In this age, there is no consensus over what the gospel is. Each religious body defines the gospel in a peculiar way. Most minimize the gospel as a simple story. Some fail to clearly distinguish the Law and the gospel. Many preach a weak Jesus, a vindictive God, a mystical Spirit and many other heresies. Three scriptures provide an insight into the nature of the gospel that obviously expands the definition.

"But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, 'Lord, who has believed our report?'" (Romans 10:16) "In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

"For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:17)

The three texts introduce the idea that the gospel is obeyed. Stories require no particular response; and they, by nature, cannot be obeyed. Obedience is an action, the gospel is obeyed, so the gospel is more than a story. The gospel is referred to by many other names in the New Testament, because it is synonymous with those many things - it is the law of faith, clearly distinguished from the Law of Moses.

"Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith" (Romans 3:27). "Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all" (Romans 4:16). Paul goes on to say several times that men "are not under law but under grace". "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises ... In that He says, 'A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away" (Hebrews 8:6, 13). The gospel is the covenant of Jesus Christ, mediating between man and God for peace.

So much false religion develops as an attempt to make religion consistent with itself, rather than with the Bible. If the gospel were simply a story, salvation would be by faith alone. The gospel is so much more, it encompasses all of the covenant given by Christ, both personally and through his holy apostles. True religion is based on the Bible, and more specifically the gospel. When religion is consistent with the Bible, it will be consistent with itself.

By Shannon Ramey

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