“the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation”
There is only one “word of truth,” and that is the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has chosen only one plan of salvation, and He rejects all other so-called ways to God.
However, even in Christianity, the gospel of Jesus Christ is often not what it should be. So many churches and individual Christians today present a very shallow salvation message. So often what you hear is “The A,B,C’s” of salvation: Admit, Believe, Commit. That’s fine, as long as the details are thoroughly taught, but normally the message is nearly as short as the very letters that represent it. So short, and so shallow, that one has to wonder how many truly get saved after such a presentation.
What you often hear is something like this:
“Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. He came to pay the price for your sins, and to bring meaning and purpose to your life. If you would like to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior, then pray this prayer:” Afterwards they say, “if you prayed this prayer, welcome to the family!” Believe me, I’ve heard gospel presentations similar to this with my own two ears.
I believe that the more truth a person hears, the more truth the Holy Spirit has to work with, for “faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing through the word about Christ.” LEB (Ro 10:17)
So many people today sit in church and hear such a shallow message about Christ and the Christian life, that I believe a lot people really don’t understand the plan of salvation or the “sinners prayer” that they pray. That’s why it’s so important to find a church that teaches the Word of God verse by verse, book by book. Hard to find, I know, but that is the ideal church situation to be in.
If a wife brings her unsaved husband to church regularly, and he’s hearing the Word of God taught faithfully Sunday after Sunday, month after month, hearing the details of the gospel of Christ, and the details of the Christian life, eventually that person’s going to have a good understanding of the salvation message and what the Christian life is all about. By the time that person is ready to place his faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, he’s going to know exactly what he’s doing. We can never give a person too much information about Christ and the Christian life, but we can certainly give too little.
Can you image the Apostle Paul preaching a shallow gospel message? Can you imagine him talking to someone about Christ, and presenting Him in such a manner so not to “offend” anyone? Neither can I.
So what is the substance of the gospel of Jesus Christ? I know people have a lot of formulas for sharing the plan of salvation. I have used those formulas too. However, I don’t think we need to be bound to any one way of sharing Christ and what He did for us.
However, it’s important that certain things be included, for there are certain things that a person must understand in order to get saved. The following is what I consider to be a faithful presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, based on my understanding of what the Bible teaches. We won’t often have the opportunity to give a full gospel presentation, but when we do, or perhaps over a period of time, here is what I believe should be included in the message:
1. We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. (At this point, we can name or discuss specific sins. A person needs to realize their sinfulness before God)
2. We are separated from God by our sins, and if we die in our sins, we will be separated from Him forever. The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death,” which is separation from God.
3. Separation from God means to be separated from Him in a place of torment that the Bible refers to as hell. That’s the price for sin, and it must be paid for.
4. God loves us and doesn’t want to punish us, but as a just and holy God, He must.
5. Because of God’s love for us, He provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and to be brought into a right relationship with Him. That way is through His Son, Jesus Christ.
6. Jesus, who was without sin, died on the cross for our sins, taking the punishment in our place, so that we wouldn’t have to. He shed His blood for us. He suffered and died for us.
7. The price for sin, which is death (separation from God), must be paid for, and Jesus paid that price for us. The sinless One paid the price for the sinful ones. He is our bridge to God.
8. Furthermore, since Jesus was without sin, death couldn’t hold Him. He rose from the dead, and lives forevermore to be the Savior of all who come to Him in faith.
9. We either pay the price for sin ourselves, or we believe and accept that Jesus paid it for us, and receive Him as our Lord and Savior.
10. We must understand that it wasn’t just anyone who provided for our salvation. It was the very Son of God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who sits upon His throne in His Kingdom, ruling the universe. Imagine, it’s was the Ruler of the universe, the creator of all things, who paid the price for our sins! What other king would have died for his servants?
11. Therefore, it must be understood that since Jesus is our authority, we must be willing to submit to that authority. His very titles as Lord and King requires our allegiance and submission to His will. Those who trust Christ as Savior must realize that once they do, they relinquish all rights to themselves in order to serve the One who paid the price for their sins, and who rules the universe. When someone receives Christ, they enter His Kingdom. We are transferred from darkness to light, from the kingdom of this world to the Kingdom of Christ. We give up our own will, to live according to His will.
12. Living under the authority of Christ is not something that is to be looked upon as something negative, but the very opposite! There’s no better place to be than to live under the loving care of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no safer place to be than in the Kingdom of Christ, where we live under His protection. It’s an honor to serve Christ the King. There is no greater joy and no greater reward than serving Him, and living to glorify His name.
13. That’s God’s plan of salvation, and that’s what the Christian life looks like. That’s what God requires of everyone who comes to Him through faith in His Son. Salvation is not simply a ticket to Heaven, but a life-changing decision they we must be willing to make. It’s a new identity, an new direction, a new purpose for living.
We go from being a non-Christian to a Christian. From a non-follower of Christ to a follower of Christ. The Bible becomes our guide for life, because it’s the Word of God. We go from living a life of sin to living a life of obedience to God, as He provides the enabling grace to do so. We go from pursing our own will to pursing the will of God. Everything in our life changes as we surrender to His loving authority.
Where once our life revolved around ourselves, it now revolves around Christ and doing the work He’s called us to do in this world. He’s given us a mission to accomplish. We become His representatives in a world that needs Him. That’s the life of a Christian, and those who come to Christ must understand that.
That’s the substance of the gospel of Christ. That’s what we should be sharing. People think that the gospel of Christ is simply the death and resurrection. That’s the heart of the message, but that’s not all there is to it.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is really His whole life. The four gospels of the New Testament are not just about His death and resurrection. They go into much detail about His life and what He taught. And so should we. As I said earlier, we can never give someone too much information about Jesus or the Christian life. Those who think that are deceived. The more truth we share, the more truth the Holy Spirit has to work with.
Whether we preach Christ from the pulpit, or whether we share Christ one on one, we are to give them not what we think they want to hear, but what we know they need to hear. When we give people a gospel message of substance, we will see far fewer false conversions. I believe false conversions occur because of a false understanding about the message, and about what they’re doing. And that falls directly on us who present the message.
“sealed with the promised Holy Spirit”
For commentary on the sealing of the Holy spirit, and verse 14, please click on the link below:
Eternal Security Verses: Sealed With The Spirit
For more about the gospel of Christ within the context of His Kingdom, click on the link below:
Gospel and the Kingdom