gospel according to the Scriptures is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He was buried and rose from the dead three days later. There is ONLY one true Gospel! Galatians 1:6-9, “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 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. 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.” There are many different gospels being taught in churches today, which are perverted and accursed of God. I have shown you the true Gospel from 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
The word “Gospel” means “glad tidings” or “good news” ... “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isaiah 52:7). The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ. He has paid the price for our redemption.
The Gospel Without Faith is Dead
Many of the Israelites heard the Gospel but did not believe it, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his REST, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the GOSPEL PREACHED, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with FAITH in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into REST, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my REST: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:1-3). Amen, when you believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you have entered into His rest. We are saved by resting solely in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Moses preached THE GOSPEL to the Jews in the Wilderness, but it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it. Many of the Israelites died and went to Hell for their stubborn unbelief. However, all believers have entered into God’s rest or “God’s Sabbath.”
Jesus today is our Sabbath, in Whom we completely rest for salvation. Hebrews 4:10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Notice how repentance works in the preceding Bible verse. In order to put your faith in Christ, you have to (of necessity) turn from your unbelief, which in this case was works of self-righteousness. It's not that a person must forsake their own self-righteous works as a requirement to be saved; but rather, it would be impossible to believe on Jesus Christ without turning from whatever it is that is hindering you from doing so.
Again, notice how repentance works in 1st Thessalonians 1:9, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” These unsaved people turned by faith unto God (the Gospel implied) FROM THEIR IDOLS. It's not that they were required to forsake idolatry to be saved; but rather, it would have been impossible for them to repent TOWARD GOD without in the very process forsaking their idols. How can a man turn to face north without in the process having turned his back against all other directions? This is how repentance works. In fact, repentance is so closely related to faith, that we find the words “believe” and “believed” mentioned 85 times in the Gospel of God, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once.
You don't have to turn from your sins as a requirement to be saved; but rather, you turn to Christ to be saved. The Bible here is warning all people to enter into God’s rest before it is too late. If you die without Christ, it is too late!
Jesus Is Our Sabbath!
Jesus is our Rest, our Sabbath! The Sabbath Day was first given to Moses to give to Israel on Mt. Sinai. It was a Day picturing the Lord Jesus Christ. The Sabbath pictured man ceasing from his own works (the six day work week) and resting in Christ alone on the seventh day (the Sabbath). As far as a ceremonial law to be observed, the Sabbath was given ONLY to Israel and NOT to any other people. God does NOT expect us to observe the Sabbath day today. If He did, we couldn’t light a fire, couldn’t leave our homes, couldn’t cook, etc.
The Sabbath was given to a specific people (the Jews) living in a specific region (Israel) during a specific time period (the Old Testament). The ceremonial laws were exclusive to the Jews: the Sabbath, circumcision, the feasts and sacrifices, dietary and clothing laws, etc. Each of these earthly laws for the Jew reminded him of a Heavenly divine law. For example: circumcision was a constant reminder that the Jews were God’s people and were to separate from the gentile world (thus picturing God’s Children being separate from the heathen world). “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written FOR OUR LEARNING, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
God has given us principles to live by through the experiences of the Jewish people. Hence, the Sabbath was a ceremonial law (only for the Jews) which was a lesson to the world that we are to cease from our own efforts and instead rest upon Christ alone for salvation. Isn’t that a beautiful truth! You still have some religions today (such as Seventh-Day Adventists) which teach that you MUST keep the Sabbath to be saved, which is untrue. You do NOT need to keep anything to be saved, just rest in Jesus. Have you entered into God’s rest by believing upon Christ to save you from your sins? Hell awaits those who are NOT resting in Christ. Only Jesus can forgive sin, because only Jesus has the nail-scarred hands and feet. No one else does!
The Power of Salvation is in the Gospel, Not Our Eloquent Words
“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” (Romans 1:16). The best way to win ANYONE to the Lord is to just give them the plain good news (Gospel) of Jesus Christ. If a person won't obey the simple Gospel, then no amount of debate or arguing is going to change their heart's condition of unbelief. The word “power” means “dynamite.” The Gospel is God’s dynamite to those who turn in repentance from their unbelief and to the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
Notice that God had chosen Israel as His people to propagate the Gospel throughout the earth. The Old Testament high priest would make atonement once a year for Israel’s sins. The Israelites were saved by putting their faith in the coming Messiah, Who was represented by the spotless lamb and blood sacrifice. People in foreign nations could also be saved if they put their faith in the God of Israel. Salvation has always been by grace through faith! Acts 10:43, “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
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Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”