As this age draws to a close, the
religious scene in the Western world is in chaos. Decades of
secularist thought have taken a heavy toll on those societies
that were formally quite religious and moral. The state of
Western Christianity has become so secular that missionaries
from Africa, South America, and Asia are trying to preach the
gospel to Europe and America!
Today, among those still professing
to be Christian, doctrinal confusion abounds. While
three-quarters of Americans are associated with Christianity,
only half consider themselves absolutely committed to the
Christian faith. Less than half of Americans strongly believe
the Bible is totally accurate in all its teachings—and these
figures are far higher than in the rest of the Western world!
With so little commitment on earth to the truth of God, it is
hardly surprising there is so much misunderstanding and
disagreement over the basic message that our Savior brought
from the Father—the gospel.
"Just believe on the name of Jesus,
and you'll be saved" is a common message of professing
Christian ministers and Sunday morning "gospel programs."
Others say the gospel is that God sent His Son to die for our
sins. Still others condense it all down to a trite "Jesus
loves you" that fits nicely on bumper stickers—and believe
they are spreading the "good news"!
It is certainly true that belief in
Jesus Christ is the major requirement of salvation—although
more is required than just intellectual agreement. It is also
true that God did indeed send His Son to pay the penalty of
our sins, and, yes, God certainly does love us. But not one of
these common sentiments is the true "good news" message that
Jesus Christ brought! At best, these statements are each only
a portion of the gospel message.
Nowhere does Jesus Christ say that
the gospel is about Him coming to die for our sins! Instead,
the gospel He preached answers why He did so. More than that,
it reveals the momentous purpose that God is accomplishing,
and declares the reason reconciliation through the blood of
the Lamb is necessary. We need to know what the true gospel
To understand what the true gospel
is, take a tour of this foundational subject by following the
link below. At the bottom of each subsequent page you will
find a similar link to continue the tour
The predominant focus of mainstream
Christianity is the undeserved crucifixion of Jesus Christ,
and the subsequent forgiveness of sins that is available
through accepting that sacrifice. While this selfless act was
and is unquestionably momentous, and its effects exceedingly
far-reaching, many would be shocked to find out that the Bible
defines the gospel differently than what they have always been
told. A thoughtful reading shows that accepting Christ's blood
in payment of our sins—as foundationally important as it is—is
actually not the focus of the "good news" that He brought and
that the apostles continued to preach.
In addition to dying for our sins,
Jesus Christ came to earth as a messenger from God the Father:
Behold, I send My messenger [John the
Baptist], and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord,
whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the
Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is
coming," says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
Jesus did not speak His own words,
but the words that the Father gave Him (John 8:38-42;
12:49-50; 14:24). His message was not primarily about Himself,
but rather the good news that the Father ordained to be
announced on earth. While Jesus Christ was categorically the
most important individual ever to walk this earth, the Bible
shows clearly that the gospel that Jesus brought was not
simply about Himself. Read His statements, and prove this for yourself:
» And Jesus went about all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the
kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of
disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)
» And Jesus went about all the cities
and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the
gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every
disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35)
» Now after John was put in prison,
Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of
God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand. repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)
» [Jesus] said to them, "I must
preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because
for this purpose I have been sent." (Luke 4:43)
» Now it came to pass, afterward,
that [Jesus] went through every city and village, preaching
and bringing the glad tidings [gospel] of the kingdom of God.
» The law and the prophets were until
John. Since that time the Kingdom of God has been preached,
and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven
and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.
» And this gospel of the kingdom will
be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations,
and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
The inspired Word of God makes it
abundantly plain: The "good news" that Jesus Christ brought
was about the Kingdom of God! The "gospel of Jesus Christ" is
simply the message of good news that Jesus preached—not a
message about Jesus. It is not primarily a message about the
events in His life and of His becoming the Savior of the
world—although it most certainly does include all that. But if
the events of His life are not seen in the context of what He
said, the resulting "faith" will be full of error and
The announcement of "good news"—the
very best news that could be heard today—which the Father gave
through Jesus Christ, was about His Kingdom being established
But what is a kingdom? It is
essentially a nation, with all of its citizens, land, and
laws, ruled by a government. In biblical usage, a kingdom can
also mean a family from a single parent grown into a nation.
A kingdom has four basic elements: 1)
a king, supreme ruler, or governing agent; 2) territory, with
its specific location and definite boundary lines; 3) subjects
or citizens within that territorial jurisdiction; 4) and laws
and a form of government through which the will of the ruler
is exercised. If we ignore any one of these essential
elements—if we ignore the message that Jesus Christ brought
from the Father—we will have a distorted faith, one that will
not bring salvation.
As shown previously, a kingdom
has four basic elements: 1) a king; 2) territory; 3) subjects
or citizens; and 4) laws and government. There can be no doubt
that the King of God's Kingdom will be Jesus Christ. Even
though He did not exercise any civil authority while on earth,
when He returns He will be "King of kings and Lord of lords"
(I Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16; 17:14).
David, one of ancient Israel 's
greatest kings, was well aware that the physical kingdom of
Israel was only a type of the Kingdom that God would later
establish. He recognized that there were two God Beings (Psalm
2:6-8; 110:1), and that one of them—the one who became the Son
(Psalm 2:7)—will be the King over the earth and all of its
inhabitants. He will be given "the nations for [His]
inheritance, and the ends of the earth for [His] possession"
(Psalm 2:8). He will be "King forever and ever" (Psalm 10:16;
29:10; 45:6; 145:13).
