This past Sunday, our small study group enjoyed a beautiful evening outside. We were discussing a few of the biblical principles found in chapters three and four of Paul Washer’s The Gospel’s Power and Message. Specifically, how believers and unbelievers can be found guilty of mishandling the gospel.
Spiritually speaking, there are those who will amputate the beauty of the gospel by watering it down. In turn, taking nutritious food and making it junk food—where it loses any real value. Another tactic, is to attempt to add something to this saving message—e.g., repent and believe plus works. This is not good news at all, meaning it can’t and won’t save.
The apostle Paul warned, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, emphasis mine). There is a curse awaiting those who falsely profess.
And there is also a concern for the true church. It is a warning against a believer’s apathy and complacency. Against his or her viewing of the gospel as an elementary matter—something to be learned once and done. Washer explains why this thinking is wrong:1
[The gospel] is seen by many to be little more than Christianity 101, or the baby step into the faith that is quickly mastered and left behind for deeper things. Yet nothing could be further from the truth! The gospel is the “deep thing” of Christianity!
Eschatology [the study of end times] and the book of Revelation will be mastered at the Second Coming, but we will never master or fully comprehend the glory of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyone who thinks that he knows the gospel well enough to leave it behind and go on to greater things would do well to follow the admonition of the apostle Paul who wrote, “If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know” [1 Corinthians 8:2].
If we had the power to call forth the greatest theologians and preachers of history, they would all testify that during their earthly pilgrimage they were babes in the gospel. They would have joined with the wise man of Proverbs who exclaimed: “Surely I am more stupid than any man, and I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom, nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One” [Proverbs 30:2-3].
We must understand that our journey “into” the gospel will last beyond our lifetime and into a thousand eternities. With each new truth discovered, we will be more and more captured by its glory until it consumes our thoughts and governs our will. Dear believer, you may have wondered if there was anything worth pursuing, anything “big enough” to hold your attention.
Take heart! The gospel is much more than what you may have been told, and it contains a glory that cannot be exhausted. In fact, we will spend eternity attempting to tract down all the glory that is contained in this singular message, and after an eternity of eternities there will still be infinite glory yet unseen. The gospel will always be “the” thing into which the angels and the redeemed long to look!
Remember this: You must always be growing in the gospel and your knowledge of it. It is not Christianity 101, but Christianity from A to Z. You have not and will master it, but it will master you!
There is no greater truth than the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!
- God the Father commissioned the Son to come to earth as a man.
- He was chosen to redeem His chosen ones as a spotless Lamb.
- As objects of grace, these sinners were purchased by His atoning blood.
- They were paid for by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice on the cross.
- He alone redeems people from the power and penalty of sin.
- The Savior is the only Object of our saving faith.
“[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).