The Uncomplicated Gospel
The infinite nature of God means there is no exhausting the depths to which theologians venture to know God. Still, the multitudes of people simply need the uncomplicated Gospel message.
First, God created everything (Gen 1–2). He is the architect and builder of all things (Heb 11:10). This means that everything is from Him, flows through Him and returns to Him (Rom 11:36). Everything considered here is His design and ownership.
Second, God’s will must be done (Eph 1:11). Yahweh sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6). God reveals His will by the execution of His eternal decree. Everything comes to pass just as it should. It is God who is at work. His eternal purpose is carried out in Christ Jesus (Eph 3:11).
Third, the Bible reveals the beginning and the end, with Christ at the center. The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is about Jesus Christ, the Son of God from eternity, who took on flesh and dwelt among us, as the Son of man (Jn 1:14).
Jesus’ purpose in coming was to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). These are the people of His own possession (Dt 7:6), the sheep of His pasture (Ps 100:3), chosen for salvation (2 Thess 2:13), from before the foundation of the world, by God the Father, who wrote their names in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 13:8; 17:8) and gave them to His Son (Jn 6:37) to be His beloved bride (Eph 5:21–33). These are gathered from every nation, in every generation, by the Holy Spirit (Rev 5:9).
Fourth, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. He is the Lord, the Giver of life (Jn 6:63; 1 Cor 15:45), who implants the seed of the Word (Jas 1:21) in the hearts and minds of those whose hearts He has opened (Acts 16:14). In this work, the Spirit brings the Word of God into the hearing of many. The few who are chosen by God’s gracious choice (Mt 22:14; Rom 11:5) will hear and believe the message.
Fifth, faith in Christ comes by hearing the Word of truth heralded by a sent preacher (Rom 10:13–17). The message of the Bible is called, “the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” It is Good News for one who believes in his heart, which is evidenced by the confession of his mouth. The confession of those born of God, adopted by the Father is that “Jesus Christ is Lord” to the glory of the Father (Phil 2:11).
Sixth, faith is a gift of God, granted by God’s grace (Eph 2:8–9; Phil 1:29), and without this gift, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Yet, it is the believer’s ambition to please God (2 Cor 5:9). The faithful slave loves his Master, who loves him (Eph 6:6; 1 Jn 4:19).
Faith is not a self-generated work of sinners, for only those who belong to Christ will ever believe (Jn 10:26). Faith is the gracious product of the Holy Spirit, who takes His abode in the soul of God’s elect, redeemed people (Jn 14:17; Rom 8:9, 11). Once there, the Spirit of Christ promises to never leave nor forsake the Christian (Heb 13:5). The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19), and God is able to keep His own unto the end because He is with them (Mt 28:20).
Seventh, not all people have faith. Again, the reason unbelievers do not trust Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is because they do not belong to Him (Jn 10:26). The Spirit does not baptize the reprobate into Christ’s church (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Cor 12:13). He does not cause the non-elect to be born again, for they belong to their father, the devil (Jn 8:44), being sons of the devil (1 Jn 3:10).
Eighth, Satan is the adversary of God and man. He is a deceiver and destroyer. Despite being the inspiration for sinners to sin against God (Rom 6:6), Lucifer hates the subjects of his kingdom, wishing for and sometimes facilitating their death. For the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and it is appointed once for a man to die and then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). Satan’s work is never outside the sovereign will of God. The devil was made to do what God willed him to do (Prv 16:4).
Ninth, the judgment of God is seen in His wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom 1:18). All people must stand before the just Judge of all the earth, who always does right (Gen 18:25). All people must give an account of what they did in the life of their flesh, both good and bad (2 Cor 5:10).
Tenth, the bad news is that no one does good and no one has a right standing before the great white throne of God (Rom 3:10–12; Rev 20:11). This is why a man must be saved (Acts 4:12). The redeemed are reconciled to God by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (Rom 5:8, 11). There is no other way (Jn 14:6).
Eleventh, Jesus Christ was crucified on a Roman cross. He shed His blood, being pierced for our transgressions against the holy law of God (Is 53:5). He suffered and died, as He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). He Himself was without sin (Heb 4:15). This is the reason He is identified as the unblemished Lamb of God (Jn 1:29), an acceptable and permanent sacrifice for those He came to save (Mt 1:21). He saved us (Tit 3:5), just as was promised (Is 33:22).
Twelfth, there is a full number of saints, both Jew and Gentile (Gal 3:28), from every nation (Rev 5:9), who must be brought into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son (Col 1:13). Thus, the Gospel is preached to the whole world (Mt 24:14), even all Creation (Mk 16:15), by faithful witnesses to the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8). When the last of the elect is secured by God in the domain of darkness (Col 1:13), then the end will come (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21; 1 Thess 4:13–5:11; Rev 19:11–21).
Thirteenth, on the last day of human history, in this present evil age, all the dead will be resurrected bodily — the reprobate to judgment, a sentence of eternal punishment in the fiery hell of the lake of fire, and those who died in Christ, to life in glorified bodies joined to eternal souls (Jn 5:28–29; Rom 8:30; 1 Cor 15).
Fourteenth, the final judgment will be a final separation for the righteous and unrighteous. With the latter cast into outer darkness, the fiery destruction of the present heavens and earth will end the fallen era of sin and death (2 Pet 3:10–12).
Finally, the new heavens and a new earth will be the new home of God’s glorified people, who will live forever in the presence of the reigning God-man, King Jesus Christ (1 Tim 6:15). There, righteousness will dwell (2 Pet 3:13).
The covenant promise that God will be their God and they will be His people will be fulfilled. The former things will not be remembered (Is 65:17). Rather, eternal joy will be reality in ever-present day. Sin will not be a possibility, nor will death be any longer (Rev 21–22).
The immortal life to be lived in indestructible bodies will be the eternal life promised by Jesus to His people (Jn 10:28–29). Thanks be to God who has given us a token (Holy Spirit) of His love (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 5:5), to maintain our hope in the glory that will be revealed to us (Col 1:27; Rom 8:18). Glory! Hallelujah! Come, Lord Jesus.
May 18, 2021