We want to conclude our study in the new birth by sharing what the true Gospel really is.
Easter is the time set aside annually by the world to remember the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To the genuine Christian, there is no other plan of salvation. In Galatians 6:14, the apostle Paul states, But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…. Then, in Romans 10:9, he adds …if thou …shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
The subject content found in these two portions of Scripture constitutes the gospel message:
Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.
This truth should be indelibly inscribed upon every believer’s heart. There is no other “good news.” Eternal life is eliminated if Christ went into a coma and then revived. The gospel, meaning “good news,” is “bad news” if Christ did not die by shedding His blood, for then the world has no adequate sacrifice for sin.
If He died and remained in the grave, the dilemma is compounded because He then becomes an imposter by breaking all of His promises and predictions concerning His resurrection. Matthew 16:21: From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. John 2:19: Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Verse 21: But he spake of the temple of his body.
Had Christ not fulfilled these utterances He would have proven himself to be a fraud. However, 1 Corinthians 15:20 states, But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept [or were dead]. He proved His deity through the greatest miracle recorded in the annals of history. Oh, what a wonderful Saviour. Buddha, Mohammed, and Zoroaster never made such claims and are presently skeletal frames lying in the dust of the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only risen Saviour. Were He still lying in a tomb in the Middle East completely decomposed just a skull and bones-He would be disqualified to be the Saviour of the world. But He lives and thereby proves His Godhead and power.
The Gospel of Salvation
In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul says, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved. What is this gospel or “good news” that saves? For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
Simplicity, simplicity, thou art a jewel. Could anything be easier to mentally grasp? Little children are able to comprehend God’s marvelous plan of salvation. In verse one of this text the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle, says, I declare unto you the gospel.
It is, Christ died for our sins …was buried and that he rose again the third day. This is not symbolic language but means that Christ died literally-in a body, was buried, and rose again literally-in that same body. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
This is where salvation begins.
If you don’t believe it, you don’t believe God. John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Romans 5:8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. First John 3:16: Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he [God] laid down his life for us….
Let’s go one step further.
Christ’s death had to be by the shedding of blood. Had He died from starvation, strangulation, suffocation, or seizure of the heart, there would have been no eternal salvation possible. Leviticus 17:11: It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Hebrews 9:22: …without shedding of blood is no remission [for sin].
The full gospel message is that Christ died for our sins by the shedding of His blood, was buried, and rose again the third day.
Be careful that you give the sinner the true presentation of the gospel in your witnessing. Watch out for Bible perversions, organizations, and pamphlets that omit the blood because of the …offence of the cross… (Galatians 5:11).
It is an intellectually humiliating experience to present the picture of a blood sacrifice as far as fainthearted,weak-kneed compromisers are concerned. They don’t mind picturing Christ as a great martyr, willing to die for a cause, because this is a heroic portrayal (but inaccurate).
We, however, must proclaim the truth. We must tell it as it is or forget it. A lopsided, distorted gospel can’t save anyone. It is the blood drawn from the Savior’s veins that produces eternal salvation. Christ himself said so in Hebrews 10:4, 5.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me.
Scores of times the New Testament mentions Christ’s holy blood as the only way of salvation. Acts 20:28: …the church …he hath purchased with his own blood. Romans 3:24, 25: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood…. Ephesians 1:7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Hebrews 9:12: …by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. First Peter 1:18: For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. First John 1:7: …the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
The Gospel of Damnation
The one who is behind all opposition to the blessed truth of Christ’s death and resurrection is a sinister agent named Satan. He is the commander-in-chief of the demonic denizens from hell and the god of this present world system. His main purpose in existing is to blind men to the true message of salvation. He doesn’t care if one goes to church and supports a denominational program. Rituals please him because they give man a false security by trusting in that which invigorates the physical senses. Man’s plans to reach heaven through a series of self-righteous efforts delight this archdemon because the program of good works is in complete contradiction to God’s master plan for salvation.
Is Satan really behind this treason against God’s gospel plan?
Second Corinthians 4:4 plainly states,… the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Notice that it is the truth concerning the “glorious gospel” or the glorious good news about Christ-His death, burial, and resurrection-that the satanic hosts from hell are out to blacken and eradicate. If the undercover agents from hell can change the message to eliminate the bloodshed and resurrection of Christ, they have won the battle for the souls of the blinded individuals.
You ask if I really believe that evil spirits pervade the atmosphere?
