Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Are many Ministries preaching a truncated gospel?

To many Fundamentalist Churches, Evangelical Churches and many Campus Ministries, this is how they lay out the Gospel.

1) acknowledge that we are all sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
2.)recognize that only God can save us.
3.) acknowledge Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and to bring us to God.
4.) the final step is that each individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior to be saved.”

But is this the entire Gospel or is there a little more to it?
Saint Mark begins his account of our Lord's life: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ". (Mk 1:1). "Gospel" means literally "good news." The first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark , Luke, and John) are called gospels because they announce the "good news of great joy" (Lk 2:10)- the coming of a Savior. God himself in the flesh.

But what exactly is the substance of this "good news" that must be preached?

St. Peter's first sermon, which is preached on the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:22-40), summarizes Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. Then he instructs his hearers: Repent, and be baptized… for the forgiveness of your sins" (2:38).

In this address the notion of "faith alone" does not appear at all.  Instead the gospel preached is the proclamation of who Jesus is and what he has done. Salvation (including God's forgiveness of sins) comes to  hearers through their response of repentance, baptism, and a subsequent life of obedience to God. When Saint Paul preaches the gospel, he makes the same kind of proclamation and calls for the same kind of response (see Acts 13:16-41; 1 Cor 15:1-11).

According to Scripture, then, the gospel is: a proclamation of the life, death and resurrection,and ascension of Jesus Christ which calls for our response of repentance, baptism and a life of obedience to God.

What is the Biblical View of Salvation? Because God is just and loves justice, if we hope "to see his face"-- that is to live with him in friendship- then we ourselves must become "upright," as he is. The First Letter of Peter puts it this way: "Be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, 'Be holy because I am holy' " (1:15-16).

How do we become Holy? We cannot save ourselves, and we cannot earn heaven on our own. Rather, we are saved by grace--God's merciful aid, given to enable us to become holy as he is holy. It's an absolutely unmerited, free gift of God, made possible through our redeemer, Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the cross for us. 

By Grace Alone absolutely  but NOT by Faith Alone.
Certainly, our faith in Christ's power to transform us is essential to our salvation by God's grace. But a mere intellectual assent to the truths of the gospel is not enough. Scripture insists that faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (see James 2:14-26) The only place in scripture where the words "faith alone" appear together is in James 2:17 where  scripture emphatically states one is not saved by faith alone.

When we are justified (literally, "made just") by God, he doesn't just declare us righteous as a kind of legal fiction so that we can escape eternal punishment. Divine justification actually wipes out sin and provides supernatural, renewing infusion of his power. By cooperating with grace, we become holy, fit to live with him forever. 

In this way good works, and the transformation of character they contribute to and reflect, are indeed necessary for salvation. (see also Mt 7:16-23; Mt 16:27; 25:31-46). "To the obedient," he promises, "I will show the salvation of God" (Ps 50:23).


cindyk said...


just happened on your stock recipe. tried it out the other day .. its awesome. I also recently discovered Catholocism. went through RCIA class last year and it all finally made sense to me.. something about tossing out the bread in the trash after "service" really rubbed me the wrong way.. check out my blog.. i think you should write more.. i enjoy what you share...

Deeny said...

Hi, Thanks My blog is kinda eclectic. I am a house wife and mother but faith has always been apart of my life. You hear of Catholics all the time becoming Fundamentalists but I was the reverse. Most of my faith posts are my studies and investigations and part of my faith journey. They were written for me but I thought they might be helpful to others who might be looking into the same things. I have been accused of being preachy. Not trying to be preachy just explain, especially to my very fundamentalist extended family and friends, how and why we became Catholic. To some Fundamentalists that is a very big deal. Many believe that the Catholic church is in serious error and they question if any Catholic could possibly be Christian and if they are they feel they would come out of the Catholic church. So to enter it and become Catholic is a sheer bewilderment to some. I still feel accepted as a Christian by most of our extend family but there are some that still question our "salvation". Most of the differences are just misunderstandings and misconceptions and simply using terminology differently. I don't know - I don't meant to be preachy and I guess some of it is defensiveness. My writing goes in spurts. A lot my posts were written while I was in RCIA. Now they have slowed down. Life took over. But I am so at home in the Catholic church and am fully convinced that is where the Lord has lead us and where we should be. Ok I am rambling, but nice to meat you. :-) Deeny

Rose said...

Hello Deeny~I just saw your post on my blog! Thank you for visiting. Yes, the recipe calls for coconut oil. That is what the West Ladies use and it actually tasted delicious when my daughters made up a batch. I am reading your blog and really enjoying your posts. I don't know what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. Is that a book added to the Church of Latter Day Saints? I know the Bible is the inspired word of God throught the HOly Spirit. Well, have a wonderful day!! God bless you, Rose

Deeny said...

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not an added book. In the Bible there are 4 Books called the Gospel books. They are all The Gospel of Christ- Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They all tell the story of Christ.

Mark specifically in the first verse of his account describes his account as :

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;