Pristine Grace

What is the Gospel?
by Richard Warmack
What is the Gospel?

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to MY GOSPEL, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. - Rom.16:25-27

     Most people I know think the question asked in the title of this article is an unnecessary question that really doesn't need to be answered. Matter of fact, they THINK they already know the answer. I KNOW I DID! To them the "GOSPEL" is God's invitation for them to "accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior", turn their lives around and get active in religion, and somehow, someway hold out and make it to the end, hoping that they might ultimately end up in heaven.

     If I were to ask you personally, can you tell me what you think the GOSPEL is, how would you answer? The typical answer given is this: "The Gospel tells us that God loved sinners so much that He sent His Son to suffer, bleed, and die for the sins of ALL MEN. The Gospel tells sinners that Christ came, Christ lived, Christ died, and that Christ rose again in order for those who will believe or accept it could be saved." There is NO DOUBT that all these things, i.e. that Christ was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and rose again are HISTORICAL FACTS, declared by the Scripture and supported by historical narrative. But these HISTORICAL FACTS in and of themselves are not a declaration of what Paul calls the "Gospel of God".

     Paul told the Corinthian church - "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the GOSPEL which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES."(I Cor.15:1-4) If a mere presentation of the HISTORICAL FACTS concerning the Lord Jesus Christ IS NOT THE GOSPEL, then what is? Should we DEFINE the Gospel? Is it necessary?

     Paul shows us that this is a LIFE OR DEATH issue: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would PERVERT the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."(Gal.1:6-9) But BEFORE Paul warns of the eternal consequences if one "pervert" (literally 'to turn around) the Gospel, Paul clearly DEFINES the Gospel - "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."(Gal.1:3-5)

     So the Gospel is the DECLARATION of the ONLY MEANS of "grace" and "peace" for His people, accomplished through Christ ALONE, "who gave HIMSELF for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." The Gospel is a SIMPLE MESSAGE that declares "the righteousness of God". Listen to Paul's words to the Roman believers - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein (in the GOSPEL) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."(Rom.1:16,17) If one who claims to speak on God's behalf does not preach out or DECLARE the "righteousness of God", they have not preached the Gospel, merely given a religious dissertation.