The Gospel

Our English term “gospel” comes from the Anglo-Saxon term “godspell” which originally meant “good spell, good story,” or “good news.”  It was used to translate the Greek word “euangelion” which meant “good news” or “good tidings.”  (See Webster’s Unabridged).  Outside the Bible the word was used among the Greeks not only of good news in general but as “a technical one for news of victory.”  (See TDNT in one volume, p. 269).

The “gospel” at times refers to the entirety of the New Testament. (1) In Colossians 1:5, we find that “the words,” “the truth,” and “the gospel” are one and the same.  A literal reading here word be “the word, which is the truth” (genitive of identification) and “the truth, which is the gospel” (genitive of identification) (2) In Acts 14:21-22, it is made clear “the faith” and “the gospel” refer to the same body of doctrine.  (3) In 1 Timothy 1:10-11, Paul equates “sound doctrine” and “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.”  (4) In Hebrews 4:2, “the word” and “the gospel” are used interchangeably (Also compare Mark 16:15 with Acts 8:4 and Acts 13:5, 7).  (5) The gospel is to be preached to, and put in ptractice by the non-Christian (Mark 16:15; Acts 16:10; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).  (6) The gospel is to be preached to, and practiced by the Christian (Romans 1:15; Galatians 2:14- lit. “the truth which is the gospel).

However, the very heart of the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  This is the message of victory from which we receive the opportunity for victory.  This is the message which gives meaning and good news to the rest of the body of the New Testament.

Now, don’t miss this – the gospel is not only to be preached (Mark 16:15; Rom. 1:5).  It is to be obeyed (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).  But how does one obey the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ?  How does a non-Christian obey the gospel?  The answer is found in Romans 6:3-4.  Christ died – even so, one must die to the former manner of life, and also unto self – this takes place in repentance (Romans 6:2b; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 6:14).  In repentance a man is dead to the love and practice of sin;      But, not yet the guilt.  Christ was buried – likewise, one is to be buried (not sprinkled or poured).  This is the point that one becomes dead to the guilt of sin by coming in contact with the blood of Christ (Revelation 1:5; Revelation 7:13-14; cf. Acts 22:16 cf. Romans 6:4a).  Christ was raised – in like manner, one is to begin a new life at the point of exiting the water (Romans 6:4, 6, 11).  A person is dead to the love and practice of sin in repentance – but such a one is not raised to a new life until after he/she comes out of the watery grave.  This is how the non-Christian obeys that “form of doctrine,” that is “the gospel” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-f cf. Romans 6:17).

What about the Christian?  How does he obey the gospel?  It is possible for the Christian to continue in a life of sin at some point after baptism (Romans 6:12).  But such should not be.  One was raised to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4).  The term “newness” does not refer to the newness in time (neos), but newness in nature or character (kainos).  One is to use his body as an instrument of righteousness, not unrighteousness (Romans 6:11-13).  One’s resolve should be to strive to be each day an instrument of righteousness “created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Ephesians 2:20).  How does the Christian obey the gospel?  He keeps on walking as a new creature (Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:6-7).  McGarvey well said, “Only the resurrected rise from the grave.  Therefore, one who has not fully resolved to live as having died unto sin has no right to be lifted from the waters of baptism” (Thessalonians, Corinthians, Galatians, Romans. p. 343).  One obeys the gospel by continuing to live the new life and not reverting back into the old manner of life.  Should one revert, he needs to repent (1 John 1:9; Acts 8:22).

About Bryan Hodge

I am a minister and missionary to numerous countries around the world.
This entry was posted in Plan of salvation, Word Study and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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