SPOTLIGHT ARTICLES

Christian Living
Essentials of Faith
Evidences for Faith
Applying Your Faith

A Different Gospel

There is an original and true Gospel message proclaimed by The Apostles.  Sense then, there have been attempts by others to add to it, change it, or preach something entirely different.  How do we know what is the true gospel and what is a different gospel?  That means we must first know what the true gospel is before we can discern a different one.  Everyone knows the most basic form but not everyone understands its supreme and ultimate value and meaning in relation to the identity of God himself.

We must only consider that which was taught from the beginning to the Apostles and from the Apostles.  Luke starts it off nicely:  "The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when He was taken up to heaven, after He had by the Holy Spirit given orders to the apostles whom He had chosen. To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:1-3).  It is not just everything that Jesus taught pre-crucifixion but also all that he taught post-resurrection and before his ascension.   There are even things that Jesus said and did that were not recorded (John 20:30-31) but all that is written is enough for salvation (1 John 5:13).  Because The Bible is sufficient for salvation, there is nothing more that needs to be added; the Holy Spirit spoke this through John when writing the last letter of The Bible (Rev. 22:18-19; Deut. 4:2).  It is this faith that was once delivered from the Apostles and nothing after (Jude 3).  The early church only looked at the teachings from the Apostles and not teachings from any other sources (Acts 2:42).  That scripture alone is the foundation of faith (Ephesians 2:20) because it was the Apostles who were taught all things (John 14:26).  This is why the authority of the Apostles is so important in the message they proclaimed (2 Peter 3.2; Acts 5:2-4; 1 Cor. 14.37; Rom. 2.16; 1 Thess. 2.13; 2 Thess. 3.6).  Therefore if something else is preached, it is not of God (Gal. 1.8-9).  With all that said: WHAT is THE true gospel that the Apostles proclaimed?

In its most basic form, it is this: 
All people are sinners (Romans 3:23) and separated from the holy and righteous God (Isaiah 59:2).  Jesus Christ died for our sins.  He was buried and raised from the dead three days later.  He appeared to the disciples and over 500 other people (1 Cor. 15:3-8) before ascending to heaven (Acts 1:6-12) and has given us his righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and eternal life (John 3:16).  
But this simple presentation has some huge and serious implications.  Why did he have to die?  What is sin and why did he have to die for them?  Did he need to die, could I have died for my own sin, or someone else?   How did he rise from the dead, was he actually dead, did God die?  Why are the 3 days significant?  Digging deeper into the implications of the gospel leads those who seek truth to see the person and works of Jesus in the absolute most deepest way.  The value and purpose of his death leads to the greatest truth about God himself.  This is why teaching a different gospel is so dangerous.

Breaking down 1 Cor. 15:3-8 we can dive deeper into what the Apostles taught.
"that Christ died for our sins..."
Q: Who is this Christ the Apostles talk about?

The Incarnation of God in the flesh (John 1:1,14). Jesus' per-existence in heaven as God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 5:18, 8:58; see Psalms 2:7; Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2). Jesus' physical existence in the world as the incarnate Son of God. (1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7; 1 Timothy 3:16; Matthew 1:23). Jesus' physical actual virgin birth (Luke 1:26–31; Luke 2:7). Jesus has two distinct natures: (John 14:11; Philippians 2:6–8). Jesus' Divine Nature as God the Son (Colossians 2:9). Sinless (Hebrews 4:15), One with God (John 10:30, John 14:8-9). Jesus' human nature as Son of Man (Luke 2:40; John 19:28; Hebrews 2:17).

Jesus' divine authority and nature (Hebrews 1:8, 10). Greater than angels (Hebrews 1:4–5) and worshiped by angels (Hebrews 1:6). Power over death (Matthew 9:24–25; Luke 24:36–39). Divine authority to forgive eternal sin (Matthew 9:6; see Psalm 103:2-3). Acceptance of Worship (Matthew 14:33). Omniscience (Matthew 24:1–2). Immutable (Hebrews 13:8; see Malachi 3:6). Creator (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3; see Isaiah 44:2; Genesis 1:1). First and the Last (Revelation 1:17; see Isaiah 41:4).

Q: What does 'Christ' mean?

Christ in greek means "anointed one" and "chosen one" and also means "Messiah" in Hebrew. The same "anointed one" that Daniel 9:25 prophesied about that was to come (also see Isaiah 61:1). Ancient Israel were expecting an anointed king to free them from Roman rule, but want Jesus accomplished was freedom from the rule of sin (Romans 6:18). Jesus Christ, the Messiah, thus saves us and frees us from our slavery and debt to sin.
"that Christ died for our sins, and that He was buried"
Q: How did he die and why?

