Let us state clearly our understanding of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The gospel is the message of God’s love and saving grace to particular sinners by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Godman. Where there is no preaching of substitutionary atonement, suretyship and representation of sinners by the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no gospel.
Salvation is a completed work, accomplished upon the cross, sure and certain for every adopted child of God. If sinners are required to do something to activate, apply or secure the benefits of Christ’s work, there is no gospel and our Saviour’s dying testimony “It is finished” is bereft of all meaning.
If Christ’s work is offered conditionally to all (“Christ will if you will”) implying grace is available to all upon the fulfilment of a condition, work or action, there is no gospel in it.
If a duty to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation is imposed upon the hearer as an obligation of the natural man there is no gospel in it. “For the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit”.
If any human effort is required to obtain righteousness, holiness, sanctification or peace with God, there is no gospel in it. If living obediently, giving generously, doing diligently, praying passionately or evangelising energetically is required to gain acceptance with God or to please God, it is not the gospel for it gives no hope to a lost sinner.
And where there is no gospel there is no salvation (Romans 1:16; Ephesians 2:8-10).
The Gospel is the good news that everything necessary for the salvation of sinners was accomplished and finished on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ. Every needed grace is sovereignly bestowed as a free gift of God, founded in the eternal purpose of God the Father, secured by God the Son, applied by God the Holy Ghost. Anything else is a false gospel and no gospel at all.
To preach the gospel is to preach Jesus Christ, the only Redeemer and Saviour of elect sinners. It is to preach Him as God and man in all of His divinity and humanity, glory and humility, universal dominion and voluntary submission. lt is to bring a sword of division for it separates between those who belong to Christ and those who do not.
Peter Meney is the Pastor of New Focus Church Online and the Editor of "New Focus Magazine" and publisher of sovereign grace material under the Go Publications imprint. The purpose and aim of the magazine and books is to spread as widely as possible the gospel of Jesus Christ and the message of free, sovereign grace found in the Holy Bible, the Word of God.