Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 8, 1964
NUMBER 22, PAGE 8,10a

The Gospel

Truman Smith

"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).

The word "gospel" of which we read in the New Testament, is "good news." When it is taught or preached it is said to be "the truth of the gospel in contrast to perversions of it (Gal. 2:14). Paul said: "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 is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (Rom. 1:16, 17). Because of its vital connection with salvation, I often refer to it as "the precious gospel of the Son of God.' Paul is speaking of its converting power; for he said, "... it is the power God uses to save or convert men. David called it "the law of the Lord," which he said "is perfect, converting the soul" (Psa. 19:7). In the New Testament, James 2:12 it is simply the "law of liberty." Paul called it "the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2). In Gal. 6:2 it is called "the law of Christ." The apostle John said, "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ" (Jno. 1:17). When we teach or preach the word of God, we are teaching "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" (Tit. 2: 11-14). That is why Paul said to the elders of the church from Ephesus when he was departing from Miletus, "And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Peter said, "And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (I Pet. 1:25). Thus, the preached word is God's power to save men. That is why Jesus said to his apostles: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:15, 16). Indeed, God is our Saviour (I Tim. 2:3), and he saves us by the gospel.

The Gospel Must Be Obeyed

If one desires to go to heaven, he must obey the gospel of Christ. In the first place one must become cognizant of his sins. This is revealed to him by the gospel. "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8). The Bible is clear and plain in teaching us that this is true of all types of sinners. Thus, the need for salvation from sin. To be saved from sin, one must obey the gospel. Paul said to the Roman Christians, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:17, 18). Notice, please, that they obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine. They simply obeyed the doctrine of Christ, that is, the gospel of Christ. As a result of their obedience, they were no longer servants of sin; but they became servants of righteousness. Peter said: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth" (I Pet. 1:22).

Let us notice some simple facts set forth in the New Testament, that we might see the necessity of obeying the gospel to be cleansed. Paul said "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). The Jews on Pentecost were sinners (Acts 2:23, 36). Peter preached the gospel to them; they heard Peter's sermon. Then the record says, "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37). In Romans 10:10 we read: "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness." Thus, after hearing, and believing the gospel they asked, "What shall we do?" The record continues: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). But, why be baptized? It plainly tells us, "for the remission of sins." Please notice: "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Again, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us" (I Pet. 3:21). It is interesting to observe also from Acts the 8th chapter the case of the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip "preached unto him Jesus." (Acts 8:32). "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing" (Acts 8:36-39). We might ask: "Why did the eunuch rejoice?" Because he had been baptized "for the remission of sins " according to Acts 2:38. He was no longer a servant of sin; but he became a servant of righteousness, according to Rom. 6:17, 18. His soul was purified, by obeying the truth, according to I Pet. 1:22. He was also added to the church, according to Acts 2:38, 41, 47. The church is said to be the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23), and one is "baptized into one body, the church," according to I Cor. 12:13.

When one obeys the gospel of Christ, he enters into Jesus Christ. "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?" (Rom. 6:3). "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). But, what does it mean to be "in Christ"? In Christ is salvation (2 Tim. 2:10); redemption (Eph. 1:7) ; forgiveness (Col. 1:14); sanctification (I Cor. 1:2) Also, Paul said, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old thing's are passed away; behold all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). To the Ephesians, he said, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3). But after being delivered "from the power of darkness." God has 'translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:13).

Our obedience does not stop at the point of obtaining salvation from sins of the past. We must continue obeying the word of God all the days of our life. Yet, as a child of God, one has the promise of 'forgiveness of any sin that he might commit. He must repent and pray (Acts 8:22). The apostle John wrote: "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know him, if we keep hits commandments" (I Jno, 2:1-3).

"But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?" (Rom. 10:16). Men still do not believe and obey. The Bible makes it abundantly clear, even to the casual student, that God demands that man be obedient to His word. Yet, all the way from Adam to now, we notice the masses have sought to set aside the need for obedience. Please observe the Israelites all the way from Egyptian bondage to Babylonian captivity. God was always faithful to remember their transgressions and led them through multiplied trial; and calamities in an effort to purge out the disobedient and teach a people that God demands complete submission to Him. The principle of obedience runs through all time. In the very face of the many frissons on obedience which the Old Testament alone contains, men still insist the obedience is not necessary. This is essentially what many religionists today are urging upon the masses when they teach universal salvation or even the doctrine of "faith only." We could go on and on in naming the many doctrines, for the list is almost endless that remove from the minds the realization of man's need for obeying the gospel of Christ. That why when sermons are preached or articles are written on essentials in religion, men scoff at us.

I am moved with deep sorrow when I think of the millions who need salvation, but cannot be reached; for they have been deceived "'by good words and fair speeches."

Friend, I call upon you to consider carefully and seriously this from the word of God: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day." (2 Thess. 1:7-10).

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