Hello to all of my faithful readers. It has been an inexcusably long time since I have posted last, and for that I will apologize. I am still busy, but I wanted to write a short post so that you all would not think I have completely forsaken you. The key word in that sentence was "short", so bear that in mind (it is 12:00 at night, and I am supposed to be up by 8:00 in the morning to head to Church).
What is the Gospel? Is it, "ask Jesus into your heart, and He'll save you from your sins"? Or is it, "God loved you so, so much that He sent His Son to die for you so that He could show you that love"? Or maybe it is, "You have sinned. Because of this sin, you deserve Hell. However, since God loved you, He sent His Son to die in your place. This gift of salvation is yours, if you will just reach out and take it by believing in Christ. If you don't take it, you will go to Hell. Yet if you do take it, your sins will be forgiven and you will live in Heaven forever. Its your choice, so what will you choose?"
The answer is: none of the above. Although the third sounds closest to truth, it is not true at all. There is nothing about repentance, God's eternal plan, sanctification, rebirth, and so on, nor are any of these implied. Thus, we are left with a decent amount of good-sounding, and maybe even wise-sounding, lies which send people to Hell, for it is only by the Gospel that men are saved. (Rom. 1:16) Thus, in order to begin understanding what salvation is, we need to find what the true Gospel is.
Are you on the edge of your seat yet? Are you at all curious as to what the Gospel is? Are you currently yelling "Heretic!" at the screen since you noticed that I declared your "gospel" to be fake? Do you not care what the Gospel is? If any of the above are true, read on.
In our Church's bible study a couple of days ago, Pastor Frederico brought up a marvelous passage. Let me show you it.
"...I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people..." (Rev. 14:6)
Notice in the beginning of this verse, we find the key to what we are searching for. This is the fact that this angel is preaching an "eternal Gospel" to all the Earth. As is obvious, this Gospel has been here for all of eternity in the mind of God. One thing to note though is that we have always been saved by the Gospel, first the Jew, then the Gentile. "How is this possible!?" You ask. "Jesus had not died on the cross nor rose from the dead when Abraham, or Noah, or even Adam was living! So how could they be saved by the Gospel?" Well, maybe the Gospel is different than you thought, or maybe you are creating a false dilemma in your head since "the blood of bulls and goats [cannot] take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Since death was the penalty for sins, the blood of the Lamb of God has always been required for men to be cleansed of their sins.
Let us continue in the passage, now that you are extremely curious as to what the Gospel is.
"...and [the angel] said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” (Rev. 14:7)
There is the Gospel by which the Elect are saved. This encompasses all of the Gospel, such as Christ's sacrificial atonement, Resurrection, Sanctification, Rebirth, repentance, and all other teachings which make up the Gospel. If you do not see it at first, read through the Scriptures and you will find that this is truly the summation of the Gospel, "Fear God, give Him glory, and worship Him who made all things."
May you all be granted increasing mercy, grace, and every other good and perfect gift from our Father and His Son, our Risen Lord,