When that Kingdom is established,
"all the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the
LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before
[Him]. For the kingdom is the LORD's, and He rules over the
nations" (Psalm 22:27-28). While it is a given that God is
sovereign over the earth, it is also painfully obvious from
looking around us that this prophecy of the world turning to
Him has yet to be fulfilled.
God made promises and recorded
prophecies about the coming King as far back as Abraham's
time. He made the first promise, though not detailed, to the
patriarch when he was 99 years old, just after God made a
covenant with him and changed his name: "I will make you
exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and
kings shall come from you" (Genesis 17:6; emphasis ours
God later repeats this promise of
royal offspring to Abraham's grandson, Jacob (Genesis 35:11).
His prophecy through Jacob to his sons also predicts a coming
King, saying of Judah, "The scepter shall not depart from
Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh
comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people"
(Genesis 49:10). Centuries later, He inspires Balaam to
prophesy: "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near;
a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of
Israel. .. . Out of Jacob One shall have dominion" (Numbers
Other prophets also foretold of a
coming King, not just of Israel and Judah, but also extending
to the entire world. Isaiah tells us:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us
a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of peace. Of the increase of His
government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of
David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with
judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The
zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Similarly, Jeremiah writes,
"Behold, the days are coming," says
the LORD, "That I will raise to David a Branch of
righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute
judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah
will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His
name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The prophet Micah foretells the
Messiah coming out of Bethlehem, who would be "the One to be
ruler in Israel "—but also "He shall be great to the ends of
the earth" (Micah 5:2-4).
It is easy to understand why, when
Christ came proclaiming the "Kingdom of God," the people of
Jesus' day—including His disciples—were expecting the Messiah
to be a conquering hero (Acts 1:6). They were familiar with
the Psalms and other prophecies that described the Savior as a
"King of glory ... strong and mighty", even "mighty in battle"
(Psalm 24:7-10), who would "command victories for Jacob"
(Psalm 44:4). They knew that one of the coming King's titles
was "the LORD of hosts," meaning armies (Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah
48:15; 51:57). When the people witnessed Jesus entering
Jerusalem on a donkey (Matthew 21:2-9), they recognized it as
a fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to
you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a
donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.
However, they thought that the next
verse would also be fulfilled at that time, yet it remains
unfulfilled even today:
I will cut off the chariot from
Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; the battle bow shall be
cut off. He shall speak peace to the nations; His dominion
shall be 'from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of
the earth.' (Zechariah 9:10)
This same King, the "First and the
Last" (Isaiah 44:6; Revelation 1:11, 17; 2:8; 22:13), who
entered Jerusalem on a donkey two millennia ago, will shortly
fulfill this prophecy by establishing His Kingdom on earth
(see also Zechariah 14:9). Jesus Christ has already fulfilled
parts of these prophecies because He is a King (Matthew 2:2-7;
21:4-5; 27:11; Luke 1:30-33; John 12:13-16; 18:36-37; Acts 17:7).
However, when He came to earth the
first time, He fulfilled the role of a messenger rather than
as a ruler (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 11:10; John 6:15). He came to
deliver the good news about His coming Kingdom, but that
Kingdom will not be established on earth until His return when
"all nations shall come and worship before [Him]," their King
A dominant falsehood that Satan
has foisted on mankind is the belief that one's soul goes to
heaven after death. Many people assume that the phrase Kingdom
of God is synonymous with heaven, but the Bible teaches that
when Jesus Christ returns, the Kingdom of God will be
established on earth!
First, notice how the Bible
completely refutes the notion of "going to heaven" after
death. Peter tells the crowd on the day of Pentecost, "Men and
brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David,
that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to
this day.. .. For David did not ascend into the heavens" (Acts
2:29, 34). This "man after God's own heart" is not in heaven,
but still in the grave! Our Savior confirms this in John 3:13:
"No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from
heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven."
The dead saints of the Old and New
Testaments alike are sleeping in their graves, awaiting the
resurrection—without consciousness (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). Job
describes waiting for the resurrection in this way: "If a man
dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I
will wait, till my change comes. You shall call, and I will
answer You. . ." (Job 14:14-15).
Many verses refer to the dead as
"sleeping," and this analogy comes from the fact that when a
person sleeps deeply, many unaccounted hours may pass.
Likewise, during the time we are dead, we will have no
consciousness, no awareness. Many years may elapse between the
time that we die and our resurrection, but we will not be
aware of the passing of time. It will be as if we blinked, and
then are alive again. Thus, from the point of view of
consciousness, it will seem like we have gone from the
physical body to the spiritual immediately, despite perhaps
many years separating death and resurrection.
Paul teaches in I Corinthians 15 that
the resurrection does not occur until Jesus Christ returns—at
which point the "dead in Christ" will be resurrected with
spiritual bodies, and the living saints will be changed to
spirit "in the twinkling of an eye" (verse 52). If the saints
were to go to heaven automatically after death, what need
would there be for a resurrection? In verse 53, Paul even says
that the "mortal" will have to "put on immortality," meaning
we do not now have it (see also Romans 2:7). Only God has
immortality now (I Timothy 6:15-16).
In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5, Jesus
says that the poor in spirit receive the "kingdom of heaven,"
while the meek "inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:3, 5; see also
Psalm 37:11). Will God divide the "poor in spirit" saints from
the "meek" saints, sending them to different places? If a
saint is both meek and poor in spirit, will he inherit both
heaven and earth? No—this apparent conundrum dissolves when we
realize that Matthew uses the phrase "kingdom of heaven,"
whereas the other gospel writers refer to the "kingdom of
God." Obviously, the "kingdom of God" does not mean that the
Kingdom is located in God, but that it belongs to God. In the
same way, the "kingdom of heaven" simply means that the
Kingdom is owned by "heaven," where God's throne is. The poor
in spirit will inherit the same Kingdom that the meek will—and
that Kingdom will be set up on earth.
