Just What Is the Gospel
That question placed before a Sectarian preacher will always bring in response the words of 1 Cor. 15:1-9, as the gospel, for Paul there says he declared unto them: “the gospel” - that Christ died, was buried, and arose from the dead, etc. But these statements are merely the facts of the gospel -- a part of it only -- the part to be believed. But the Scriptures speak of obeying the gospel (2 Thess. 1:8; l Peter 4:17), and no man can obey a fact. The gospel, then, consists of commands to be obeyed, as well as facts to be believed: it takes both to make the gospel.
Not only that, but the belief is worthless without the obedience. In John 3:36 the Holy Spirit says: “He that believeth on the Son bath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Here, the Spirit emphatically informs us that the believer remains under the wrath of God until he obeys the Son; that is, till he obeys the gospel. That being true, the Gospel of Christ is never preached by any sectarian preacher, for they all preach that the believer “hash eternal life” before and without obedience; that a sinner, while under the wrath of God, “hash eternal life!” That is offering to men “another gospel,” and Paul says that he who does that, whether man or angel, “let him be anathema” -- accursed of God. (Gal. 1:8,9.)
That passage solemnly pronounces a curse upon the teaching of all sectarian preachers; and instead of growling at me for giving them what the word of God says, it would be far wiser to get out of the accursed sects and stand among those people who are free to preach the gospel of Christ.
The word “gospel” means glad tidings or good news. The real glad tidings comes to us through the gospel announcement, “Your sins and your iniquities will I remember against you no more forever.” (Heb. 8:12.) The joyful tidings, then, rests upon the promise of the remission of sins. But this promise was to find its fulfillment after the resurrection of Christ, and beginning in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. (Luke 24:27; Acts 2:38, 39.) That was when the Great Commission went into effect; and remission of sins is a provision of the Great Commission exclusively. The promise and terms of the remission of sins, announced in the Great Commission, constitute the gospel of Christ. But that announcement was conditioned upon three acts of man; (1) Belief of the gospel facts; (2) Repentance; (3) baptism. Upon the sinner’s doing these three things he is granted the remission of sins, or salvation from past sins. Christ, through Mark (16: 16) epitomizes all three conditions by naming the first and last; thus: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” In Mark’s statement of the Commission (just quoted) we have faith and baptism named as conditions. In Matt. 28:19,20 we have only baptism mentioned as a condition. In Luke 24:47-49 we have only repentance mentioned as a condition; but as it takes all three to give us the whole Commission, the Commission consists of the three conditions -- Belief, Repentance, and Baptism. Whoever, therefore, preaches the gospel of Christ, is bound to preach the three conditions; for Christ never commissioned men to preach anything else. Whoever, therefore offers salvation upon one condition less; or demands one condition more, does so without Divine authority -- preaches “another gospel,” and comes under the anathema of God. The apostle, in carrying out the Commission, never varied from its exact terms.
The Vindicator (taken from Gospel Digest, Nov. 1944)