Do I believe these spirits can influence thinking? First Timothy 4:1: … the [Holy] Spirit speaketh expressly [plainly], that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.
Notice that the human first of all gives heed to a seducing spirit or demon and then accepts his doctrine. Did you know that the demons have theologians among them? The Bible teaches that there is an order of demonic hosts. Among the demons we find a class that pervades human minds with false doctrine. Once the demon has control, it is practically impossible to free the individual from the heretical error preached and practiced. This explains why some of the cults are so successful in binding their victims. Behind their doctrine is an evil spirit.
Satan hates the message of Christ and His blood. I can testify to weird happenings in crusades across the nation when messages on the blood were proclaimed. Satan hates the blood so he plants other theories in men’s minds. These include reincarnation, transcendental meditation, religious experimentation through the use of LSD, emotionalism, and good works.
Man says, “Certainly in this enlightened intellectual age one does not need Christ’s gory sacrifice upon a cross. One only needs to do the best he can in this world-help others, give to charity and follow the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Ten Commandments.” This all sounds very humanitarian and seems reasonably logical to the mind, but it is “another gospel.“
Every child of God should do good works and help others because of Christ’s presence in his life. He does not work to become saved but rather because he is saved. Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…. Notice that a believer works because goodness, morality, righteousness, and service are created in him by Christ Jesus. To change that order and teach men that they must work for salvation is the gospel of damnation planted in minds by the demonic god of this world system. It is wrong because it keeps men from accepting the true gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 4:5 tells us, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Ephesians 2:8, 9 adds, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Again, Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
Grace means “unmerited favor.” God bestows a favor upon a sinner that he does not deserve. All of us deserve eternal damnation because of our sin. God, however, loves us and gives us the gift of eternal life when we put our faith and trust in the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ (obtained through His death, burial, and resurrection). Romans 6:23 states …the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is a gift, dear friend.
A gift ceases to be a gift when one pays for it. If the message of the gospel makes demands upon one through a system of works, the receiver of the so-called gift has been swindled. If salvation comes by following a code of ethics, the Ten Commandments should certainly provide salvation for a sincere heart, because it is the best man can do upon earth. However, God never gave the Law-called “the Decalogue” or “Ten Commandments“-as a methodical plan to produce salvation. Hebrews 7:19: For the law made nothing perfect….
Rather, God’s Law was given to reveal man’s sin. By the Ten Commandments … is the knowledge of sin… (Romans 3:20). In other words, as one hears God’s Law proclaimed or reads it in Exodus 20; he realizes his failure and is driven to Christ for salvation. Romans 3:19 states that the Ten Commandments were given so that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
Notice that the Commandments were given to produce guilt, not salvation! The thunderings of Sinai produce deep conviction over sin. The conscience becomes disturbed, and the sinner runs to the cross for cleansing. Revelation 1:5: Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Do you see it? There is not one human work that has ever been administered upon this earth or one that shall ever transpire in the future that will ever save a soul.
In this chaotic age of apostasy and liberalism, the true message setting forth the plan of salvation is a necessity. Proud humanity would obscure the simplicity of God’s plan with high-sounding phraseology, thus hindering man’s understanding of the gospel or “good news.” Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:3: But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
Satan loves for a minister to use terminology that is incomprehensible and above the hearer’s I.Q. Why? If the listener finds the message unintelligible because he fails to grasp the eloquent utterances of the speaker-the message is useless and the hungry soul lost. The old slimy, slithering serpent Lucifer wants to blind men to the light of the glorious gospel.
What is the gospel message that Satan so vehemently attacks?
It is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.I declare unto you the gospel…. It is, Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. The “good news,” in all of its simplicity, is that Christ died by the shedding of blood for our sins, He was buried, and He literally arose from the grave in bodily form.
Let’s return to the doctrinal dogmas of the Bible and preach Christ crucified, buried, and risen again. This is the true gospel.
Anything else has God’s “anathema” and judgment upon it. Galatians 1:8: …though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Ministers who have detoured the cross calling it a “slaughterhouse religion” have done so because their minds have become alienated from God and darkened through the mind manipulations of demonic spirits. Any person who rejects the true gospel message is under the influence of the spirit world mentally.
Hear God again. Second Corinthians 4:4: … the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. It is the gospel concerning the death, burial, and resurrection that the hosts of hell are out to discredit and eradicate. Oh, fall on your face before God and change your mind about Christ. Receive the abundant and eternal life Christ longs to give you.
Let Him be your Saviour today!
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE