Salvation comes on God’s terms and by His grace, and we negotiate the gospel neither with God nor with one another. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John:4:14). Salvation is a work of God and His Son. We either believe it or reject it. We don’t “dialogue” about it. Nor does any church or religious organization have a franchise for dispensing it. Salvation is free from God without any “middleman.” It is granted to “whosoever” will take God at His word and accept His pardon by faith.
It is also called the “gospel of Christ” (Mark:1:1; Romans:1:16; 15:19; 1 Corinthians:9:12). He is the Savior and salvation is His work, not ours, as the angels said: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke:2:11). Salvation could be accomplished only by Christ, and when He had paid the full penalty by suffering on the Cross for our sins, he cried in triumph, “It is finished” (John:19:30).
Paul specifies the gospel that saves: “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” (1 Corinthians:15:3-4). “I am the door,” said Christ: “By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John:10:9).
The gospel contains nothing about baptism, church membership or attendance, tithing, sacraments, or rituals, diet or clothing. If we add anything to the gospel, we have not only declared it to be insufficient but have corrupted it and thus come under Paul’s anathema in Galatians:1:8,9.
The gospel is all about what Christ has done. It says nothing about what Christ must yet do, because the work of our redemption is finished. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians:15:3). His death on the cross is in the past, never to be repeated.
Nor does the gospel say anything about what we must do, because we can do nothing. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us” (Titus:3:5); “for by grace are ye saved, through faith…the gift of God[is] not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians:2:8-9). Whoever offers God anything for salvation has denied the sufficiency of what Christ did and has rejected God’s salvation.
Instead of works, the gospel requires faith. It is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans:4:5)… “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John:3:16).
The gospel is a two-edged sword. It declares, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” The same verse also says, “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John:3:36).