by John Armstrong
I am reminded how important it is to get the gospel right or you end up with no gospel at all. A
stunted gospel or a half-gospel is not the gospel. So, what is the gospel? That question is of
ultimate importance to all of us. Many speak of the gospel and you will find many who will
define it much differently from what the Bible lays out. Paul addresses those that would preach
another gospel in Galatians 1 saying in verse 6-8, I am astonished that you are so quickly
deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7
not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the
gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel
contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
There are those who do not preach Christ in His fullness. They want to change this or that
about him, saying the virgin birth isn’t important or the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the
dead is not what really matters. They will place the emphasis on the love of Jesus and the
example He set and say we should love like He did and follow His example. What they are
saying is true to an extent, we should love as He loved and follow Him in His example, these
things we are commanded to do in Scripture, however there is a lot more to Jesus than Him
loving people and setting us an example. People who preach only what they want to about
Jesus and call it the gospel should, as Paul says, “be accursed.” Don’t miss the weight of what
he is saying. He is saying they should be condemned to hell. This is an eternal life and death
matter. Therefore, it is of the utmost important to us whether or not we recognize it as such.
We need the whole gospel, we need the whole Christ, there is no place for cherry picking Jesus.
If you are going to have the gospel, then you are going to have all of Jesus. Man, is a sinner,
spiritually dead in trespasses and sin, totally incapable of any good work. Therefore, he is born
condemned, man is without hope in himself, there is nothing he can do to be saved from this
place of sin and misery. That is the bad news, remember the Good News (the gospel) always
begins with the bad news. The Good News is that God has not left man without hope, He has
provided for man’s need. God sent His one and only Son to live a perfect life and die a perfect
atoning death on the cross for us, He has been raised to life and now sits at the right hand of
the Father in glory. Through His death on the cross Jesus not only pays the penalty of our sin,
He purchases a place for us to live with Him forever. This gift from God we receive by faith,
there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve it. It is the Holy Spirit of God that creates faith in
us and gives us a new heart that will exercise that faith and receive Christ as He is freely offered
to us in the Bible. Our justification (salvation) is a gift of grace to us from God. Once we are
saved, then the Holy Spirit continues to work in us to bring us to sanctification (being made
more and more like Jesus). The gospel doesn’t leave us unchanged, it kills the old man and
raises up a new man within us that has a love and desire for God. My question is if someone
were to ask you, “what is the gospel?” How would you respond? Can you give a clear, concise,
and God pleasing answer? We need to ask, “do I have a biblical understanding of the gospel?”
We need to know that we know and then share this precious gift with those around us.