Galatians 3:29 says that if we belong
to Christ, then we are considered to be Abraham's seed, and
thus heirs (though not yet inheritors) of the promises to him.
Whatever Abraham inherits in the resurrection, we also will
inherit. Genesis 13:15 says that the inheritance is eternal,
and Romans 4:13 explains that the promise is expanded to
include the whole world. "Heaven," though, was not a part of
the promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or to us.
The Bible shows that the Kingdom of
God will be set up on the earth: "And You have made them a
kingdom (royal race) and priests to our God, and they shall
reign on the earth!" (Revelation 5:10, The Amplified Bible).
Notice Revelation 11:15 as well, which prophesies that
Christ's Kingdom will take over the kingdoms of this earth:
Then the seventh angel sounded: And
there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of
this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His
Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
Three times in the book of
Revelation, the apostle John describes the "holy city," New
Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, rather than being in
heaven (Revelation 3:12; 21:2, 10). New Jerusalem will be set
up on the new—cleansed and purified—earth. God Himself will
dwell with men—not in heaven but in New Jerusalem on earth:
And I saw a new heaven and a new
earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed
away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy
city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a
loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God
is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be
His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall
be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no
more pain, for the former things have passed away. ... He who
overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and
he shall be My son." (Revelation 21:1-4, 7)
Many centuries of pagan tradition
have convinced people that heaven is their "home" and their
reward when they die. Nevertheless, the biblical record is
plain: God's Kingdom will be established on the earth He
created, and it will be an everlasting Kingdom. (For more
examples of the Kingdom being established on earth, see Psalm
2:6-8; 47:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5; Ezekiel 37:21-28; Daniel
2:44-45; 7:17-18, 27; Micah 4:1-5; Zechariah 9:9-10; 14:9,
16-17; Revelation 2:26-27.)
We have already seen a handful of
prophecies about the coming King of kings. Over whom will He
rule? At the time of Jesus' birth, "wise men from the East"
came seeking the "King of the Jews" (Matthew 2:1-2). Pontius
Pilate likewise asked Jesus if He were the "King of the Jews,"
and He assented (Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John
18:33, 37). But will Christ's authority be limited to the
tribes of Judah and Benjamin—commonly called "Jews" today—when
The Bible shows that the coming
Kingdom will encompass more than just the Jews—more than even
all of Israel. As mentioned previously, the coming King will
be given "the nations for [His] inheritance, and the ends of
the earth for [His] possession" (Psalm 2:8). Psalm 22:27-28
likewise prophesies, "All the ends of the world shall remember
and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations
shall worship before [Him]. For the kingdom is the LORD's, and
He rules over the nations" (emphasis ours).
Even though the entire world will be
ruled by Jesus Christ when He establishes the Kingdom on
earth, not everyone on earth will be a citizen of that
Kingdom. Everyone will be subject to the King of kings, but
not everyone will have entered into that spiritual Kingdom.
Jesus revealed this truth to
Nicodemus. When Nicodemus came to Him at night, Jesus told
him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again,
he cannot see the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3). Paul told the
Corinthians "flesh and blood [mortal humans] cannot inherit
the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption"
(I Corinthians 15:50). While we have a physical,
flesh-and-blood body, we may be heirs of the Kingdom, but we
cannot enter fully into the Kingdom, nor can we see it, until
we become spirit—given a glorious spirit-composed body in the
resurrection. This means that, even though all of mankind will
be subject to the Kingdom that Christ will rule on earth, they
will not necessarily be a part of it.
Jesus tells Nicodemus that we are
born "of the flesh"—through the natural process of human
birth—and thus we are flesh (John 3:5-8). But it is possible
to be "born of spirit," and thus able to come under the rule
of the Kingdom. Thus, one is "born again"—or perhaps more
correctly, "born from above"—immediately upon accepting the
blood of Jesus Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit. At that
point, one becomes a "new creation" (II Corinthians 5:17;
Galatians 6:15) or "a new man" (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians
3:10). Christ gives a simple illustration to show that an
individual is may be "born again" despite still being a
physical human being:
Do not marvel that I said to you,
"You must be born again." The wind blows where it wishes, and
you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from
and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
Wind, composed of air, is invisible
to the eye. When the wind blows, a person can see, not the
wind, but its effects. He cannot see the wind moving, but the
objects that it moves are readily observed. This illustrates
one who is born of the Spirit—they are not composed of spirit
themselves, not having been glorified, but one can see how the
Spirit has worked in them to change them: They change from
sinners to righteous, from mean to kind, from proud to humble, etc.
