The Gospel

The Bad News

In the previous century and thus far into this one, it has become increasingly clear that something is wrong with this world and its inhabitants.  Scholars, celebrities, politicians and religious leaders all offer analysis of what’s wrong with the world, but the diagnoses’ are as plentiful as they are dissonant.  Some say the root of the problem is political while others say it’s economic, intellectual, religious, anti-religious, and others simply choose to pretend there’s no problem at all.  Through all the chaos and opinion, is there an actual answer to the ultimate questions?  Can anyone make sense of this world?  Does anyone actually know what’s wrong with the world and its inhabitants?

Well, if anyone can make sense of the problems in the universe, God can.  The reason for this is simple; God made everything that is (Genesis 1:1; Ephesians 3:9) and gives life to everything on the earth (Isaiah 42:5; Acts 17:25).  The creator of all knows exactly how all works; he designed and created everything that is.  Not only does he understand everything he created, but he also rules over all creation, as the rightful king, in complete sovereignty.  This means that he’s in charge of the universe and answers to nobody (Psalm 103:19; Daniel 4:34-35).  God directs the affairs of nations (Isaiah 10:5-15; Daniel 5:21) the hearts of both kings and commoners (Proverbs 21:1; Acts 4:27-28), and even inconsequential events like the roll of dice (Proverbs 16:33) or the death of sparrows (Matthew 10:29), and even infirmity and disease (Exodus 4:11; Deuteronomy 28:58-59; 2 Samuel 12:15).  God reigns the entire universe; both neutrons and nations alike obey him. God is the creator and sovereign over all and he has ownership and authority over everyone and everything (Psalm 24:1-2; Psalm 50:10-12).  All men owe allegiance to God, their rightful sovereign.

But how is this known, for who can possibly ascend the steps of the mount of God and peer into the window of his mind?  Well, nobody can know God’s mind, but God can make himself known.  God has revealed himself to mankind in two ways.  First, God has revealed himself in a general way in nature.  When people behold the complexity and design of nature, they innately realize God exists (Romans 1:18-20).  Secondly, God has revealed himself by speaking through his prophets (Hebrews 1:1; 2 Peter 1:20-21) and apostles (Ephesians 3:5; 2 Peter 3:2).  The Bible is the very word of God; divine self-revelation from God in divine words (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21); the Bible claims to actually reveal the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:6-16).  What has God made known about himself, mankind and the world?

In simple terms, God has given his moral law to mankind.  He has placed it on the hearts of all men (Romans 2:14-15) and written it in the Bible (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 5-7, etc.).  Though mankind knows about God’s existence and moral law, they reject what they know and turn away from what God has revealed in nature (Romans 1:20-23) and scripture (Psalm 50:16-17; Proverbs 1:29-33) in order to follow the wicked desires (Proverbs 11:6; Ephesians 2:3) of their wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9; Luke 6:45). ).  This rebellion is known as “sin” and mankind rebels because that’s what they want.

This isn’t to say that people always enjoy their rebellion or recognize it as such; mankind is enslaved by their wicked desires; enslaved to sin (John 8:34; Romans 6:15-17).  They can change behavior that springs from their hearts (Luke 6:43-45; James 4:1-3) but they are powerless to change the nature of their hearts (Jeremiah 13:23; Romans 7:18-19).  This enslavement to sin is the condition of every person whether they are aware of it or not (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:10-18).  This is not to say that all people are totally wicked (i.e. never tell the truth), but instead that people are incapable of being actually righteous. This is also recognizes that horrid people can perform altruistic or selfless actions, but ‘righteous’ deeds performed for unrighteous motives are not really righteous deeds (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2; Isaiah 64:6; James 4:1-3).

