Tom: In our segment of Understanding the Scriptures—and that’s what we hope that we can really convey here. That we’re exploring the scriptures; we want our listeners to explore the scriptures with us. We hope that we’re addressing doctrines versus teaching that are important—important in the faith and really worthwhile. Our topic has been for a while and it will be the gospel of salvation. We want to look at the scriptures. We want to ask questions related to the scriptures so that we can really understand what the gospel of salvation is. The thing I would like to talk about today Dave, is what does the gospel do? We are to preach the gospel, to proclaim the gospel. But what does it do? There are people out there that say gospel? I don’t even know what the term means. Well, it means good news. What is this good news and what does it do?
Dave: Well we go to the scriptures. Romans:1:16—Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.” So when you believe the gospel you are saved. The Philippian jailer cried out in distress, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
So first of all what the gospel does—if I believe it, it will save me. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul says, “This is the gospel that we preached unto you, by which you are saved.” So the gospel saves the soul, if you believe.
Tom: Right. It delivers from sin. I mean here’s a word that we hear too little of today even in churches. Sin separates me from God.
Dave:It delivers me from the penalty for sure. Then as I understand and grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord, I’m being delivered from the power of sin as well. It certainly delivers me from the penalty.
Tom: Right, I was thinking about Isaiah:1:18, “Come now and let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they are reddened like crimson, they shall be as wool.” I mean God cleans us out through faith in him. Through receiving the gospel.
Tom:One other aspect of the gospel that’s important [is] that it’s for all humanity. John:3:16—people hear it, have heard it. It’s one of the most proclaimed scriptures verses: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It’s for all who will. Who will come to him.
Dave: Yes, it’s an offer that is made to the whole world. I believe that Christ paid the penalty for everyone’s sins. Not just for the elect. I don’t believe in limited atonement. And the Bible seems quite clear on that. Second John verse two says, “He is the propitiation for our sins…” and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Tom: Now is that 1 John?
Dave: I’m sorry did I say second?
Dave: I’m sorry, 1 John 2, right. So yes, the gospel is for everyone. Whosoever will may come. Whoever believes in him it says, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Tom: In our exploration of—actually not exploration, but in our helping to explain and understand the gospel sometimes we as evangelicals, we don’t explain. You know we are so comfortable with words, we assume that people understand the meaning of words that we’ve learned to use as evangelicals. So I just want to make sure that when we’re communicating this, when we’re teaching basically, that people understand what we’re talking about. That the gospel as we’ve said, it is for all humanity. Because ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Dave: It’s not only for all humanity. I mean that’s true, but if humanity, any part of humanity does not believe the gospel, they are lost forever. So Jesus said it in John:3:36, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life. He that believes not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. So the gospel itself doesn’t do anything unless you believe it. And believing the gospel delivers me from the wrath of God because God’s wrath is against sin. He is a holy, righteous God and when man has rebelled against him, and taken his own way—“All we like sheep have gone astray, we’ve turned everyone to his own way,” as Isaiah said in chapter 53. The consequences are serious.
Tom: Condemnation, John:3:18.
Tom: Right, “He who does not believe is condemned already.”
Tom: But this is a gift. And this is one of the points that we want to drive home. Some people say well, look it’s an exclusive club. We used that term before. No, it’s not. It’s for all. We quoted the scripture. All who will come. And it’s a free gift.
Dave: Well yes, we can develop the thought of a gift, but first of all, you say
“exclusive club”. Some people object. They say it’s too narrow minded.
Dave: Dogmatic, why should I have to believe that? Well, it’s like saying why should I have to believe that two plus two is four? Well the fact is, it is four. Why should I have to believe? This is truth. We’re talking about truth. We’re not talking about ideas. We’re not talking about philosophy. We’re talking about what God has said and first of all, God has said, “the wages of sin is death.” You sin against me, you have forfeited the very life that I have give you. God says look, I gave you life and existence for a purpose. Don’t you think that the Creator has the right to determine what life will be? That sounds maybe oppressive, but it’s not when as we mentioned earlier, the Creator loves us and his way is best. So when man rebels against God and takes the life and existence that God has given him and presumes to live it for him self—in other words, he has literally robbed God of the very life—. You could say he’s taken a life; he’s committed murder. When I take the life that God gave me out of his hands and I insist on living it for myself the way I want to do it—. Of course that’s the problem in the world. We have 5.8 billion people doing that. Well then, I have forfeited the right to be in God’s universe and [there are] very serious consequences. Now God loves us and Christ died for us. He paid the penalty for our sins. Were that not the case, we couldn’t be forgiven. And now God wants to forgive us. Well if he offers this to everyone, how stubborn do you have to be to say well that’s too narrow-minded? I mean why should I have to believe that? Well that’s the way it is in life. You don’t get on a United Airlines jet to New Yorkwith a ticket to the Matterhornin Disneyland. There are rules and regulations. You can’t even play checkers without rules.
Tom: Or the pilot doesn’t come out back to the airplane and say well which way would you like to go?
Dave: Yes, right. What button do you want me to punch next and see where it gets us? The God of the universe, I mean he’s got a right to lay out the rules. And wouldn’t we want to follow the rules? Well we haven’t. So we’re going to have to come back to him on his terms and that’s what the gospel is. It explains the term and I’ve got to be careful. See, unfortunately Tom, the gospel is often presented as—well you eluded to it earlier—we’ve forgotten about sin. It’s not sin anymore. I’ve kind of messed my life up, you know. And things aren’t going well for me and now I’ve come to Jesus and he’ll make everything work out just the way I would like it to. That is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is that I am a sinner and the wages of sin is eternal separation from God and I’d better come to him in repentance and I’d better believe the gospel. Not because it’s going to make me happier or bless me, or make me prosperous. That’s the sort of thing that’s being offered now. No I better believe the gospel because it’s the truth. And if I don’t believe the truth, I will be seduced by the lie. I believe the gospel because when I believe the gospel I’m honoring God. I’m saying God tells the truth! God really loves me. If I don’t believe the gospel then I’m saying God is a liar and I can do better than God. That’s a horrible thing for human beings to reject the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tom: The very idea that God would pay the penalty for our sins, that God himself would become a man to die in our place…some people think maybe in a selfish mode, well wait a minute I have to confess my sins and I have to do this and in order to—well what’s God’s part in this? They don’t recognize that he paid the penalty; that it’s staggering. I mean just think of it! God becoming a man and dying! If that doesn’t motivate somebody to understand his love and to move in to want what he wants, to desire to let him take control of our lives, I don’t know what does.
Dave: It’s not just the physical death of course.
Dave: But as he hung there on the cross, I mean what men did to him, that would only add to our condemnation. But he paid the price that his own infinite justice required for sin. It’s only on that basis that we can be forgiven. The gospel, when I believe it, it brings forgiveness. Forgiveness of sin and eternal life as a free gift from God.
Tom: You know I wasn’t thinking about just the physical side, I was thinking about the humility, the humiliating aspect of all of that. That’s you know sometimes, we don’t like to be humbled. And for God to humble himself—wow!
Dave: One of the hardest things Tom, I’m sure you’ve experienced it if you’ve ever been falsely accused and you realize that there is no point in responding. I mean there’s nothing you can do. Jesus was falsely accused, misunderstood, belittled, betrayed, humiliated and he didn’t respond. He didn’t strike back. If he had, there would be no salvation for us. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about the cross. Because Jesus, it says as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, he opened not his mouth.” He didn’t say well you idiots! I mean I’m God! I could destroy you in a minute, but I’m going to die for you anyway in spite of your evil! No, he didn’t retaliate. He didn’t respond. Peter it tells us, 1 Peter 2 when he suffered, he threatened not, he didn’t respond, but he commended himself to him that judgeth righteously. And Peter says in that he gave us an example that we should follow his steps as well. But we have a tendency to want to defend ourselves, retaliate, get a little revenge and so forth.
But the gospel, what does the gospel do? Well the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe.
What does it save us from? It saves us from the eternal judgment that we deserve because of our sin.