The apostle Paul makes it clear in
his letter to the Corinthians that physical flesh and blood
cannot inherit, or fully enter into, the Kingdom of God (I
Corinthians 15:50-54). However, through the resurrection of
those begotten by the Holy Spirit of God during this physical
life, the mortal life then puts on immortality, and we become
immortal, incorruptible, and enter fully into the very God
Family—the Kingdom of God. It is only our spiritual birth that
takes place when we receive God's Spirit. Our
glorification—analogous to full spiritual maturity—does not
take place until after we are resurrected. Just as the
resurrection from the dead will not take place until Jesus
Christ returns (I Corinthians 15:51-52; see Matthew 24:31; I
Thessalonians 4:16-17), so inheriting the Kingdom will not
happen until after He returns and judges the peoples of the earth:
When the Son of Man comes in His
glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on
the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered
before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a
shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the
sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the
King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed
of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:31-34)
The Kingdom of God, then, will be
ruled by Jesus Christ, and will be inherited by those who have
been glorified upon being resurrected from the dead. The
resurrected saints—citizens of God's Kingdom—will rule along
with Jesus Christ over the remaining peoples of the earth
(Daniel 7:27; II Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-28; 5:9-10;
A kingdom—like any nation
today—cannot function without laws. There must be a standard
of conduct for subjects and citizens to follow, or chaos and
anarchy would result. Following the laws of a kingdom or
nation does not grant a person citizenship—that is not the
purpose of law. Law is simply a guide for people to follow to
ensure cohesion, agreement, and peace in civil and
interpersonal relationships. Without an understood standard,
enforced by a sovereign ruler, everyone would act according to
his own whim or desire, and nothing good or worthwhile would
be produced (Judges 21:25).
The Kingdom of God is no different.
God is not the author of confusion (I Corinthians 14:33). His
Kingdom will be peaceful and orderly because everyone who will
enter into it will have voluntarily submitted himself to the
law—the commandments—of God. God will not have anyone in His
Kingdom who demonstrates, by the pattern of his life, that he
will not obey Him (Matthew 7:21-23; Hebrews 10:26-31).
Revelation 12:17 describes the saints as those "who keep the
commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
A Pharisee once asked Jesus,
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" (Matthew
22:36). His response shows that the intent behind God's law is
love—love toward God, and love toward fellow man:
Jesus said to him, "'You shall love
the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and
with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as
yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the
prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
These two statements—loving God and
loving neighbor as oneself—encapsulate the first four and the
last six commandments respectively. The commandments merely
define further how to love God and love man. We love God in
general by placing Him first, by not adopting physical aids in
worshipping Him, by not bearing His name in vain, and by
keeping the seventh-day Sabbath holy. We love man, in general,
by honoring our parents, not murdering, not committing
adultery, not stealing, not lying, and not coveting.
When Jesus Christ came, He revealed
the spirit—the intent—of His law. He showed that the sixth
commandment extends much further than merely prohibiting the
taking of human life, but covers even hating (Matthew
5:21-22). Similarly, the intent behind the seventh commandment
is to stop adultery at its source: the heart (Matthew
5:27-28). Following God's commandments in both their letter
and spirit ensures the best quality of life for everyone.
When Jesus was asked what one must do
to have eternal life, His response was simple: "If you want to
enter into [eternal] life, keep the commandments" (Matthew
19:17). To reinforce this, in His last words to the disciples
before His arrest and crucifixion, He had much to say about
keeping God's commandments. He was giving them (and us)
instruction that would not be absolved by His death:
"If you love Me, keep My
commandments." (John 14:15)
"He who has My commandments and keeps
them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved
by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My
word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and
make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep
My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the
Father's who sent Me." (verses 23-24)
The apostle James calls the ten
commandments "the royal law"—meaning that it came from a King,
and is worthy of His Kingdom:
If you really fulfill the royal law
according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as
yourself," you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit
sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For
whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one
point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, "Do not commit
adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not
commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a
transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will
be judged by the law of liberty. (James 2:8-12, emphasis ours)
While a man cannot earn entrance into
God's Kingdom—that is a gift that God must bestow (Ephesians
2:8)—it is plain from Scripture that willful rebellion against
God's standard of righteousness will keep a man out of the Kingdom:
Now the works of the flesh are
evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions,
jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions,
dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries,
and the like; of which I tell you. .. that those who practice
such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
I Corinthians 6:9-10 includes
homosexuals (catamites), sodomites, thieves, coveters, and
extortionists in the list of those who will be barred from
entering the Kingdom of God. Revelation 21:8 mentions that the
cowardly, the unbelieving, and the abominable will not live
eternally. Revelation 22:15 adds "whoever loves and practices
a lie." These examples show that there is a standard of
conduct by which God expects the heirs to His Kingdom to live.
After all, eternal life is more than just length of
days—living forever would be a terrible curse if there were
not also quality of life to match it.
Our Savior tells us what He means by
eternal life: "And this is eternal life, that they may know
You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent"
(John 17:3). He defines eternal life as "to know God." "Know"
suggests a close intimacy, just as a husband and wife are
intimate in marriage (Genesis 4:1). It indicates experiential
knowledge, not theoretical. In Amos 5:4, God exclaims, "Seek
Me and live!" He is saying, "Turn to Me and My way of life;
seek to know Me," not "Search for Me." He is saying, "Seek to
know Me by living the same way I do." That is how experiential
knowledge of Him becomes an intimate knowing of Him. We know
Him, in large part, by living the same law of love that He
Jesus' words in Mark 1:15 come in the
form of an urgent command: "The time is fulfilled, and the
Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
Not only does Christ come to announce the soon-coming Kingdom
of God, in particular to those whom God calls (John 6:44), but
also to prepare the elect for their spiritual responsibilities
now and in the Kingdom. Notice, though, that this emphasis on
repentance does not end with Christ's death. After His
resurrection from the dead, but before His ascension to the
Father, He tells His disciples:
Thus it is written, and thus it was
necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead
the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at
Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)
Notice that following repentance is
the remission of sins, which baptism signifies, being a
symbolic dying to sin and resurrection to a new life (Romans
6:1-12). This is why on Pentecost, AD 31, Peter instructs the
assembled crowd, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you
shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).
