What is the Gospel?

If you are here visiting this page then you want to know more about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You may be someone who is searching for the truth about life and death, heaven and hell. Perhaps you’ve heard about what Jesus did on the cross but you have no idea what that means for you personally. Perhaps you have never even heard of Jesus, outside of His name being used as a curse word. I am glad you are here!

Or perhaps you are someone who is wondering if you are really saved. You remember saying a prayer at camp or at VBS as a kid but your life never really changed and all of these years later you are starting to wonder if it was a genuine conversion. I am glad you stopped by!

And, then again, you may be someone who is saved but are unsure how to share the Gospel with unsaved family and friends. You are looking for a little help as you increasingly become more burdened for the lost and truly desire to tell others about Jesus. I am so glad you came for a visit!

Whatever the reason you are here, I am glad you came!

There is no better news in the whole world than the good news of the Gospel. Salvation is offered, full and free, to us through God’s grace and mercy and it’s an amazing plan!

 

So What Exactly is the Gospel?

The Gospel is the term used in scripture to depict God’s plan of salvation, available to all mankind. The plan of salvation cannot be understood unless we first understand that we are sinners (Romans 3:23). In fact, the Bible says that there is no one who is born good (Romans 3:10-12). Not one.

And here’s the thing: We cannot truly understand salvation until we truly understand our need to be saved.  Repentance of sin is absolutely necessary for true salvation. In fact, without it we cannot even be saved (Luke 13:5).

Once we understand our sinfulness, we can then understand the quandary we are in. We can never be good enough to meet God’s standards (Isaiah 64:6). God cannot tolerate any sin and we can never be perfect (Isaiah 59:2). So how can we ever be at peace with God?

The answer is in the marvelous plan of salvation, designed by our loving heavenly Father, who sent His Son, Jesus, to make Himself a propitiation for our sins by dying on the cross. That is a big word, but it basically means that Jesus bore God’s wrath for our sins, indeed making a way for us to be reconciled to God (I John 4:9-10).

But it did not end there. Three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, victorious over sin and death (I Corinthians 15:55-57). He has promised that those who accept this free gift of salvation will live with Him forever in heaven, where He has prepared a place for us (John 14:2-3).

He reminds us a few verses later that He is the only way that we can be saved (John 14:6). This means that all other religions are false.

Salvation comes when we believe with our hearts what the Word of God says (Romans 10:9). Of course, with true belief comes the transformation that can only come from the Holy Spirit’s working in us, paired with a deep desire to please God with all of our being (2 Corinthians 5:17).

As new believers, our lives give evidence to the radical change within us. While we still struggle with sin, our desires have changed. We want to do what’s right. The Bible’s commands become a joy to obey rather than a burden that weighs us down (Psalm 119:47-48).

Wonderfully, when we do put our faith in Jesus Christ and experience His life-changing power, we do get the benefits of peace, guidance, and purpose that come along with being a true Christian (Philippians 4:6-7; I Peter 1:8-9). But these are not the reasons we follow Jesus, they are only by-products of the choice to put our faith in Him.

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We’ve learned what the Gospel IS, but I think it’s very important to take just a few moments to also take a look at what, according to scripture, it is not. There are a lot of counterfeits out there and it’s important to be aware so that we are not deceived.

The Counterfeits Which Lead to False Conversion

Many are caught up in false gospels that have given them confidence that they are saved when they really aren’t. Mark 13:22 tells us that in the last days if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived. I believe we are living in those days. And that means there are a lot of variations on the true Gospel.

It has been twisted into various forms. Let’s look at a few of these–

The Say-a-Prayer Gospel — This false gospel, also known as Easy-Believism, deceives people into believing that a one-time prayer guarantees salvation and they can continue to live their lives the way they always have. There is no sacrifice or self-denial called for in this particular brand of salvation. What this particular form ignores are the many Bible verses that demonstrate, with crystal-clear clarity, the life-altering change that will take place in a true believer (Matthew 7:20; Luke 9:23; Galatians 5:19-24; Colossians 3:5-10; James 2:20). We don’t change in order to be saved but we change because we are saved. This is a big difference.

The Self-Centered Gospel — Also known as the Prosperity gospel, this false gospel teaches that God wants to fulfill your dreams and wishes. It’s completely self-centered and those that follow it go to God for material wealth, good health, and happiness. They seek answers to selfish prayers and removal of problems and troubles. The expectation is that God will give a smooth and easy life to all who call on Him. If we don’t have that kind of life, the fault is with us because we don’t have “enough faith”.

The Cross-PLUS This false gospel acknowledges Jesus’s work on the cross but then goes on to add lots of other things one needs to do in order to be saved, including things such as praying to Jesus’s mother or special saints, witnessing door-to-door, wearing certain clothing, or following other man-made rules. If one does not do these things, then there is no salvation, according to their own written doctrine of these false religions. If you wonder about a certain religion, then research their doctrine. Just remember: Any time there is anything other than faith in Jesus Christ alone, the true Gospel has been twisted irreparably.

The Mystical Way— This false gospel has taken the evangelical world by storm. In this gospel you grow close to God through your experiences rather than through submission to God and obedience to His Word. This false gospel is filled with occultic practices given new names. Here, according to this way, we find that one cannot possibly be in right relationship with God without special, mystical experiences. The focus of this false religion is moved from the objective Word of God to subjective feelings and emotions.

These and so many more are false religions. They do not save you. Many false religions use the name “Jesus” and I realize that it can be so confusing. But not all religions that use the name of Jesus are talking about the real Jesus. When we compare what they are teaching to the Bible, the truth will reveal itself. The Bible is the only authority of the Christian faith and it is there we must always turn for answers–for it is God’s Word to us, specially preserved through the ages.

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If you have fallen for one of these false and twisted gospels or if this is all new to you and you are searching for answers and wondering what will happen to you when you die, then may I encourage you to ask the Lord to open your eyes to the Truth and then pick up a Bible and start reading. The book of John is a great place to start.

And if you have questions I can answer, I am happy to help! Please don’t hesitate to contact me at leslie {at} growing4life {dot} net.

 

 

 

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