This universal rebellion against God’s law is an offense against God himself.  Sin is essentially the challenging of God’s wisdom and power manifesting in acts of rebellion against God’s moral law (i.e. his wisdom and council as revealed in Scripture and conscience). God, because he is holy (Leviticus 19:2; 1 Samuel 2:2), must rightly honor himself above his creation (Psalm 8:1).  God cannot entertain any challenges to the holiness of his wisdom, power, love, etc. because they’re simply not true.  God can neither lie about himself nor believe lies about himself (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18). God must judge sin as what it is; an attack on his glory.  God will not elevate another person’s glory above his own (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11) for that would be lying.  God has clearly declared that he will judge sin (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Revelation 20:11-13) and in doing so, God will vindicate his justice (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

What is this judgment?  The ultimate judgment for sin is death (Romans 6:23), which includes punishment for sinful deeds (Matthew 12:34-37; Revelation 20:11-15), as well as eternal relational separation from God (Matthew 8:11-12; Revelation 21:27); a separation not only from God’s person but also God’s blessings (joy, rest, sanity, general restraining grace, health, etc.) served eternally in hell as men are unfettered from God’s restraining grace to embrace and suffer for their sin forever.  People are condemned to eternal punishment in Hell for their attack on God’s infinite glory, but they’ll remain in Hell eternally because in Hell, their rebellion will never stop.

So how can one escape their own heart?  Simply put, one cannot change their own essential nature, nor give themselves a divine ‘heart transplant’ and change their spiritual disposition towards God.  Mankind is caught in a snare from which he cannot free himself; this is the bad news.

The Good News

In response to all the problems faced by mankind, the Bible presents a single solution in the person and work of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Miraculously born to a mother who was a virgin (Luke 1:34) and conceived by the power of God (Luke 1:35), Jesus Christ was literally the son of God.  Calling Jesus “Son of God” doesn’t mean that Jesus was God’s offspring in the sense that he ‘came into being’; rather Jesus was God’s ‘son’ in that he was of the same nature as his ‘father’ (John 5:17-19) and knew God the Father in an intimate way that no other person did (Matthew 11:27; John 6:46).  How did Jesus ‘do what God did’ and know God in a way that nobody else did?

Jesus Christ was himself God; the second person of the triune person of God (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit); he shared characteristics with God the Father that would be claimed by no man.  The Bible speaks of Jesus as creator (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16), sustainer of the universe (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3), the one who forgives sins (Mark 2:5-12; Luke 7:48-49), the one who will judge sin (John 5:22; 27; Acts 17:31), the “fullness” and “exact representation” of God (Colossians 1:19; 2:9 Hebrews 1:3), glorified by God the Father (John 13:31-32; 17:1-5), the God of the Old Testament (John 8:56-58; 12:41), having power over life and death (John 5:21-25; 6:27; 35-40), commanding nature (Mark 11:12-21; Luke 8:25), being eternal (John 1:1; Philippians 2:6-11), being self existent (John 5:26), being able to read minds/discern hearts (Mark 2:8; Luke 6:8), knowing the future (Mathew 16:21; 20:17-19; 24:3-51; 26:31-35) and the Bible declares that what God desires of mankind is to believe his testimony about Christ (John 5:29; 1 John 5:9-12).

So Jesus Christ, the God of the Jews, became a man and lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22).  Christ willingly chose to die (John 10:17-18) as a sacrifice of atonement for sin (Romans 3:23-25; Hebrews 9:24-28) and sinners (Romans 5:6-8; 1 Peter 3:18) in order to provide his own righteousness (Romans 4:1-24; 2 Corinthians 5:21) to any who believe (Romans 3:22-26; 10:9-10) his own claims about himself (John 5:21-29, 6:25-58, 7:37-39).  The Bible teaches that sacrifice of Christ forgives past sins (Hebrews 9:24-28; 10:11-14; 1 John 1:7), removes the guilt of sin (Hebrews 9:11-14; 10:22) spares sinners from God’s future judgment (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9) and restores rebellious sinners to right relationship with God (2 Corinthians 5:18; 1 Peter 3:18).

