The Gospel

   One hundred and four times that word appears within ninety-eight passages of the New Testament. Its definition is clearly delineated at 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 and is described as “God’s power and wisdom at Romans 1:17 and 1 Corinthians 1:18 – 24. Still, it is ignored by countless numbers of souls whose eternal destiny, except they repent and obey this gospel, is without God (2 Thessalonians 1: 7 – 9). And why should it be otherwise? These chose to be without God in this time world, so their eternity will be without Him as well (ibid.) Should they think Hell is no worse than their life here, they need to realize Hell was not prepared for the souls of mankind, but for the Devil and his angels (Matthew 25: 41). But alas, they have ignored the gospel – and worse, they continue to altogether ignore reading the Bible!

   The word “gospel” means “good news.” One would think in a world filled with the ugly and horrible mankind would seek to find something of positive, uplifting information by which to ease his mind from the torrid influence of man’s inhumanity to man. Granted, the Lord Himself says, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6; Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9). But within this same statement, He said, “the end is not yet.” While we dare not challenge God’s word for its accuracy, many hear (they still do not read) this truth and erroneously conclude the end will never come. This is precisely what Peter spoke of when he wrote 2 Peter 3: 5 – 7. But again, they will not read this!  Apparently, they aren’t interested in good news!

   Within the gospel is the story of Jesus Christ willingly giving Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. No other religion known to man has ever taught of one leaving heaven, being fashioned as a man to sacrifice Himself for the sins of all, being buried and being raised from the dead to die no more! (Philippians 2: 1 – 11) The blood of bulls and goats could not remit sins, and in such sacrifices, God has no pleasure (Hebrews 10: 1-10). Therefore, because of God’s love for man, and recognizing man’s inability to atone for his own sins via his own sacrifices, God prepared Jesus Christ a body for such a purpose (ibid.) Think of it: God not only LOVES us but because of that love, gave us the jewel of heaven as the sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16). The gospel most certainly is a love story! Yet, while countless souls will watch TV's so-called “love stories” they will never find one as vividly lived, as generously given, and as minutely fulfilling of the prophecy of this gift of love, as the true story of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God!

   This same gospel reveals the reality of the Lord’s church: not man’s or any semblance of man’s ideals of a church, but HIS church! (Matthew 16:18). Again, no Savior ever died, was buried, and raised from the dead by the God of heaven to be the chief cornerstone of His church (Ephesians 2:19 – 22). He put His name to it as He purchased it (Acts 20:28 … note it was God the Son, i.e., Jesus Christ who purchased His church with His own blood.) Those who obey the gospel of Jesus Christ by hearing it, believing it, repenting of their sins, confessing that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and are immersed in water (Romans 6:1-6; Colossians 2:12), are added to His church (Acts 2:47). But unless one reads the gospel of Christ, he cannot truly hear it, cannot believe it (for faith comes by hearing the word of God – Romans 10:17), cannot understand the requirement and necessity of repentance, cannot honestly confess that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, and cannot understand baptism as the conclusion of a good conscience toward God (1 Peter 3:21). Thus, without the gospel, souls cannot be saved (Romans 1:16), cannot know the righteousness of God (Romans 1:17), and shall be eternally condemned for their lack of obedience (2 Thessalonians 2: 7 – 9) and their absence from the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12 – 26; 15:24 – 28).

   The gospel’s greatest character is the fact God raised His Son from the dead! (Acts 17:31) Many have died, even by the cruelty of crucifixion; but none have been crucified for our sins! Many have been buried, even in tombs never before occupied by man (Luke 23:53); but none were occupied for only three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40), because of being resurrected (Acts 17:31) Being resurrected from the dead means, “risen, never to die again” and this promise is given ONLY to those who obey the gospel of Jesus Christ! (Revelation 20:6; Philippians 3: 8 – 11; 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5; 3: 21)

   Why anyone would refuse to read this greatest of all news and obey its commandments that they may receive the promise of eternal life with God the Father and His Son, Jesus the Christ, is beyond my comprehension! Nonetheless, most of mankind will refuse, reject, and completely ignore these facts (Matthew 7:13). Yes, it is their choice, but it is a choice of dire consequences – and a choice that is foolish indeed! God would have all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but God won’t save anyone who doesn’t wish to obey Him!