Likewise, Paul teaches the men of Athens:
Truly, these times of ignorance God
overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the
world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has
given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
(Acts 17:30-31; emphasis ours)
Repentance is a prerequisite to
belief. What is repentance? Its basic meaning is "to change"
or "to turn." Once a person hears the gospel and is convicted
that his way of life is wrong, he must change his present
behavior and "bear fruits worthy of repentance" (Matthew 3:8).
Repentance is not merely feeling sorry or remorseful, but
being so stricken in one's heart that one seeks the cleansing
of baptism and begins to live according to God's
standards—according to God's law. Remorse without a
corresponding change in conduct is not repentance!
The fruits of repentance are visible
actions—often called "works"—that show that a person has
indeed changed. When John the Baptist preached repentance to
prepare the way for Jesus' ministry, his audience asked him
what they should do to repent. He answers: Clothe the naked,
feed the hungry, do not steal, do not use one's authority to
oppress, do not lie or accuse falsely, and be content with
one's wages (Luke 3:10-14). In general, these actions are
either obeying God's laws or showing love for one's neighbor.
Jesus says, "If you want to enter
into [eternal] life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17).
Later, when requested to name the greatest commandments, Jesus
answers, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your
heart. . . .' And the second is like it: 'You shall love your
neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:36-40). When we put all
these things together, bearing fruits worthy of repentance is
simply living as God does!
Believing the gospel is closely
related to having faith. When one believes something, he has
faith, trust, and confidence that it is true. This confidence
leads him to begin to act in accordance with what he believes,
and the result is obedience to it or following it. Notice how
the apostle Paul shows this in Romans 10:8-10:
But what does [Scripture] say? "The
word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart" (that
is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess
with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that
God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with
the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth
confession is made to salvation.
Verse 10 provides the balance to
verse 9. It is not enough just to confess Jesus verbally and
believe in the resurrection as an intellectual exercise. Paul
explains that heartfelt belief leads to righteousness, which
is simply right doing or godly behavior (Psalm 119:172).
Faith, then—living faith (II Corinthians 5:7)—is trusting
God's Word and practicing it, whether in the face of hardship,
sacrifice, the contrary opinions of friends and family, or
even death. The author of Hebrews commends the "Heroes of
Faith" to us for just these reasons (Hebrews 11).
Thus, Jesus' urgent command for us to
repent and believe the gospel provides us with the negative
and positive sides of a single, godly action. He tells us to
rid ourselves of the evil we have been doing ("repent and . .
. be baptized") and to begin doing what God expects of those
to whom He has revealed His way of life ("believe"). This will
lead to righteousness and salvation and—God promises!—entrance
into His Kingdom (II Peter 1:2-11).
The carnal man is typically
concerned only with forgiveness and with not having to pay the
cost of his actions. There is little, if any, contemplation of
what happens after forgiveness—or why God gives forgiveness in
the first place. For its true significance to be understood,
Jesus Christ's death must be seen within the context of all
that God is working out. God is in the process of
accomplishing much more than merely "saving" mankind or
forgiving its sins!
God determined, even before Adam
sinned and this present evil world was founded, that Christ,
the Lamb of God, would have to be sacrificed for the sins of
mankind (I Peter 1:17-21; Revelation 13:8). The present order
of mankind rebelling against God was begun when Adam sinned in
the garden of Eden and was subsequently banished. The
relationship with God was severed; man had no access to Him
and eternal life, represented by the Tree of Life:
Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the
man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now,
lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life,
and eat, and live forever"—therefore the LORD God sent him out
of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was
taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the
east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned
every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:22-24)
God knew what would happen if He
allowed these now-tainted human beings to take of the Tree of
Life also—they would live eternally, but because of their
corrupt state, they would be eternally miserable. They would
become like Satan and the demons—in a miserable condition
because of sin, yet not able to die. Therefore, God expelled
Adam and Eve from the Garden, placing a flaming sword in the
path to guard the way back to the Tree of Life. Mankind was
cut off from God.
Two cannot walk together unless they
are in agreement (Amos 3:3), and when Adam sinned he plotted
the course for all who would follow after him—a course that
had some good but also some evil. Humanity would walk a path
that ultimately could only end in death, one that was
definitely not in alignment with the life of the Eternal God.
The prophet Isaiah explains this division that sin—the
transgression of God's law (I John 3:4)—causes:
Behold, the LORD's hand is not
shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it
cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your
God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He
will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2; emphasis ours)
Romans 6:23 explains how far sin
separates man from his Creator: "For the wages of sin is
death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Lord." Sin, being the opposite of all God stands for, causes
the bitter harvest of death to be reaped. Yet, even though He
is under absolutely no obligation to do so, God gives the gift
of eternal life to pay the debt that every man incurs: the
debt of his own, sinful life.
Most people believe that "eternal
life" means "living forever." However, length of life is only
one aspect of eternal life. Satan and the demons will live
forever, but their quality of life is the farthest thing from
desirable! They do not have quality of life, because they are
in constant disagreement with God—the source of eternal life!
Paul tells us in Romans 6:23 that
God's gift is eternal life, and in John 17:3, Jesus defines
that gift further: "And this is eternal life, that they may
know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have
sent." God's gift, then, is a life wherein a person
knows—understands, has experience with—the Father and the Son.