Christ was killed by crucifixion, buried and resurrected from the dead by God the Father (Acts 13:32-33; 1 Thessalonians 1:10) in order to show God’s verification of Christ’s declarations about his own person and work (Acts 17:31; Romans 1:4), so the resurrection is God’s ultimate testimony about Christ (1 John 5:9-12).  Christ’s resurrection is the ‘prototype’ of the physical resurrection of all believers (Romans 8:11; Colossians 1:18) that will occur when Christ returns to earth a second time (1 Corinthians 15:20-24; 2 Corinthians 4:14) to conquer and eliminate death once and for all (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). The early apostles and Christians were eyewitnesses of the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; 2 Peter 1:16) and these facts are the basis of confession in the Christian faith (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:14-19).  The resurrection of the dead is the proximate hope of all Christians (1. Corinthians 15:12-19; Philippians 3:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

So how does one respond? First, one must count the cost of following Christ.  God does not promise believers financial prosperity, freedom from disease, etc. He does bless believers with increasing joy and righteous character (Galatians 5:22-23), but one of the hallmarks of Christianity is suffering (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 3:12; 1 Peter 4:12-13) and God’s main tool for the production of character in believers is discipline (Hebrews 12:4-11).  The Christian life is one of battle, intense spiritual warfare engaged amidst hardship (2 Timothy 2:3-4) against the dark, spiritual forces of this world (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-20).  The call to follow Christ is a call to become a slave of Christ; it’s a call to give up one’s own desires, values and self-rule (Matthew 10:34-39, 16:24-27; 1 Corinthians 7:22-23; Ephesians 6:5-9; Philippians 2:1-8, 3:7-9; 1 Peter 2:16; Revelation 1:1).

Secondly, one must respond in genuine faith; i.e. believing God’s testimony about himself, oneself and the person and work of his son.  One must place their faith in Christ alone to save them from their sins and the coming wrath of God (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), as well as grant them the long-awaited resurrection from the dead; eternal life (John 3:3-18, 5:21-29, 6:25-58, 10:27-29; 11:23-27).  True faith is always accompanied by repentance (Acts 20:21; 26:20). Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him (1 John 1:9), and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Acts 3:19; 20:21; 26:20), pursue Christ (Matthew 11:28-30; John 17:3), honor Christ as Lord (Rom. 6:17-18; 10:9-10) and obey him (John 14: 21-24; 1 John 2:3).

If this is somehow unclear or if you have any questions regarding anything contained in this post, please toss your questions or comments in the thread.

Lyndon “Mennoknight” Unger

19 thoughts on “The Gospel

  1. Turning from sin is works according to Jonah 3:10 KJV, And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

    Acts 3:19 KJV is referencing a repentance (change of mind) from denying Christ to acknowledging him, which the Jews did not. Acts 20:21 KJV is referencing a repentance (change of mind) toward God, which is specified as faith toward Jesus Christ. If they changed their mind from Works to Mormonism that wouldn’t save them. They needed to change their mind and specifically toward Jesus Christ. Acts 26:20 KJV is again a change of mind toward God, there is no mention of “turning from sin”. The Bible does not say “repent of your sins” anywhere. The word repent is referring to a change of mind as the only requirement of salvation is to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

    ACTS 16:31
    30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
    31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    • Turning from sin is “works”?

      Repentance has to do with Christ and not sin?

      Okie doke.

      You are free to believe whatever craziness you like. I have a feeling that if I responded and showed you your serious errors, you wouldn’t listen for a second.

      Thanks for the Steve Anderson video. I’ll respond with one of my own:

  2. the above comment that scripture does not mention repentance from sin, cannot be true as John the Baptist preceded Jesus, and all the way John the Baptist preached repentance from sin, the writer is partly correct however, that repentance too is gift of God, who empowers our turning away, but true repentance starts from conviction of error, and decision to change, realizing the consequences of one’s actions. the action of the Holy Spirit produces conviction as well. what about self discipline, would that also be a work?

  3. mennoknight,

    Can I ask you, what does the word Metanoia mean? How do you understand the word Repentance (from metanoia) in the NT?

    In Hebrews 12:17 the word Repentance is used:

    ‘For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears’. – Hebrews 12:17 KJV

    Can you please tell me what the word repentance means in the above passage, in the context?

  4. My understanding (and I’ve looked up every reference to Metanoia) is that the word simply means a change of mind.

    Sin isn’t the object of repentance is the majority of instances.

