Volume. XXXV, No. 9
Sunday, 30 August 2020

From the Pastor’s Heart: The Gospel of Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 15:1-5 says, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 


This short passage tells us about the Gospel with clarity.  Let me list a few lessons about the Gospel. 

(1) It is the centre of the apostolic preaching (Paul preached it).

(2) It is the message that the believers have heard and received.

(3) It is the ground of their faith on which they stand.

(4) It is a means to bring salvation (if the hearers do not believe in vain, which implies that it must be believed).

(5) it is the message never ceasing but ever continuing from generation to generation (Paul received it and declared it, and the same pattern must be kept by the believers).

(6) It is about what Christ has done for our sins.

(7) It is according to the scriptures (from the Old Testament and onwards).

(8) Christ died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. 

Though every point in the list is important, I may say that the Gospel is an unchanging message of Christ who died for our sins, was buried and rose again. 


In particular, Paul says that salvation is an outcome of believing in the Gospel sincerely and genuinely.  The first occurrence of “gospel” comes with a modifying phrase, “of the kingdom” (Matthew 4:23; 9:35; 24:14).  The Gospel must be preached in the whole world (Matthew 26:13; Mark 14:9; 16:15).  The Gospel is associated with Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; cf. Romans 1:9).  The apostles preached the Gospel (Acts 8:25, 14:7, 21; 16:10).  The Gospel is of the grace of God (Acts 20:24).  The Gospel is also of God (Romans 1:1; 15:16).  The Gospel is heavenly in its origin.


By reading through these short descriptions of the Gospel, we can easily discern that…

(1) The Gospel is an absolutely necessary means by which we are brought into salvation.

(2) The Gospel must be believed for salvation.

(3) The Gospel does not know any discrimination against ethnicities. 

(4) Gospel is unchangeable (always the same). 

Paul says in Romans 1:16, 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. 


It means that the Gospel is THE message that the churches of God must care for and preach.  However, many of us have not given enough attention to the essence of the Gospel, by which the Gospel has been either misunderstood or mistakenly simplified.  For example, “sin” problem has not been considered enough in Gospel presentations.  The Gospel is the message about Christ who died for our sins.  The very reason of Christ’s death is our sin.  If then, without sin there is no need of Christ’s death.  This understanding may raise a few questions like

(1) There is sin

(2) Sin is a problem

(3) Forgiveness is possible. 

When we put these questions together, there are even further questions like

(1) What is sin? 

(2) Why is sin a problem? 

(3) How could sin be forgiven? 

Once again, when we bring these questions together, we will find even more questions like (1) What is the extent of sin (who are sinners)? 

(2) How does God see sin and sinners? 


These questions are also relevant to the ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ as they preached “repentance.”  Jesus says in Matthew 9:13, But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  John’s ministry is summarized in Mark 1:4, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  Jesus sums up the purpose of His coming to the world in Mark 2:17, “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  In other words, sin necessitated the coming of the redeemer for sinners. 


If then, without knowing that we are sinners and abhorring that we are unable to remove sins by our efforts, determinations, or hard works, we cannot understand the work of Christ and His person.  The Scripture testifies that Christ bore our sins.  For example, Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”  Verse 11 says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” 


Therefore, without recognising our own sinfulness before God, there is no salvation, and no Saviour for us, because if we are sinless we do not need salvation from sin.  It implies that where there is preaching of the Gospel, it cannot but preach about and against sin.  There is no Gospel without a message about and against sins. 


A gravity of the Gospel is also found in the consequences of sin.  We have learnt that Christ the Redeemer bore our sins.  Why was it necessary for Him to bear our sins?  Isn’t it enough just to believe in God who loves us?  This question demonstrates the foolishness of man about God, who is just and righteous.  He is a consuming fire (12:29) and judges and punishes sinners.  The Gospel shows that the consequences of sin are not light at all by showing us that the paid price for our redemption was no less than the life of the Son of God.  The cross of Jesus was the burden Jesus had to bear, and it was more than physical suffering and pain.  Isaiah 53:10 vividly describes that the Father bruised the Son, and the word, “bruised,” means “crushed.”


Having considered all of such matters in the above, there are a few truths that must be found in our preaching, teaching, and learning of the Gospel. 

(1) There has to be a clear presentation of the attributes of God.  God is just and righteous.  Thus, He will not tolerate sin.  He judges and punishes sinners.  Sinners will receive His justice and wrath. 

(2) All men are sinners before God and fall short of the glory of God.  Thus, all are condemned to eternal death (second death) in hell fire.  Oh, modern men do not like it.  That’s why there are lots of modified versions of the gospel, which is not Gospel at all, or some do not mention of sin at all. 

(3) There is only one mediator between God and sinners for salvation, which is Jesus Christ.  Apostle Paul gloried Christ and His crucifixion in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  Jesus was born through a virgin, lived a perfect life, died as a substitute for us, rose again from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will come again someday. 

(4) The Gospel must be believed and produce its inevitable fruits in the lives of the saved.  It all must begin with repentance, and its subsequent fruits.  As Paul says, the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation.  Therefore, all who diminish, modify, or change the Gospel in any form and any degree are false teachers and preachers.  Churches become powerless when they lose the power of God, which is the Gospel.



Your Pastor


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