Tom: Thanks Gary. Dave, what we hope to do in this program—yes, we are going to deal with issues that are controversial, issues that the church is facing. We want to be able to take a look at what is going on in the world. We are going to see the world in the church, the church in the world. But what we want to do is as best we can, help people in their understanding of the scriptures. So in this segment we are going to take a look a particular doctrine, a major doctrine of the church and then try and explain it as best we can from the scriptures. I think the most important thing, the greatest thing that we have is the gospel. The gospel of salvation. So let’s take a look at that. What is the gospel? Romans:1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” What does that mean?
Dave: Well you didn’t finish the rest. “It is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.” The gospel is that declaration from God from his word which if you believe it, you are saved. And Paul defines the gospel. He tells us what it is. 1 Corinthians:15:1-4, he says, “This is the gospel that I preached unto you by which you are saved and where in you stand, if you bear in mind what I said unto you.” You know he’s not saying that you can be lost, but he says if you remember what I taught you, you understand that this is how you were saved. And then he tells you what it is. “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. And then he was seen of Cephas, Peter and then he goes on. There were witnesses to the resurrection. So this is the gospel. This is a simple message. When the Philippian jailer for example in Acts 16 cried out, “Sirs what must I do to be saved?” Paul said well you have to get baptized, you have to join the church, you go to go through the sacraments,—no he didn’t. Paul was asked a straightforward question. “What must I do to be saved?” He said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” That doesn’t mean just believe that there was somebody named Jesus you know. That includes who he is, what he did—the redemptive work of the cross that he accomplished for us. And you believe this, you are saved. This is the gospel. It’s not about works, it’s not about anything else. Jesus said in John:3:36, “He that believeth on the Son, has everlasting life and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. So the gospel is just a simple declaration of who Jesus Christ is. The fact that he died for our sins, he would have to be God in order to do that. That he paid the penalty that his own infinite justice demanded and that he rose the third day. He’s alive and that we can have eternal life, pardon and forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift. And that we have to accept it as a gift. We can’t pay for it. We can’t earn it. This is the gospel.
Tom: And this isn’t something that man made up. We look at other religions throughout. There’s nothing like this. Paul writes, “But I make known to you brethren that the gospel which was preached by me, is not according to man.” This isn’t something that these people who follow Jesus, [in the] first century—this isn’t something that they decide, oh let’s make a religion here. Paul writes again, “But it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ.” That’s who taught him the gospel.
Dave: He didn’t even hear from Peter, James, or John. His statement there, and I am a CPA so I am kind of partial to what he says there in Galatians chapter one. He says, I certify you brethren, the gospel that I preach is not of man. I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” He goes on and says, I didn’t go up to Peter, James and John. I learned what I learned from Jesus himself. But he says—he’s very careful. It is according to the scriptures. Paul, in Romans chapter one says that he is preaching the gospel of God which God promised before by his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. What Jesus did—he is the Messiah that was promised. If he did not fulfill the Old Testament scriptures then he is not our Savior and we are not going to believe it at all. But in fact he did, and the fact that the prophets foretold centuries beforehand that he would be crucified for example, centuries before crucifixion was known, where he would be born, when—the very day that he would ride into Jerusalem on that donkey was foretold and so forth. That is evidence, that is proof to us that he…. But there’s an element in the gospel Tom that I think is generally, to quite a large extent overlooked and without it a person isn’t saved.
You see a lot of people who can get very sentimental about Jesus because of his sufferings on the cross, but they’re thinking only of what men did to him. His physical sufferings and they are not thinking of the fact that God made him the sin offering for us. Isaiah 53 says it pleased Yahweh to bruise him. Thou hast put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin…. And the physical sufferings of Jesus on the cross would not save anybody. That’s what we did to him. That would only add to our condemnation. But the fact is, that as he hung upon the cross he became the sacrifice, the sin sacrifice and he paid the penalty that his own infinite justice required. And when he said, “It is finished,” that’s an accounting term in the Greek. The debt is paid in full. And if that were not the case, there is no salvation for us.