    Jesus Christ and His Person IS the object requiring repentance. That is, the change of mind about WHO Jesus Christ IS.

    Any thoughts?

  5. May I ask are you one who holds to the TULIP of Calvin who’s real name is Cohen? Also I would like to submit my website about the need for us to return to what Christ Jesus gave through his Apostles a functioning body where Jesus is the one giving life, revealing himself and each part of the body is to function according to the effectual working in the measure of every part makes increase of the body unto the edifying of it’s self in love. Ephesians 4:16 My website

  6. Hi. just happened here because someone wanted to alert me re Torben Sondergaard. So i’m alerted, but as God has been guiding me through the (established churches) and brought me to the same ‘mindset’ re its dire state, and guiding me to “do” church, I will listen at least to a few and see… I will be wearing the same sifter I always wear when attending a ‘church’ establishment. //While here, I came to look at your description of the Gospel of salvation. Wow. So comprehensive and well stated. But I disagree with two things. First, the commonly held belief on hell (and that it is in the Bible). When i read the through the Bible, I hear /see God indicating that the end for those who do not accept God is death in its finality after judgment. (ie, John 3:16 perish = death / ) The other disagreement is that the Bible says we must confess ‘our sins’ with an ‘s’. I trust that if I review any of the Scripture portions on repentance, I will still conclude that an acknowledgment of our ‘sin nature’ is all that is demanded of us. The verse 1 John 1:9 is meant for those belonging to God (having salvation) who find themselves in sin. God bless you. Keep on keeping on in the love of our Father YHWH, and our Lord Jesus.

  7. In reading this presentation I know I’d be concerned that salvation is by works. I have to turn from my sin, want to follow Jesus my entire life, pursue Christ, obey Christ all my life. That sure is a lot of works. What if I haven’t repented of all my sin? What if I don’t always pursue and obey Christ all my life?
    I’m glad Jesus clearly states that “he who believes has eternal life.” I can be glad that I have eternal life simply by my faith, not by any works I have to do.
    Of course now that I am a believer, I recognize that out of gratitude for eternal life and recognition of who Jesus is I should choose to be a disciple and count the cost, but this is a journey and the path of sanctification, not initial salvation.
    It appears my friend you are on the wrong side of the Marrow controversy.

    • Well, you’re confused because it appears that you think repentance and obedience are meritorious works. They’re not. They’re the consequences/companions of saving faith.

      Christ alone gives righteousness, and we gain that righteousness by believing the gospel. Believing is an act of faith (which is a gift of God – Eph. 2:8-9) and is always accompanied by repentance (which is a work of the Spirit – Phil. 2:13).

      If you repent of your sin, you repent of your sin. That doesn’t mean going down an exhaustive list and nail all 12,493,263 items.

      If your life is marked by a lack of pursuit and obedience to Christ, you’re not a Christian (1 John 3:4-10)

      I appreciate the John 3:15-16 quote. I’d encourage you to keep reading down through vs. 21. Believing involves coming “into the light” so that your deeds are exposed. That’s not meritorious, but rather a characteristic of one who is already believing.

      And are you saying that when you heard the gospel, you didn’t know what you were getting into or what a decision to follow Jesus entailed?

      That’s kinda what it sounds like you’re insinuating.

      As for the Marrow controversy, I’m comfortably standing alongside the Bible…and Thomas Boston.

      • Saying that obedience is a companion of faith is the very thing you need to prove, not presuppose. I agree that they are in alignment, but they are distinct as well. Again, 1 John 3:9 says that all who are born of God do not sin. It’s a simple Greek present tense. It’s an identity statement of position. It doesn’t mean that practically Christians don’t sin or that all Christians will pursue and obey Christ (what does that mean specifically?). How can we really define continuing in sin? WE all sin every day!

        John 3:21 doesn’t have implication in what happens after faith, but actually what happens at faith. Faith implies that one understands a need for our deeds to be exposed, i.e. we need salvation. This certainly can have nuance for sanctification, but the verse simply says that believing is itself a practicing of the truth and a coming into the light.

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