Jesus' physical crucifixion and bodily death on the cross (1 John 4:2; 2 John 1:7; John 19:28; Luke 23:46). Prophesied in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 2:7), Purposeful as part of God's eternal divine plan of redemption (Romans 3:25). Jesus' perfect atoning payment for sin on the cross. Paid for sin with the incarnated bodily of God in the flesh (Acts 20:28; 1 John 3:16). The Lamb of God (John 1:29). Perfectly Satisfied God (1 John 2:2; Hebrews 7:27). Was the substitutionary atonement for mans sin (Isaiah 53:5-6).

As slaves to sin we were unable to do good or come to God on our own (Romans 3:10-18; Hebrews 11:6) and sin is so offensive to a perfectly holy and righteous God, the cost of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Because we are sinners, it was God that had to act on our behalf (Romans 5:8). If one of us sacrificed ourselves for another, the debt of sin would remain (Romans 3:23). Jesus was sinless and the perfect sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). Thus Jesus alone was the only one able, who could pay for the price of all sin (1 Peter 1:18–19).
"...and that He was raised on the third day, and that He appeared to..." 
Q: Who raised him and why on the 3rd day? 

Jesus' physically resurrection from bodily death 3 days later (Luke 24:13-43; John 20:19-31; John 21:1-25; 1 Corinthians 15:5-7).  Jesus foretells of his death and resurrection on the 3rd day (Matthew 12:39-40, 16:21; John 2:18-22, 10:17, 18) and that HE was going to raise himself.  The 3 day claim proves his exact words and validates his act which also correlates with the Jewish feasts.  Jesus was crucified during the Feast of Passover (Exo 12, Exo 13:6-8, Lev 23:5, Deut 16:3-8, Num 28:16), when lambs were sacrificed in the temple to pay for that year of sin for the people of Israel.  In Egypt, the people smeared the lambs blood over their house doors so that angel of death would pass over them.  Jesus was the Lamb of God for the world (1 Cor 5:7).  The third day was the Feast of First Fruits (Exo 34:25-26, Lev 23:10-14, - Late Passover Num 9:10-11) and Jesus was the First Fruits of the resurrection (1 Cor 15:20, 23, 2 Tim 2:6-8).  All these feasts were to point the people of Israel to recognize the Messiah when he arrived, and some did.
"...when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight."
Q: Where did he go?
In Jesus' glorified physical body, He literal ascension from earth to heaven as the Apostles watched (Luke 24:50-53; Acts 1:6-12). He ascended and is sitting at the right hand of God the Father in heaven (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55,56; Matthew 26:64; John 20:17; Ephesians 4:10)
the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received (1 Cor. 15:1-3)
Faith in the true gospel message, of the person and work of Jesus, is the most important message because it is life changing and eternal life (Romans 1:16, 6:23; John 3:16) that then produces good works (Acts 7:59; Ephesians 2:8-10; James 2:17-26; 2 Corinthians 5:17). This message, that brings salvation, is a free gift.


Jesus' Gospel Presentation - John 3:16-18:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
The eternal creator of the universe selflessly acted on behalf of the world and sacrificed his only begotten Son so that whoever believes are given eternal life with God. God had to give himself because the world was perishing on their own.

We see that the gospel is the absolute basic form of the most powerful truth from God. The Gospel leads us to seek God deeper and deeper. When we study and investigate what The Apostles taught about the identity of Jesus we are then lead to profound truths of his truest identity. Jesus of Nazareth leads to Jesus the Christ, then leads to Jesus the Son of God, which then leads to Jesus, God The Son. The same is true with other aspects of the gospel. Recognition of Sin leads to our total depravity in sin, which then leads to the need for a savior. Teaching a different gospel, leads to different untrue beliefs.

Jesus of Nazareth -> Jesus Christ -> Son of God -> God The Son -> The Triune God
Sin -> Man needs a savior -> Only Jesus can -> God acts on behalf of Man -> Jesus saves Man


A DIFFERENT GOSPEL

In modern times, the Word of Faith teachers tend to change what is taught about the identity of Jesus and of sin.  That we can be like God, even little gods.  We can become sinless and speak things into existence.  These tweaks to the gospel message really turns everyone into their own type of Jesus Christ.  If their teachings are true, than Word of Faith followers should be able to forgive the sins of non believers and even sacrifice themselves to save the soul of non believers. Why not speak salvation for non believers into existence?  The Lamb of God essentially becomes irrelevant.  The identity of God The Son is belittled into nothing more than being like Adam and you and I.  While sin is diminished into something that can just be spoken away.  They do not hold to what was once passed down from the Apostles and instead rely on their own claimed visions and prophecies from God.  That means they can essentially write their own bible and call it God's Word with all the new messages and teachings they receive that is not taught by the Apostles.  Different gospels look like this:

Teaching Start leads to: leads to: leads to: leads to: absolute truth:
The Apostles Jesus of Nazareth Jesus The Christ Jesus The Lamb of God Jesus The Son of God Jesus God The Son The Triune God
Joyce Meyers Jesus of Nazareth Jesus The Christ Jesus The Lamb of God Jesus The Son of God Jesus spiritually died in hell Not God the Son or the Triune God
Adoptionism Jesus of Nazareth Jesus adopted by God Jesus The Lamb of God Jesus the adopted son of God Jesus not the only begotten son of God Not the eternal God The Son or the Triune God
Oneness Penticostalism Jesus of Nazareth Jesus The Christ Jesus the Lamb of God Jesus The Son of God Jesus God The Son was just the 2nd mode of God Not the unique God The Son and not the Triune God
Docetism Jesus of Nazareth was an illusion Jesus The Christ (illusion) Jesus The Lamb of God (illusion) Actually a different person on the cross. Jesus The Son of God (not actually present) Jesus God The Son (not actually present) No actual atonement for sin

When someone teaches something different than what was preached by the Apostles, is effects the absolute truth.   Just by inserting the slight idea that "Jesus died spiritually in hell" we must then conclude that he was not the eternal God the Son; because then he could not be eternal or God.  By teaching that God just reveals himself in three different modes, we must then conclude that there are not three distinct and unique persons that make up the Triune God.   By teaching that the person Jesus was merely adopted by God, we must then conclude that Jesus is not the eternal God The Son or a person of the Triune God.

These slight changes in teachings different from the gospel that was passed down by the Apostles builds off itself into other heretical doctrines and forms entirely new religions.  This is proven by Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Islam, and the gradual decline of Apostolic teachings in the Word of Faith movement.

How do Different Gospels Come About?
  • The first major problem is the lack and ignorance of Church History.  Majority of these different gospel details have already been exposed and addressed by the early church.  Read the early church writings at https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.i.html
  • The second major problem is the lack and ignorance of proper biblical understanding and interpretation.  
  • The third major problem is that a majority of these teachers fail to understand their own natural inclination to be like God.  Thus, their different gospel details reflect that.  Some even openly admit it and are proud of it.
Are Those Who Deny Jesus as God The Son saved?

First, it is important to point out that I or anyone do not need to judge the hearts and souls of anyone.  We do not have to because it has been done already (John 3:18; Romans 1:18-32).   So when I say that someone is not saved because of their disbelief in the true gospel message, I am not judging anyone but only agreeing with the judgement God that has already made known by him. 

It is critically important to note that Paul made it a priority to make sure his hearers currently understood the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-3) when he reiterates it again and again in detail for them.  Because believing the TRUE gospel is salvation; thus believing in a false gospel is NOT salvation.  Now in regards to the gospel detail about Jesus, God The Son:

A majority of heresies to not make it to this truth about Jesus. They will believe that Jesus was a man, a prophet of God, who died for sin. But at the truth of Jesus being the Only Begotten Son of God they fail to understand. This then makes it impossible for them to see him as God The Son. To deny Jesus as the eternal Son of God one must ask do they then even know God? Jesus himself felt it was important to speak about and the Apostles, lead by the Holy Spirit, felt it was important to record in their gospels. Sense Jesus and the Apostles through the Holy Spirit declare his eternal existence and relation in nature to God; anyone who denies this, how can they say they know God? Because Jesus IS God The Son; they can not really know God because they are denying who he is. Jesus states: "but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 10:33). They are denying God The Son. The Holy Spirit hits it on the head when he has John record this: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father full of grace and truth." (John 1:1,14).  Thus we can see as God makes known, that they do not know God.  They may claim to know him, but he wont (Matthew 7:23).  And those who do not know God, are?  Not saved.  BUT we also DO NOT claim to know God's will for them either.  In God's divine will, the Holy Spirit may convict them of this, draw them to God the Father, learn of Jesus truest identity, and come to be saved by believing in the true gospel!  We all can hope and pray for this. 

The issue is that just about any subtle change in the gospel details has huge effects on the absolute divine truth.  It can lead people into believing a lie or believing in the true Triune God and eternal life with him.  ANY different teaching added to and injected into the true gospel makes it a different gospel.  And a different gospel does not lead to salvation.

If you have any questions or comments about this article please contact us or join our discussion forms

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?

Top Articles in the Last Month

Flag Counter