The gift is a life that not only stretches on forever, but
also has a spiritual quality that makes such length of days
desirable! That eternal quality—that perfection in living—has
its only source in God, and a relationship with that supreme
Source is only possible when man's sins, the cause of the
great gulf between man and God, are atoned for. For this
reason, God sent His Son to pay the debt of mankind's sins, so
that man might know the Father and the Son in an intimate
relationship, and be able to live life as They live.
But to what end? Why is God doing
this? The gospel of John begins the explanation:
He came to His own, and His own did
not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave
the right [power; authority] to become children of God, to
those who believe in His name: who were born [begotten], not
of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of
man, but of God. (John 1:11-13)
With the true acceptance of Jesus
Christ—that is, receiving not only His sacrifice but also all
of His teachings—come the power and authority to become a
child of God! The eternal life that God gives as a gift is
within the context of a family relationship. God plainly shows
it is His purpose to increase His divine Family by bringing
many children into it (Hebrews 2:10). Jesus Christ is actually
the "firstborn" of many sons of God (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:18).
the gospel Jesus brought to mankind
is the "good news" of the Kingdom of God—and that Kingdom is
dual. It is not only the ruling government that Christ will
establish on earth when He returns, but it is also the Family
of God—the God Kingdom composed of the spirit members of the
God Family. Jesus taught that humans can be "born" into the
Family, or Kingdom, of God (John 3:3-8).
There are only two full members in
the God Family or Kingdom at the present time—God the Father
and Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son. Spirit-begotten
Christians are likewise a part of that Family, just as a fetus
is a part of a human family, but they will not be born into
the Family of God until they are likewise composed of spirit,
through being resurrected (or changed, if they are still alive
when Jesus Christ returns to establish His Kingdom on earth;
see I Corinthians 15:50-52; I Thessalonians 4:14-17).
This, then, is why God has provided a
way for the separation between Himself and man to be removed
through the atoning sacrifice of His firstborn Son. God is
creating man in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). The
death penalty incurred by the sins of mankind had to be paid
to make possible God's great purpose of bringing many sons to
glory. Without the removal of the defilement of sin, God the
Father could not walk in agreement with His as-yet-unborn children.
What many people have accepted
without question as the gospel offers no solution to
humanity's sufferings, frustrations, and perpetual troubles.
The true gospel Jesus brought proclaims the solution to the
world's troubles, but men rejected that gospel and crucified
Jesus for preaching it!
Millions of people today believe on
Christ—they believe that He lived, died for our sins, and was
resurrected—but they do not believe His gospel because most
have never heard it! They have heard of Christ—of what He
did—but not His message of how to solve all of mankind's
troubles and how to receive eternal life with joy, abundance,
and accomplishment. Thus, millions have been deceived into
believing a false gospel that does not lead to salvation.
The evangelist Mark begins his
recounting of Jesus' ministry with these words:
Now after John was put in prison,
Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of
God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of
God is at hand. repent, and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)
Gospel in English derives from
godspel, meaning "good news." Similarly, in the Greek in which
Mark wrote, evangelion means "good tidings."
Why is the announcement of God's
Kingdom being established on earth "good news"? As strange as
it may seem, for many people this is not good news at all!
People like the gospel when it is limited to the forgiveness
that is available through Christ's sacrifice. However, when
they hear that God's Kingdom includes obedience to His
standard of conduct, they cannot tolerate it, preferring the
pagan fantasy of easy grace and its self-indulgent reward of
floating around heaven in eternal idleness to the truth of the
Bible. For many, the true gospel is anathema because it
contradicts them, their traditions, and their ideas.
Yet, to those who "have an ear to
hear," the gospel is good news. Christ's gospel is the
proclamation of the coming government of God to govern all
nations. The establishment of God's rule is the only way
today's confused, embattled earth will ever have peace, joy,
and abundance. The true gospel is the powerful message of
God's government, now over individuals in God's church who
voluntarily submit to that government, then later over all
nations at His return.
Mankind's history is a sordid record
of destruction, corruption, oppression, immorality, and abuse.
"The way of peace they have not known," Paul tells us, quoting
the prophet Isaiah (Romans 3:17; Isaiah 59:8). God says
through Jeremiah, "The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). We
simply do not have it within us to build a society that is
benevolent to all its members and will last for more than a
few generations. Even though there have been times of relative
peace and prosperity, they are inevitably interrupted by war
and destruction. Rather than "evolving" to a better place, the
Bible shows mankind's plight getting continually worse:
For then there will be great
tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the
world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those
days were shortened, no flesh would be saved [alive]; but for
the elect's sake those days will be shortened. (Matthew
24:21-22; emphasis ours)
In the years following World War II,
mankind has developed the capacity to wipe all life off the
planet. God will allow events and conditions to progress to
the point that we will be forced to admit that we are not
capable of living peacefully and in abundance. If God did not
intervene in world affairs, this world would cease to exist!
But God will intervene—although not before we recognize the
bloody futility of man attempting to govern himself. God's
solution is to establish a world-ruling government led, not by
selfish, corruptible men, but by His own Son and the glorified saints.
The prophet Daniel. given a vision of
the end of man's rule on the earth and the beginning of God's
I was watching in the night visions,
and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of
heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him
near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and
a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should
serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which
shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not
be destroyed. ... Then the kingdom and dominion, and the
greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be
given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom
is an everlasting kingdom, And all dominions shall serve and
obey Him. (Daniel 7:13-14, 27)
The perfect government headed by God
Himself, with just laws, benevolently looking out for all of
its subjects to produce unprecedented prosperity and
abundance—what could be better news than that?
