The Gospel

Introduction

Our English word gospel comes from the Old English godspell meaning “good news.” It is a transliteration of the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον which is a combination of “good” (εὐ) and “message” or “news” (ἀγγελία). In the broad view, the “gospel” is what God has revealed to the human race regarding how we can have a relationship with Him. God has proclaimed the gospel throughout history and mankind’s response to this good news has always been the same: faith. We read in Hebrews 11:6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” In this same chapter are many examples of men and women who apprehended God by faith. Faith has always been the means of salvation. Thus the writer to the Hebrews wrote,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval (Hebrews 11.1-2).

While the means of apprehension (faith) has remained the same throughout history, the content of the gospel has not. It has changed according to what God has revealed.

The Gospel Through the Ages

The clearest definition of the gospel for our day is found in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Paul wrote,

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve (1 Corinthians 15.1-5).

Therefore, the way we have a relationship with God is by believing that Christ died for one’s sins and was raised from the dead. The resurrection of Christ was the proof that He was victorious over sin and death as our substitutionary sacrifice. It’s as simple as that. When one believes the gospel he is, in the words of the Scriptures, “saved.”

The above verses may be diagrammed as below:

1) First propositionChrist died for our sins
1a) Scriptural proofaccording to the Scriptures
1b) Physical proofand was buried
2) Second propositionHe arose from the dead
2a) Scriptural proofaccording to the Scriptures
2b) Physical proofand was seen

Paul’s gospel is a gospel of grace (Acts 20.24) and consists of the message that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. The question for every individual is, “Will you believe it?” Salvation is a choice and requires an act of will. Tragically, preachers, “gospel” tracts, and other well-intentioned witnesses often confuse the simple gospel. The gospel is that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead, period. Adding to the simple message of the gospel such statements as “invite Christ into your heart,” “accept Jesus as your personal Savior,” etc., creates confusion. The gospel message should be as simple as the Bible presents it.

John the Baptizer, Jesus, and the Twelve preached the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 3.2; 4.17). This gospel was a gospel of repentance and the message was that Jesus was the Messiah-King who had come to establish His rule on the earth and fulfill the Jewish covenants (Matthew 6.9-10; Romans 15.8). It required both individual and national repentance (Acts 2.36, 38-38, 3.17-23 cf. Romans 11.25-27). Thus, this good news was that the King was present and the nation of Israel was to accept Him as the Messiah and King of Israel. That was the focus of faith.

Paul’s gospel was distinct from the gospel of the kingdom (Galatians 1.6-12; 2.1-9). Paul’s gospel was not a gospel of repentance, that Jesus was the King about to establish His kingdom on earth and fulfill Israel’s covenants. Paul’s gospel was that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. He received his gospel, not from Peter or the Twelve, but by direct revelation from the risen Christ. The language Paul used to refer to his gospel revealed that he regarded it as his own. Thus, we read of “the gospel which I preached to you” (1 Corinthians 15.1-5), “my gospel” (Romans 2.16, 16.25, 2 Timothy 2.8), “our gospel” (2 Corinthians 4.3; 2 Thessalonians 2.14), “that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles” (Galatians 2.2), “the gospel of the uncircumcision” (Galatians 2.7), “the gospel of Christ”(Romans 15.19; 1 Corinthians 9.12; 2 Corinthians 2.12, 9.13, 10.14; Galatians 1.7; Philippians 1.27; 1 Thessalonians 3.2), “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24), “the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1.13), “the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6.15), “the gospel of his Son (Romans 1.9), “the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4.4), “the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1.8), “the glorious gospel” (2 Timothy 1.8), and “the gospel of God” (Romans 1.1, 15.16; 2 Corinthians 11.7; 1 Thessalonians 2:2, 8, 9).

Paul wrote the Galatians,

Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.” (Galatians 3.6-8).

While faith has always been the means of salvation, the content of faith has changed through the ages. It should be obvious that since Christ had not gone to the cross and been raised from the dead, men and women prior to this event believed something different for salvation than what Paul declared as the gospel–the death and resurrection of Christ for our sins. The Gospels indicate clearly that the Twelve had no clue about the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. In Luke we read,

31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” 34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this statement was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said (Luke 18:31-34).

Men and women are justified by faith in what God has revealed in their own time frame. Thus, we read regarding Abel,

“By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Hebrews 11.4).

Implicit from the Old Testament account is that God had revealed that righteousness was to be obtained through the offering of a blood sacrifice. According to Genesis,

So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell (Genesis 4.3-5).

Why did God not accept Cain’s offering? Because God had revealed that to come to him one had to offer a blood offering (Genesis 3.21). Cain chose to disobey and disbelieve God. He wanted to come to God and be accepted by God his own way. He refused God’s revelation. Abel, on the other hand, believed what God had said. Because he believed, he obtained righteousness.

