contemporary false gospels and shows how they differ from the Gospel of Jesus
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Counterfeit money looks
like genuine money; it has to, if it is going to fool anyone. Counterfeit gospels
look like the real thing, and they fool many people.
about false gospels in two of his letters to churches in Greece and Asia. In
his second letter to the Christians in the Greek city of Corinth, he condemns
preachers and evangelists who "preach another Jesus whom we have not preached...or
a different gospel which you have not accepted." And in his letter to the churches
of Galatia, Paul wrote, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from him
who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel, which is not another;
but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ."
angry at what some men were preaching, and he warned the Galatians: "But even
if we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we
have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I
say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received,
let him be accursed."
should make preachers think twice about the gospel they preach, but many continue
to preach false gospels. Many religious leaders are confused about the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. They think that the Gospel is "You must be born again."
Nor is it the Gospel, "You must be filled with (or baptized by) the Holy Spirit."
"You must be good."
the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not any of these things:
speak in tongues."
confess your sins to a priest."
into your heart."
have a personal relationship (or encounter, or experience) with Jesus Christ."
believe what the Church teaches."
of your sins."
Lord of your life."
on the throne of your life."
was the best man who ever lived."
set an example for us so that we may follow him to Heaven."
and let God."
died for every person and wants everyone to be saved."
wants you happy, healthy, and rich."
you to be fulfilled."
times don't last; tough people do."
too loving to punish anyone in Hell."
should take dominion over the Earth."
is coming again."
messages, which are heard on television and radio and in churches every week,
are not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A few of them are true because they are
taken from the Bible, such as "Jesus is coming again," but the Gospel is not
about the second coming of Christ; it is about his first coming to Earth 2,000
"Gospel" means "good news." The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about what you
can do to get into Heaven, nor even about what God can do to change your life,
and certainly not about success, prosperity, health, or money. The Gospel is
not advice about improving your own experience, raising your self-esteem, or
disciples made the mistake of confusing the Gospel with their personal religious
experience, and he tells them about it in Luke 10:
these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two
before his face into every city and place where he himself was about to go....
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject
to us in your name.’
said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven. Behold, I give you
authority to trample serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy,
and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this,
that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are
written in Heaven."
men were chosen and sent out by Jesus himself. The demons were subject to them.
God was doing wonderful things in their lives. Their evangelism was a spectacular
success. But Jesus solemnly commands them: "Do not rejoice in this." Christ
gave them a direct command not to rejoice in their own experience, not because
their personal experiences were not cause for rejoicing, but because they were
ignoring a far more important fact, a fact that was not a part of their experience
at all: Their names were written in Heaven.
were focusing on their own experience rather than on what God had done for them
from all eternity and what Christ was shortly going to do in carrying out God’s
plan of salvation. Christ commanded them to rejoice in something that they had
never experienced, something that God had done wholly outside of them before
they were born.
Christian books, essays, television programs, and sermons today are little more
than stories about the wonderful experiences people are having. The football
players, the movie stars, the prominent lawyers, politicians, preachers, and
priests -- all tell their personal experiences and rejoice in them. None of
them tells the Gospel. They use words like "feelings," "felt," "impression,"
"sensed," "excitement," "leadings," "emotions" -- all centered on themselves
and their experiences. But the Gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing of this self-centeredness
and obsession with personal experience in it.
of Jesus Christ does not tell us to be spiritual navel watchers; it does not
tell us to seek emotional highs or to be guided by impressions or leadings.
It does not tell us to boast, except in what Christ has done on Calvary.
Paul tells us what the Gospel is in 1 Corinthians 15:
brethren, I declare to you the Gospel which I preached to you, which also you
received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast
that Word which I preached to you (unless you believed in vain) -- for I delivered
to you first all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according
to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day, according to the Scriptures."
the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
letter to the Christians at Rome, Paul explained the Gospel further:
deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in his [God’s] sight, for by the
law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the
law is revealed, being witnessed by The Law and the Prophets, even
the righteousness of God which is through faith in Christ Jesus to all and on
all who believe. For there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace through the redemption
that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation [something
that appeases the wrath of God] by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate
his [God’s] righteousness, because in forbearance God had passed over the sins
that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness,
that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus....
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds
of the law."
In contrast to the false
gospels being preached today, the Gospel is true, not legend or myth. Jesus
Christ was an actual figure in human history, as much as George Washington or
Abraham Lincoln. Some religious leaders say Christ was a myth or a legend; he
wasn’t. He was born to a virgin, Mary, in the small town of Bethlehem, 2,000
years ago. He lived about 33 years, was put to death by the government, and
rose from the dead three days later. When he was whipped and crucified, his
blood ran on the ground. Christ is no myth.
Second, the Gospel concerns
the past: It is history. The Gospel is the good news about what Christ did for
his people 2,000 years ago. He died for the sins of his people, so that they
would not have to die. Christ was buried, and on the third day he walked out
of his tomb alive.
events are wholly outside of our experience. Just as all men are condemned by
the disobedience of our first father Adam, a sin wholly outside of us, so are
all of God’s people saved by the obedience of the second and innocent Adam,
Christ, an obedience that is wholly outside of us.
teaches that salvation has been achieved by the life, death, and resurrection
of Jesus Christ -- by acts wholly outside of us. The Gospel is not a subjective
experience but objective truth.
is truth, not fiction. The Gospel is history, not personal experience. The Gospel
is what Christ did for his people, not what they must do for him. Sinners can
do nothing to merit or earn their salvation. They cannot even prepare themselves
for salvation, for they are dead in sin.
The Gospel is good news
because it is the news that salvation is absolutely certain for God’s people.
It is not merely possible or probable.
Christ, in dying for his
people, took the punishment they deserve for their sins and actually achieved
their salvation. He did not merely open up a door to Heaven that they might
enter when and if they please. He did not merely build a bridge across the gap
between sinful men and a perfectly holy God so that people might come to God
if they wished. He crossed the gap to take his people back to Heaven with him.
When he said, "It is finished," he meant it. The death of Christ actually accomplished
the complete salvation of his people. They can do nothing to deserve salvation,
and they can contribute nothing toward their salvation.
hymn writer said it well:
my hands have done, can save my guilty soul.
Not what my toiling flesh
has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can
give me peace with God.
Not all my prayers and sighs
and tears can bear my awful load.
alone, O Christ, can ease this weight of sin.
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of
God, can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God, not
mine, O Lord, to thee
Can rid me of this dark unrest
and set my spirit free.
the God of grace; I trust his truth and might.
He calls me his; I call him
mine, my God, my joy, my light.
’Tis he who saveth me, and
freely pardon gives.
I love because he first loved
me; I live because he lives.
we can do -- no prayers, no good works, no sorrow -- can save us from the punishment
we deserve for our sins. Nothing that happens to us or in us can
save us. Our salvation from sin and everlasting punishment in Hell comes from
Christ alone. It is not the Holy Spirit’s work in us that saves us, but
Christ’s work for us, when he lived a perfect life and died an innocent
death 2,000 years ago in Israel.
people and their salvation Christ said: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know
them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never
perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand."1 Christ
gives his people eternal life by giving them faith: "If you confess with your
mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised him from
the dead, you will be saved."2 He makes them believe the Gospel:
"Christ died for our sins." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be saved. Believe the good
news about the Lord Jesus Christ today.
10  Romans 10  John
Gospels is a Trinity Foundation publication. For additional copies of this
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Gospels, © 2005, John W. Robbins.