“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”; 11 Timothy 2:15 (This verse is the key that unlocks the Bible) “Right division of the Word of God”…more later!!
There is so much confusion amongst Bible believers over the question of salvation:
- Is a person saved through faith alone?
- Are works part of salvation?
- Can a person know for sure he is saved?
- What if a person sins again after being saved?
- Can a person lose his salvation?
All of these can be answered simply by studying the Book of Romans and understanding the meaning of the terms below:`
“Righteousness”, “Imputation”, “Justification”, “Grace”, “Redemption”, “Propitiation”, “Faith”, “Remission”, “Forbearance”, “Reconciliation”, “Sanctification”. These eleven terms constitute what is called “THE GOSPEL”.
Before we define these terms, there is another reason why there is so much confusion in Christendom. The problem is that people read their Bible superstitiously, thinking that “wherever” they read and “whatever'” they read is what God is saying to them; but that is not so. Confusion begins by not paying attention to “Who” is being addressed in a passage of the Bible; and then, not believing that when God addresses “Israel”, He means Israel.
There is a portion of the Bible that specifically addresses US – Gentiles and Jews of this age. It is the Books of Romans through Philemon. Now let’s see how knowing this fact clears up much confusion.
It is commonly taught that there is only one gospel in the Bible. (I’m not speaking of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which are sometimes called the four Gospels.) I’m talking about the proclamation of the Gospel in the Bible. In fact, most of Christendom believe, teach and preach that all of the New Testament preachers (John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the Twelve Apostles and the Apostle Paul) preached the same Gospel. THIS IS TOTALLY NOT THE CASE, IT IS TOTALLY UNSCRIPTURAL!! The Apostle Paul preached another Gospel which is “The Gospel of the Grace of God” (which we will explore later). Actually the Bible speaks of several gospels. (Gospel means “Good News”)…. GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM,” “THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD,” “THE GOSPEL OF PEACE,” THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL,” “THE GOSPEL OF THE CIRCUMCISION,” “THE GOSPEL OF THE UNCIRCUMCISION,” etc. These are not all synonymous terms for the gospel.
The “GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM” is what our Lord Jesus Christ preached during his earthly ministry, according to Matthew 4:23. By comparing this verse with Matthew 4:17, we know that the “GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM” is the preaching of the good news that the “KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.” This is the “KINGDOM”Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray for in Matthew 6:10:
“THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE… IN EARTH …AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.”
God promised in the Old Testament to set up a Kingdom here on earth through the nation of Israel, in which Jesus Christ would reign as King! Christ was here; and the good news proclaimed was that the Kingdom was at hand. In Matthew 10:7 we find this to be the same gospel the Twelve Apostles were sent to preach. Also, in Matthew 10:5,6 we learn that this good news was for the NATION OF ISRAEL..“ONLY!” (Is it not clear, when Jesus instructs His 12 Apostles “Go NOT into the way of the Gentiles, and into ANY city of the Samaritans enter ye not.”) But in the next verse He tells them clearly where to go and what to do: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, PREACH, saying, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND”. It is amazing, yet true, that even after the Twelve Apostles had been preaching this gospel for some time, they still did not know about Christ’s purpose to go to the cross and die for their sins. We know this because when Jesus Christ began later to tell his Apostles that He was going to Jerusalem to die, they did not believe him, nor did they understand what He was talking about. The reason they did not understand is because they were preaching the good news about the Kingdom. They expected Jesus Christ to establish Israel’s Kingdom and to take the Throne as their King. (PLEASE READ: Matthew 16:21, 22; Luke 18:31-34; and Luke 19:11)
How then, could the 12 Apostles have been preaching the same gospel as the Apostle Paul later preached, when they did not know nor understand anything about the Cross at that time? Yet, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18,23 he preached:
“THE CROSS” and “CHRIST CRUCIFIED”!
My point is this: the Gospel that the Twelve Apostles preached during the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ is “NOT” the same Gospel the Apostle Paul was sent to preach later. According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the GOSPEL Paul preached was the GOOD NEWS of the DEATH, BURIAL, and RESURRECTION of Jesus Christ FOR OUR SINS.
APOSTLE PAUL tells us where “HIS GOSPEL” originated in GALATIANS 1:11,12. It was AFTER the RESURRECTION and ASCENSION that the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to the Apostle Paul… ALL THAT WAS ACCOMPLISHED ON THE CROSS. ACTS 20:24, Paul calls this message “THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD.” In Galatians 2:1,2 we see that “THIS GOSPEL” is intended for the GENTILES as well as JEWS; and in Galatians 2:6-10 we find the 12 Apostles learned of this Gospel from Apostle Paul.
In this present age of “GRACE”, (Also known as “THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD”)…God has set Israel as a nation aside, and the “KINGDOM” promised them has been POSTPONED until a future time. Therefore, the “GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM’ is “NOT” God’s message of “GOOD NEWS” for TODAY!! NO, God’s message for the world today, the message we are to preach, is the GOOD NEWS, THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD. This is the GOOD NEWS of how the “CROSS OF CHRIST” SAVES SINNERS FROM ALL NATIONALITIES. THIS IS GOD’S MESSAGE FOR TODAY!!!!
This is why the FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL, set forth in our Bible, is the Book of Romans. The Book of Romans teaches precisely how God saves sinners. This Book is God’s great explanation of how salvation was accomplished. The simplicity of the Gospel is that: (1 Corinthians 15:3,4.)
“CHRIST DIED FOR OUR SINS, WAS BURIED, AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD THE THIRD DAY, ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES”.
In our next lesson we will began learning the meaning of the eleven terms listed at the beginning of this study. And I might add, if we want to bring glory to God and lead lost men and women to Christ, we must know these terms. Not only to be secure in our own salvation but to also be enabled, empowered to answer questions and explain the plan of salvation to others.