Abraham is another example of one who was accepted by God and who obtained righteousness. Abraham apprehended God by faith. God justified Abraham because Abraham believed him. What was the content of the “gospel” which Abraham believed? According to Genesis 15, Abraham asked God,

Abram said, “O LORD God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and theheir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.” And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15.2-6).

The gospel for Abraham was that God would give him an heir from his own body and that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Abraham responded to God by believing him (Galatians 3.6-8). This is what faith is, believing what God says.

What about those who lived under the Law of Moses? What was the gospel for them? The Law’s purpose was never to make a person righteous. Rather, its purpose was to reveal a person’s condition before God. In effect, its purpose was to condemn. Paul wrote,

19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3.19-20).

The Law’s purpose was to show a person his sin and his need for God. A large part of the Mosaic Law concerned the Levitical service and sacrifices. A Jew under the Law was to believe and obey God with regard to these sacrifices. Thus, a believer in those days believed in and obeyed God by going to a priest, offering a sacrifice, and believing that God had dealt with his sin by means of the animal sacrifice. That was the “gospel” and the revelation which God had given to that point.

What was the gospel in Jesus’ day? John the Baptizer and Jesus preached the “gospel of the kingdom.” According to Mark,

14 Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee,preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1.14-15).

How did a person become a believer and obtain righteousness in Jesus’ day? First, it is clear that a person had to repent (cf. Matthew 3.2, 4.17; Mark 1.15; 6.12; Luke 13.3, 5). Believing the gospel meant one had to believe the good news that the Messiah of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth, had come. This gospel included the fact that Jesus was the promised Messiah and that he was about to establish the long prophesied kingdom upon earth. We also note from the ministry of John the Baptizer that one needed to be baptized in water as baptism was a sign of repentance (Matthew 3.5-6, 3.11; Mark 1.4-5; Luke 3.3, 3.12 cf. 7.29-30; John 1.33, 3.23). According to Matthew,

Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins (Matthew 3.5-6).

This requirement of water baptism continued throughout Jesus’ ministry and into the ministry of the Twelve following Jesus’ resurrection (see Acts 2.38). In John, we read,

1 Therefore when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus Himself was not baptizing, but His disciples were), (John 4.1-2).

Salvation under the gospel of the kingdom required that one believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah (Matthew 16.13-17; John 11.27; Acts 8.35-38, 9.18-20). This was a completely different gospel than Paul’s. Paul gospel requires that to be saved we must trust in the death and resurrection of Christ. We simply do not see this in the gospels or afterwards with Peter or the Twelve.

Great confusion has resulted in Christianity from the teaching that the Church, i.e., the Body of Christ, began at Pentecost. The Scriptures teach clearly the Church did not begin at Pentecost. The early chapters of Acts reveal nothing about Jew and Gentile being equal in Christ. One will search the Scriptures in vain to find any mention of the Body of Christ by any writer other than Paul.

Only with Paul’s calling and commission did God reveal the “stewardship or dispensation of the grace of God” (Ephesians 3.2) or of the “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20.24). Prior to Paul, no one offered salvation through faith in the shed blood of Christ nor preached that the gospel of salvation had been sent to Gentiles. The early chapters of Acts record that the prophetic program of the King and the kingdom that had been proclaimed in the Gospels was still in effect and the audience remained wholly Jewish. On the day of Pentecost Peter addressed no Gentiles. He addressed Jews, i.e., “men of Judea” (Acts 2.14), “men of Israel” (Acts 2.22), and the “house of Israel” (Acts 2.36).  Peter’s message was that Jesus was the Messiah, that they had crucified Him, and that He had risen from the dead. In response to his message his audience asked, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2.37). Peter did not tell them to believe that Christ died for their sins and was raised from the dead. What did he tell them?

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself” (Acts 2.38-39).

Whom does this sound like? John the Baptizer! Jesus the Messiah! Baptism was a requirement under the gospel of the kingdom. Again, whom is Peter addressing? Gentiles? No. Jews. Peter quoted from the Scriptures. The Scriptures little to nothing to Gentiles but everything to Jews. He specifically said that the Holy Spirit was the promise for you and your children, etc. This was prophesied by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31.31-34), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36.22-32, 37.14, and Joel (Joel 2.28-32). Indeed, in his sermon Peter quoted Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2.17-21) for what was then happening in Israel.

Conclusion

The content of the gospel has changed throughout the ages according to the progressive revelation of God. Salvation is gained by believing and obeying what God has revealed at the time. Today, because of the revelation of the message of grace to the apostle Paul, salvation is as simple as putting your trust in Christ’s work on your behalf–that He died for your sins and rose from the dead for your justification. Salvation today is faith + 0. Faith in Christ is not “inviting Christ into your heart” or “accepting Christ as your personal Savior.” Such “invitations” are false gospels without Scriptural basis. No one in this day is required by God to repent, to be baptized, to offer a blood sacrifice, to join a church, or to do anything else that may have been necessary in an earlier age. The gospel for us is that Christ died and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Christ’s work is wholly sufficient and has paid for your sins. At the moment you put believe the gospel and trust Christ, you can be assured that you are a child of God and that God has given you eternal life.

