The Gospel Of The Kingdom
There probably has not been a greater controversy among Christians today than the message of the gospel. Preachers (myself included) and Christians (depending on who they listen to and are taught by) are constantly at odds with others over what is the message of the gospel. So my intention in this article is to clear some things up. My precedence is this: I don’t care what someone writes or preaches, what did Jesus say, what did the disciples that Jesus taught say and what does the New Testament teach?
The message that Jesus taught was the gospel or the good news of the kingdom. In essence, Jesus taught Himself to be the long awaited Messiah, the cure all and end all of Man’s shortcomings (sins) and means to attaining a relationship with God the Father. His message was Luke 4:18-19, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Repentance means a change of mind that produces an action. For the people Jesus came to minister unto, they had to change their minds from trying to be good enough to keep the law and depend solely on Him as their means of salvation. Jesus did not come to preach the law, nor did he attack peoples’ personal sins. As a matter of fact, He superceded the law and forgave peoples’ sins before they even repented of them. John 16:7, He said there was only one sin that the Holy Spirit came to convict people of and that was of unbelief, not believing on Him. Paul said the same thing in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that God was in Christ not imputing their trespasses against them, but had reconciled the world unto Himself.
In Acts, after the resurrection, the message preached was the resurrection of Christ. Once again, they did not go and point peoples’ sins out to them, but preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Please, if I am in error, come and show me. Don’t give me somebody’s book or tape, but show me the Word of God what was the repentance required? Turn to Christ, from your ways to God’s ways, to believe the resurrection.
The message of the epistles is clear. We are in a covenant of grace. The law is no more. I believe that people should live holy lives and not practice sin. But the remedy is knowing that we are made holy by the New Birth in Christ and that where sin abounds grace does much more abound.
Those that attack the New Creation and grace teaching have majored in sin. Once a person is born-again (apart from their sins) they need to be taught who they are in Christ and be empowered with the finished work of Jesus by the truth of the Word and the person of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 6 and Galatians 5, Paul is describing sinners and their deeds of the flesh. He says, “And such were some of you, but you are washed, you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” My focus is on Jesus, on His finished work, on the New Creation and on the grace of God that has empowered me to live above sin. What about you?