What is the Gospel?
How would you answer this question?
Most Christians would say the Gospel is the good news about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. They would then say if they believe in Him, they will be saved by grace, through faith, and become Christians.
This would not be a wrong answer, per se, but as we are going to see from the Bible, there is more to the Gospel than just the cross. Do we not owe it to ourselves to make sure we understand the Gospel correctly, so we can make sure we are saved and stay saved?
And yes, I know many of you will by now be thinking, “just give me Jesus.” But what if I can prove to you from the Bible the “just give me Jesus” is only half of the Gospel? Do you not owe it to yourself to at least see what the Bible has to say, considering it is a long time to spend an eternity in hell regretting you never questioned if there is more to the Gospel?
Am I saying you can lose your salvation if you do not understand the Gospel? The Bible says you can lose your salvation if you do not understand the Gospel.
To help you see what the Bible says, I would like to ask you an important question: Do you believe there is such a thing as the Gospel and salvation in the Old Testament, or is this only a New Testament concept? Most Christians have been taught; it is only a New Testament concept. Are you one of them?
The Gospel in the Old Testament
Have you ever asked the question: What caused the Israelites salvation from Egypt?
In the Old Testament, the Bible clearly says salvation from Egypt was an act of grace and not something they had earned. They were saved out of Egypt because of the promise Yehovah had given to Abraham, not because of something they had done.
Now we know salvation and grace is not a new testament concept.
Did the Israelites have to do anything to be saved, or was it enough to have a passive faith in Moses? Exodus’s book says that even though salvation was by grace, given to all Israelites, only those who believed Moses and acted on their faith were saved out of Egypt.
The Gospel in the New Testament
Salvation in the New Testament is because of what Jesus did for us at the cross. When He died on the cross, He made salvation available to all of humanity.
Does this mean all of humanity is saved, and are we required to do something to be saved?
We all know that not all are saved, and not all will be saved.
If Jesus died for all, why are not all saved?
Because there is something, we need to do to be saved. Only those who have faith in Jesus and act on their faith will be saved.
So by now, we already know salvation is not a New Testament concept. People got saved in the Old Testament and the New Testament, and salvation has always been faith that shows itself in a changed life. (James 2)
If Jesus died in the New Testament, how then could someone be saved in the Old Testament? We will get back to this in a moment.
What is the Gospel?
In Hebr 4:2, we read, “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it”
Here, in Hebr 4:2, it says the Israelites who were saved out of Egypt heard the Gospel. If the Gospel is nothing more, but “Jesus died for my sins,” how could people who lived centuries before Jesus was born have heard the Gospel?
If the Gospel is “Jesus died for my sins,” how could our forefathers in the desert have heard the Gospel? And if the Gospel is, as we say today, passive faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior, why did Yehovah get angry at them for not obeying the Gospel?
By now, it is obvious there is more to the Gospel than just “praying the sinner’s prayer” and having a passive faith in the grace of God shown to us on the cross.
To understand what the Gospel is they heard and how this Gospel can be the same as the one we have heard, we have to know the Exodus story’s context.
After salvation from Egypt, Yehovah leads them to Mount Sinai. On Mount Sinai, He gives them the Torah, and He makes a deal with them. If they obey the Torah, He will be their God, and they will be His people. If they disobey the Torah, He will reject them as His people.
So we see the Torah did not save them, but the Torah became the requirement to stay saved.
Do you see any resemblance between what Yehovah says to the people Mount Sinai and what Yeshua told us?
In Matt 6:25-34, Yeshua says if we obey the Torah, our God Yehovah will care for us and be our God. In Matt 7:21-23, Yeshua says, if we reject the Torah, He will reject us.
Now we are beginning to understand what the Gospel is they heard in the desert, and we have heard. At Mount Sinai, they promised to obey the Torah. If they had lived up to their promise, they would have had no reason to worry about anything. (Matt 6:25-34, Deut 28:1-13.) They failed to live up to their promise, not because the Torah was to difficult, only because they did not want to.
Does this not resemble Christians today? Most Christians do not want to obey the Torah, but they want what Yehovah can give them.
So the Gospel they heard in the desert, and the Gospel we have heard can best be summarized by Yeshua’s words in Matt 6:25-34. If you believe in the Torah, you obey the Torah, Yehovah will be your God, and He will take care of you. Then you will have no reason to worry about anything.
Now we understand the Gospel is not only the cross; the Gospel is the Torah or what we might call Moses’s written law.
Torah, the cross and the Gospel
Why did Jesus have to die on a cross?
The answer is to atone for human sin. (John 3)
What is sin? There are two definitions of sin, what the Bible says and what Christians say. Sometimes, we Christians define sin as “miss the mark” or fail to believe in Jesus, but we never explain what it means to “fail to believe in Jesus or miss the mark.”
The Bible, on the other hand, in 1. John identifies sin as breaking the Torah (the written law of Moses.) So, according to the Bible, if you disobey the Torah, you have sinned. So why did Jesus have to die on a cross? To pay the price for our lawless behavior, for every time you and I broke Torah.
Does the Bible say we can continue to live lawless and without obeying the Torah if we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior?
Paul, the Apostle, answers our question with a clear and resounding no. We can not continue in lawlessness if we believe Jesus died for us. (Rom 6:1) According to Paul, we have to repent from lawlessness back to the Torah if we believe Jesus died for us.
What Paul says is identical to Yehovah in the book of Exodus. They both agree salvation is a gift, but if we accept that gift, we have to show we receive it by having an active saving faith in the Torah. This is why James and John say if our faith can not be seen, our faith in the cross is dead and can not save us. (James 2, 1. John)
Do you now understand the Gospel?
The Gospel is not limited to Jesus died for my sins or “just give me Jesus.”
The Gospel is the Torah because those who believe in the Torah and obey it will live in a continual flow of grace. You can never separate the cross from the Torah because then the cross loses its meaning. Jesus died because we have broken Torah to allow us to return to the Torah through our faith in His Blood. If we reject the Torah and claim to believe in Jesus, we make the cross null and void. (James 2, Matt 7:21-23.)
This is why the Bible says, in the book of Revelation 12 and 14, those who obey the Gospel (Torah+the cross) are those who will overcome the devil.
Now let me close this chapter by asking you this question: Are you saved? As I have shown to you today in this chapter, you reject the Gospel if you reject the Torah. If you reject the Gospel, you reject Christ. (Matt 7:21-23.) If this is you, there is still time to repent back to Torah and walk in grace.
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