Dear Pastor Charles: I have question for you. You keep referring to the gospel in your articles and I am not really sure what you mean by that. I believe in God and I try to live a good life and to do the right thing. My minister says that the true gospel is to help the needy and to stand for social justice. He says that as long as we do these things we are fulfilling what God requires of us and that by these acts we are saved. Just wondering what you think? Thanks for your response.
Dear Just Wondering:
Thanks for your question. It is not what I think that counts but it is what God thinks. I can only give you the facts of the Bible and you will have to decide for yourself. The Apostle Paul gives us his definition of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,”. Please take note of these words, “by this gospel you are saved.”
I realize that it is not popular in this day and age to believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins and that the only way to heaven is by confessing that you are a sinner, turning from your sins toward God and asking Him to save you by His grace. Unfortunately, the Bible does not give us any other alternatives. Besides, what is so bad about being grateful to a God who loves you so much that He was willing to sacrifice His one and only Son to pay the penalty for your sins. My friend, I can assure you that any other gospel you receive is from man and not from God and will lead you on a one way path to eternal destruction.
Listen to what the Apostle Paul says about the Gospel that he gave us; Galatians 1:11-12, “I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” From these words of Paul you are forced to make up your mind if he is telling the truth or telling a lie. If he is lying, then we are in big trouble because nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are saved by any act of righteousness, good deed, or social action. These things are good and proper for a child of God to do but they are not how we are saved. The Bible teaches us how we are saved in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.”
So you see, you can work your heart out and never be acceptable to God because He has already prescribed and provided the way. Please remember that God is Sovereign and if we are going to approach Him, we must do it His way. Remember Cain and Abel? Abel’s sacrifice was more pleasing to God than Cain’s. Cain brought the sacrifice that he wanted to bring instead of what God told Him to bring and God rejected it. In the same way, God will reject any offering of labor that you bring to Him as payment for salvation because nothing that you can do is more valuable than the blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
There is another verse that I think your minister needs to read and take to heart in Galatians 1:6-9, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”
My prayer for you is that you will open heart and receive the truth of God’s Word and come to Him as He requires. Please do not allow yourself to be lead astray by false gospels which have never been in short supply. Satan has tried to deceive mankind since the beginning. Don’t be fooled and end up spending eternity with him instead of Jesus.