Maybe the most amazing fact
gleaned from Christian history appears in Galatians 1:6: "I
marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called
you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel." When the
apostle Paul penned this epistle in the early AD 50s, only two
decades had passed since the death and resurrection of Christ
and the founding of the church. It took only twenty years
before someone perverted the gospel into something so
different that it was no longer "good news" (verse 7)!
Paul continues in verses 11-12: "But
I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was
preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received
it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the
revelation of Jesus Christ." The glad tidings Jesus, Paul, and
the other apostles proclaimed throughout the world is
revealed—that is, it comes from God and can be learned only
through supernatural disclosure (Romans 16:25-26; I
Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 1:26).
The true gospel message, then, is not
readily available to all. In fact, a person cannot even pick
up the Bible and find it there! One cannot stumble over or
happen upon it. God must open one's mind to receive it (I
Corinthians 2:7-16), "because the carnal mind is enmity
against God" (Romans 8:7). Jesus says that He designed even
His parables—seemingly simple stories with obvious lessons—to
hide meaning rather than reveal it (Matthew 13:10-17)!
In the first century, the apostles
battled two pernicious false gospels: legalism and Gnosticism.
Legalism—the improper use of law—grew primarily out of
Judaism, holding that justification and salvation came through
works of the law rather than by grace. Paul preached against
this deception repeatedly (see, for example, Galatians 5:1-6;
Ephesians 2:8-10, etc.), affirming that salvation is by grace,
though good works form a necessary part of Christian growth
and are indeed what God is working with us to accomplish.
Gnosticism consists of a whole group
of heresies, all with the central ideas that knowledge
(gnosis) is the means to salvation, and that spirit is good
and flesh is evil. In practice, it soon devolved into the
extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as peculiar ideas
about the nature of God and Christ (see Colossians 2:8, 18,
20-23; II Peter 2:4-22; I John 1:5-10; 2:18-23; etc.).
Eventually, Gnostic ideas came to dominate "Christianity," and
its modern descendants are proclaimed far and wide every Sunday.
The most pervasive false gospel today
is also quite deceptive: the gospel about Christ. Churches
that preach this gospel teach about the Messenger rather than
the message He brought. Certainly, we are to study Christ's
life, for He is our example of Christian living (I Peter 2:21;
I John 2:6, etc.). However, when He preached the gospel, He
did not trumpet His own virtues but revealed the way to the
Kingdom of God.
In commissioning His disciples, He
says: "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven
is at hand.' Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the
dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give"
(Matthew 10:7-8). Nowhere does He tell them to "preach Jesus";
His concern is always in proclaiming God's Kingdom! He never
said, "Preach Me!" Before His ascension, He tells them "that
repentance and remission of sins should be preached in [My]
name to all nations" (Luke 24:47). He was so fixated on
preaching the gospel of the Kingdom—and ensuring that His
disciples understood it before He sent them out to preach
it—that it filled His conversation during His
post-resurrection appearances to them (Acts 1:3).
What gospel we learn is vitally
important! We need to be sure that the one we learn is the
true gospel Christ brought, the revelation of the imminent
Kingdom of God. Paul's warning about false gospels should give
us the proper perspective: "But even if we, or an angel from
heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have
preached to you, let him be accursed!" (Galatians 1:8).
The "good news" that Jesus Christ
brought has tremendous effectiveness in the lives of its
hearers—if they believe it. Throughout the New Testament, the
gospel is associated with power:
For I will not dare to speak of any
of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me,
in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—in mighty
signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that
from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully
preached the gospel of Christ. (Romans 15:18-19; emphasis ours
For the message of the cross is foolishness to
those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is
the power of God. (I Corinthians 1:18)
And my speech and my
preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but
in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith
should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (I
But I will come to you shortly, if the
Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are
puffed up, but the power. For the Kingdom of God is not in
word but in power. (I Corinthians 4:19-20)
For our gospel
did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in
the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind
of men we were among you for your sake. (I Thessalonians
Moreover, in writing to the established congregation
in Rome, Paul directly identifies the gospel as "the power of
God to salvation":
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of
Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone
who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in
it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;
as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:16-17)
Notice, though, the qualifier that
Paul attaches: "for everyone who believes." Simply hearing the
basic announcement of the coming Kingdom of God on earth will
not accomplish anything. Merely reading God's instruction
manual for mankind—the Bible—serves no purpose if it is not believed.
What is the proof of belief? It is
far more than just mental agreement, but rather agreement
along with carrying out requirements that show whom one
trusts. Those who believe will provide evidence that God is
continuing to work in them. They will change, that is, repent.
Good works will be the evidence (James 2:20, 22, 26). A person
who truly believes the gospel will be motivated to change his
or her life to fit the purpose God is working out, and to be
in alignment with His government.
As Romans 1:16 says, the gospel is so
powerful that it has the authority and the means to bring us
to salvation. Through the gospel, God exercises His power to
save men. It is a potent means by which God teaches,
motivates, and creates salvation in a believer. This power is
available, however, only to those who exercise trust in those
words. The "good news" is composed of words—words that carry
in them the power to move our lives toward salvation if we
believe them enough to unleash their power by putting them in
practice. Words are spirit (John 6:63), and they impel us in
the direction of their meaning if we choose to submit to them.
The gospel is not a passive force, latently waiting to use its
power, but it is constantly working toward the fulfillment of
God's purpose. As soon as we hear or read it, it begins to
work—if we believe.
