Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Everlasting Gospel, Part 1

It is the simplest message one can convey: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall live.” Or is it? The gospel of Jesus Christ has suffered many attempted revisions, amendments, and deletions, yet in its simplicity and purity it is a potent vehicle to reveal divine, inspired truth to fallen man. It is the only truth about God’s method of dealing with fallen man that there is.

We read in Revelation 14:6-7 that the gospel is everlasting; God the Creator has become God the Redeemer, and men are to give glory to this One who created us, and alone saves us from our sins. This passage also indicates that the gospel does not change; God has always had the same plan, the same method for reconciling sinful men back to Himself and renewing them to the fellowship that was lost during the Fall. Those who lived before the cross lived in anticipation of the accomplishment of God’s promise; those who live after the cross receive eternal life because the promise came to fruition, and our redemption was entirely accomplished at Calvary.

But what is the gospel, and how did it come to be? Was there really a gospel before the crucifixion and resurrection? What gospel did Jesus, Peter, and others preach prior to Jesus’ triumphant death on the cross? Scripture is not silent about the matter: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed,’” Galatians 3:8. According to the Holy Spirit, the gospel by which men are saved was given to Abraham. Was it the same gospel? We shall endeavor to find an answer to such questions.

We know that there was a gospel prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection. We read: “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel,’” Mark 1:14-15; see also Matthew 11:5. Luke records an episode where Jesus is reading from the Old Testament (Isaiah, to be exact) in a local synagogue. He reads, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me (Jesus received the Holy Spirit during His baptism at the Jordan River) to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” Luke 4:18-19. It is clear by this allusion that the gospel was present in the Old Testament; Israel was waiting in expectation of the fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption in due time; the fullness of the time as Paul calls it, Galatians 4:4-5. This agrees with what Jesus taught His apostles early in His ministry when He said, “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 10:5-7.

Read Genesis 12:1-3; God would bless all nations through believing Abraham, because through him would come Christ, the Messiah. While the blessing was first presented to a Jewish audience, the Gentiles (and their salvation) were always in the heart of God’s plan. “On that day (the Day of the Lord) I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down (the restoration of the Davidic kingdom with Messiah ruling), and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ says the Lord who does this thing,” Amos 9:11-12. Even in Joseph’s day God revealed His keen interest in preserving the Gentiles. Joseph’s misfortune was turned to good in order, “to preserve many people alive,” Genesis 50:20. God had a greater salvation in mind through a greater Joseph, as it were.

Joseph is actually a striking type of Christ. Joseph was betrayed by his own, sold into Egypt, and became its savior. Joseph was not only the savior of Egypt in that he supplied the people with grain; he was the savior of the then-known world, supplying all nations with grain. If you wished to eat, you had to come through Joseph to receive grain. Nowhere else possessed the capacity to appease the hunger of the dying but this one man who controlled the flow of food in the civilized world. So it is spiritually with Jesus Christ. Isaiah writes, “Indeed [God] says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth,’” Isaiah 49:6.
To be Continued.

No comments:

Post a Comment

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2nd Timothy 3:16.

My wife and I welcome comments to our Blog. We believe that everyone deserves to voice their insight or opinion on a topic. Vulgar commentary will not be posted.

Thank you and God bless!

Joshua 24:15

All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.