by Dr. Roger Congdon
The gospel, or good news, is the one message that Jesus commanded His disciples to preach to every creature. It includes the truths about Christ's work to redeem sinners and the fact that they may obtain eternal life through faith.
In Gal. 1:6-9, the Holy Spirit indicates that the gospel is inseparable from the grace of Christ, His unmerited favor. A solemn curse is pronounced on any person who preaches a gospel in which salvation is not a free gift of grace, but requires works or merit either to obtain or to retain its benefits.
God proclaims the true gospel in I Cor. 15:1-5. This gospel secures forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life to every person who possesses a vital faith (not an empty or vain faith, v. 2) in Christ.
But there are many false Christs (Matt. 24:24; I Cor. 8:5-6). Therefore, it is necessary that we identify the Christ who alone can save.
First, He is God. God the Father calls His Son God in Hebrews 1:8 (cf., I John 2:22). At the same time, because of the incarnation, Christ is man (I John 4:3). Those who deny either the deity or the humanity of Christ are called antichrists in I John.
The gospel includes four historical facts concerning the God-man Christ Jesus, the object of saving faith:
1. He died for our sins.
2. He was buried.
3. He rose again on the third day.
4. He was seen by many witnesses.
The burial, in which the body was wound with linen and about 100 pounds of gums and perfumes and a separate head wrapping (John 19:39-42; 20:5-7), testified that His body was really dead.
The record that Jesus was seen by many individuals and small groups and finally to over 500 at one time assures us that the resurrection was genuine.
God provides salvation only to persons who will accept it as an undeserved gift, by faith.
Finally, I Cor. 15:3 says: I delivered unto you first of all . . . This means the gospel is of primary importance for us to understand, believe, and teach our children.
(You may contact our Pastoral Advisor at Box 20219, Portland
OR 97294 or e-mail him here)