What, then, is contained in the
gospel? Verse 17 makes it clear: God, in the gospel, reveals
His righteousness. What is righteousness? It is an Old English
term that means "right-wise-ness"—essentially, "doing what is
right." Psalm 119:172 gives its definition, "For all Your
commands [all of God's instructions] are righteousness."
Righteousness is God's way of life—the way He lives and the
way He desires His creation to live. Verse 17 could be
paraphrased, "For in the gospel, God's way of life is
revealed." Put simply, the gospel message includes everything
we need to know to live God's way of life—to live as God does.
The gospel is God's means for
bringing us to salvation—not merely for forgiving our sins. It
is not only the announcement of the Kingdom of God, but also
the process by which we can enter God's Kingdom. But this does
not happen all at once—it is a lifelong educational process.
The gospel is God's system of impressing upon us where we are
headed and how we should live so we will reach His goal. His
message of "good news" has tremendous power to motivate us and
propel us in right direction—if we truly believe.
Near the beginning of the Olivet
Prophecy, Jesus Christ foretells that the good news of the
coming Kingdom of God will be preached to the entire world:
And this gospel of the kingdom will
be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations,
and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
This verse is not a commission to
anyone in particular—neither to the first-century apostles,
nor anyone else. Jesus simply makes a statement of fact,
prophesying that the entire world will hear the gospel
preached as a witness and then God will act to bring about the
end of this present age of man. Precisely how He will
accomplish this He does not specify.
However, Christ does give His
disciples a commission—and through them, His church:
Go therefore and make disciples of
all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe
all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20;
emphasis ours throughout)
Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20
are not synonymous. In the latter verses, though preaching as
a witness is included within the scope of the commission, it
actually places more emphasis on the entire process of
conversion, feeding, growing, and overcoming than merely
witnessing, as in Matthew 24:14.
The term "make disciples" in Matthew
28:19 holds the key to this understanding. "Teach," as it is
rendered in the King James Version, is not a wrong
translation, as long as we understand that it implies a
process. Not all of the teaching required to make a disciple
can occur just in making a witness to him. There are major
differences between the witnessing and making disciples. At
best, preaching the gospel to the world begins the process of
making disciples. Disciples are created through steady
spiritual feeding and a believing response in those who hear,
which includes overcoming their sins.
A second factor appears in verse 20:
"Observe allthings that I have commanded you." Observing "all
things" cannot be done merely through making a witness.
Observing all things is a lifelong project requiring the
structure and nurture of a church. This is why the church of
God exists (see Ephesians 4:11-16).
In verses 19-20, though witnessing is
included, Jesus is primarily emphasizing the feeding of the
flock (John 21:15-17), for it is the called, the elect—God's
children —who are His greatest concern. These special
called-out ones are being prepared to inherit the Kingdom of
God. It takes a great deal of feeding and experience with God
for Christ to be formed in us (Romans 8:29; II Corinthians 3:18).
The gospel message, then, is more
than just an announcement, or a basic truth to be impressed
upon unbelievers. It is just as applicable to the converted
church member—almost certainly more so. In Paul's letter to
the Romans, he commends the congregation at Rome because their
"faith is spoken of throughout the whole world" (Romans 1:8).
The congregation was already established and apparently
thriving. Yet Paul says, "So, as much as is in me, I am ready
to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also" (Romans 1:15).
Why did Paul want to preach to
them—for them to be converted? No, but to continue the process
of conversion. How did he plan to do this? He was going to
preach the gospel to them! He desired to preach it to people
who were already converted—in fact, to those who were already
so well-established in the faith that others had already heard
of their remarkable devotion to God. Yet, even though they had
already exhibited outstanding Christian faith, he nonetheless
wanted to preach the gospel to them. This shows that it is the
responsibility of the ministry—apostles, evangelists, pastors,
and elders—to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God
continually to the church.
The apostle Paul is referring to
"feeding the flock" and preaching "the whole counsel of God"
(Acts 20:27) in minute detail. The gospel—the Word of God,
when we understand it in its broadest sense—includes the
entirety of the Bible. God's focus is on preparing His
children to share a relationship with Him for all eternity. He
requires that everyone who enters His Kingdom to be in His
image (Genesis 1:26) and to live exactly as He does. To
achieve this goal, He requires his ministers to expand
infinitely on the bare basics that bring a person to
conversion. God wants each of His children to see the
application of His way in every possible situation in life.
God's message is called "the gospel
of the Kingdom of God" because that is the goal that He wants
us always to focus on. He wants it to come immediately to mind
that we are headed toward His Kingdom. We not only have to
know that it is coming, but also what we must do to prepare
ourselves for it. God calls it by what it ends with, what it
will produce—the aim, the result.
However, it also includes all the
preparatory material that we need to get there, as well as any
other information that may be helpful or provide background to
those instructions. "The gospel of the Kingdom of God" is a
huge umbrella, under which stands a massive amount of
teaching. Each piece of knowledge contained in the gospel
ultimately feeds into this central truth: that humanity can
have salvation by being born into God's Family—His
Kingdom—through the resurrection from the dead.
The gospel message includes topics
like the nature of God, the fruit of the spirit, the
Beatitudes, law and grace, loyalty and devotion to God, and
other foundational topics. It contains the promises made to
Abraham, the history of Israel, and the prophecies. It
includes the creation and God's sovereignty, providence, and
intervention in its affairs. The gospel includes everything
that is necessary to call, teach, correct, and motivate an
individual so that he can be saved and inherit the Kingdom.
The true gospel is the complete revelation of God to man. It
includes everything contained in the Bible.
This is the good news!
From the Desk of Bishop Paul E Jones