What is the gospel?
What truths does it involve? How simply can the gospel be preached and still be sufficient to save?
In other words, what are the gospel absolutes or the non-negotiables of salvation?
Trying to simplify the gospel is what many mainstream Evangelicals are obsessed with today. The popular discussion is how to make the message so simple and basic that anyone can believe it. And with as little trouble as possible.
Frankly, it would be very easy for me to go off on a rant about the foolishness of this obsession. But I will try to hold that back, somewhat, and provide an answer.
Here is a short list of the basic components of the gospel:
- The Holiness, Righteousness and Omnipotence of God
- The Inerrancy and Sufficiency of the Written Word of God
- The Special Creation of Man and the Universe
- The Fall of Man by Sin and His Accountability to God
- The Incarnation of Jesus Christ through the virgin Birth
- The Sinless Life of the Son of God
- The Substitutionary Death of Jesus Christ on the Cross
- The Gospel of Salvation by Faith Alone in Jesus Christ
- The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
- The Final Judgment of Men by Jesus Christ according to His Word
- The Eternal Destiny of Men in either Heaven or Hell
This is a brief overview of the truths of scriptures that relate to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the months ahead, we will discuss these in much greater detail. Because each of these areas contain many important truths that can affect one’s view of the nature of God, His role as Creator, the nature of sin, the Person of Christ and the certainty of the Words God.
We will also talk about many very dangerous beliefs that can move us away from the gospel and the joy that Christ has provided for us.
But, for a moment, please, allow me to break things down a bit more.
To See Christ and to See Ourselves as He Sees Us
For a man to come to Christ, a couple of things must occur.
- One: A man must see his need for a Savior. That involves a core realization of who he is before God. Of the sin and depravity of every man.
- Two: He must see the character and Holiness of God.
- Three: He must understand what God requires of a man to be saved. And of the consequences of refusing God’s salvation through Christ.
- Four: He must believe exclusively in Jesus Christ as the full provision for his sin, he must repent of his sins, and he must confess his sins before God Himself.
That is the nutshell of salvation.
Of course, this is just a simplification of what we must believe.
But at the core, a man must see his need. He must reach that crisis point about himself that leads him to seek God for the solution.
If a man does not truly see himself as spiritually lost, will not turn to the Savior.
And why would he?
When We Start Taking Things Away From the Gospel
The reason I am starting this is because the Bible churches are under a very subtle, but vicious, attack to diminish and minimize the gospel.
Much of this attack is from outside the church.
But much is also coming from within!
The reason for this attack is because the world’s unbelieving religious leaders hate the gospel and work tirelessly to either stop its spread or to change the gospel itself. And because secular lost men also hate the gospel and want to see the message silenced.
They do this by trying to water down the message, changing the meaning of biblical words or to change the doctrines themselves.
For example, what if someone said you must be baptized to be saved? Is that the biblical gospel?
NO. It is a false gospel that adds a “work” of man to the finished work of Christ.
Yet there are leaders today within the high and popular ranks of Evangelicalism that believe in Baptismal Regeneration. Most of the mainline Protestant denominations require this as a component of salvation. Catholicism also teaches this. The Church of Christ teaches this. They may differ on the method of baptism, but they still teach it as part of the salvation process.
What about someone that says the virgin birth of Christ is not a critical part of salvation?
Do you know why it is critical?
Because Jesus Christ could not have had a perfect and holy nature as a man unless he was born of the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, He would have had Adam’s nature. A sin nature.
His virgin birth was one of the critical components of His holy nature that qualified Him to die the death that He died for us. To die as the perfect Lamb of God.
No other lamb would do. This has to do with His holy character. As the Holy One of God and as the Holy One of Israel.
And to contradict the statement of an Emergent Church leader, it does make a difference that Christ was born of Mary, by the Holy Spirit. If He was born of “a guy called Larry”, we would be preaching a different Christ than the One of the Bible.
Because, there are so many false Christs being preached all over the world.
And what if someone says that we get a second chance after death to trust Christ?
The Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible says, “And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) We have a limited time on this Earth to trust Christ. There is an end to our opportunity.
“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.)” (2 Corinthians 6:2) Tomorrow does not offer a guarantee. If we are waiting to trust Him when it is more convenient, He may close the door. His Spirit will not always wait until a man is ready.
Is it loving for us to give a person a gospel that allows him to live as he pleases in this life? Allowing him to reject Christ here and presumably to accept Christ later, after death, when he is faced with the reality of eternity in the Lake of Fire?
Is it loving to tell a person he is “OK” spiritually if he is lost in his sins? To make him comfortable in his false doctrines that are leading him away from the gospel of Christ?
If we embrace him as a believer because we don’t want to offend his religious views, our approval encourages him to rest in his unbelief.
So you see, it is a bit more complicated than the popular Evangelical movement would like us to think. The major things we believe about the gospel are all based on many indispensable truths.
Which, if they were not true, would lead us to another Christ and to another gospel which could not save us.