Tuesday, November 1, 2016
What is the Gospel?
There is a first and last to everything! In the above video, which I had linked to and discussed in my previous post in relation to the first question that was asked; the last question asked is also of some interest, and worth discussing. The last question asked was, “What is the gospel?” The complete question was as follows:
“What is the gospel? I have learned it is an event. I have heard, Live the gospel, pray the gospel, experience the gospel, the kingdom of God is the gospel, the Old Testament, New Testament is the gospel, the whole Bible is the gospel. I am confused!”
To this R.C. Sproul gives the following answer (extracted from the video as best I could, emphasis added):
“That person is not the only one that is confused. I mean I would teach in a Doctor of Ministry program at St. Clair, and had the same experience I am sure when we would have clergy in there, and I would ask them to define the gospel; and if I got 10% of them to give an adequate answer to it, I would be happy; because that word is thrown around so much that it has died the death of a thousand qualifications. In New Testament terms the gospel is the proclamation of the person and work of Jesus Christ, plus how the benefits of that work can be appropriated to us by faith and by faith alone. So the gospel has a narrow definition; it is the message about Jesus. Now there are other good tidings, the kingdom of God, all of that, but specifically if you look at what we call the kerygma in the New Testament, the Apostolic Proclamation of the gospel, it focuses on Christ—who he is, what he did, and how we receive his benefits.”
That statement is correct (for the most part) except for the highlighted bit. The Bible’s verdict is, “Be ye doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22). The gospel of Jesus Christ is a doing gospel, not just for hearing or believing. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). The emphasis is all on doing, not believing only. There is no salvation without repentance and keeping God’s commandments:
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.
32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
The gospel is not just for preaching or believing, but also for obeying:
2 Thessalonians 1:
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
The Reformed false theology of “faith alone” is the very antithesis of the gospel, and leads to damnation rather than salvation. It goes against the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ taught in the Bible. The Book of Mormon gives the most correct and complete definition of the word gospel that exists in any literature today (punctuation revised):
3 Nephi 27:
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you: that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me; that as I have been lifted up by men, even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.
17 And he that endureth not unto the end, the same is he that is also hewn down and cast into the fire, from whence they can no more return, because of the justice of the Father.
18 And this is the word which he hath given unto the children of men. And for this cause he fulfilleth the words which he hath given; and he lieth not, but fulfilleth all his words.
19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end.
20 Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day.
21 Verily, verily I say unto you, this is my gospel. And ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do, that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do, even that shall ye do.
22 Therefore if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
We all have something to learn from the Book of Mormon, including R.C. Sproul!