©1998 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.

Updated August 27, 2010


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76 Responses to The Gospel

  1. BeBen says:

    God bless you brother for teaching the glorious truths of the word.

  2. Don Ensley says:

    Did not Paul (Acts 26:20) show the Gentiles that they should repent and turn to God, and do works suitable for repentance? And on Mars hill did he not also
    proclaim that God now commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30)?
    While the gospel might not include repentance for salvation, repentance is still something for everyone to accomplish. Paul still taught men to repent.

    How is it then that repentance is not required, but it is still commaned by God for all men everywhere?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. I modified my summary based upon you comment. Paul’s emphasis for the unbeliever is to believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Repentance clearly occurs when one believes. Paul mentions repentance for the unbeliever only once in his letters (Romans 2.4). Paul’s emphasis on repentance in his letters is for believers, not unbelievers. A word study of Paul’s letters on trust, believe, faith vs. repent will demonstrate this.

  3. Ron G says:

    And also in Acts17:
    Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30, 31 NKJV)
    Is not Paul teaching repentance as part of the gospel?
    Ron G

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul did not emphasize repentance in terms of the non-believer. In his letters he used it once (Romans 2.4). Paul’s emphasize repentance for believers. Study the number of times Paul expressed repentance (1x) verses “believe,” “faith.” Obviously, one must repent (change one’s mind) to become a Christian. But Paul did not emphasize it. He told the unbeliever to believe his gospel. If one one believes, one repents. It’s a matter of perspective.

  4. Mike says:

    Hi Don,

    I’ve been asked about whether Paul was gave the church its instructions for evangelism in Romans 1:16, “to the Jew first…” Would it be right to purposely reach the Jewish community before going to Gentiles, or is this a misunderstanding of what this verse teaches? From your teaching, the Jerusalem-Judea-Samaria process of the Great Commission applies to the Gospel of the Kingdom. But if it doesn’t apply to the Gospel of Grace, what did Paul mean in Rom. 1:16?

    Thank you for your help!

    Mike

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Mike,
      For sound interpretation we must always note when and to whom the Scripture was written. Romans was written during the Acts period. In Acts, Paul went to Jews first. When they rejected his message he turned to Gentiles. This occurred three times (Acts 13, 18, 28). Acts closes with the rejection of Paul’s message by the Jews in Rome. Imprisoned in Rome, note Paul’s words in Ephesians 3.1: For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles. The Lord Himself imprisoned Paul to focus his ministry upon Gentiles. The Lord had told Paul the Jews would not believe him (Acts 22.18). From this point onward, we see Paul focusing on Gentiles, not Jews first.

      • Mike says:

        Thank you, Don.

        Since the Gospel of John was written after the Acts period, and after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, did Apostle John then come to accept Israel’s national rejection of Jesus, and therefore (finally) embrace the Gospel of Grace?

        Are we able to tell whether his gospel was therefore written to Jews and Gentiles alike? If not, how can we make sense of the Gospel of Grace being the only valid Gospel (proclaimed as early as Acts 15:11), yet then have John be inspired to write a Kingdom-oriented Gospel even as late as 85 AD. As one generally reads the Gospel of John, it seems to be directed toward a broader audience that does not assume one understands Jewish tradition and culture. It seems rather absent of (earthly) Kingdom teachings while being filled with heavenly/eternal perspective and emphasizing belief in Jesus + 0, like Paul.

        It also makes sense that he would emphasize eternal life over Kingdom life, if he had to be resigned to the fact that Israel had indeed officially (but only temporarily) rejected their Messiah.

        Thanks again SO MUCH for your teachings and insight. You have helped me immensely!

        Mike

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Mike,
          Why do you think John was written after 70 A.D.? See Colossians 1.25. Paul wrote he was God’s minister to “fulfill,” “complete” (πληρόω) the Word of God. Paul completed the canon. Ergo, the canon was complete by 67-68 A.D. All the gospels were written for Jews for they concerned Jesus’ earthly ministry and promises to the nation (see Romans 15.8).

          • Mike says:

            Thank you for challenging my assumption on John being dated after 70 AD!

            I am now revisiting how the Gospel of John should be dated, and am currently reading Daniel Wallace’s take on it: Written Pre-70 AD, but to let the Gentile Churches in Asia Minor know how they felt about Paul’s Gospel, which perhaps goes well with the time John spent living in Ephesus.

            Done out of a response to Peter in 2 Pet. 1:15, “Indeed, I will also make every effort that, after my departure, you have a testimony of these things” ©NET, Wallace surmises that John also wanted to comfort the Gentile churches over the death of Apostle Paul. He points out the many explanations, interpretations, and asides which would be unnecessary if the audience were Jewish (cf., e.g., 1:38, 41, 42; 5:2, etc.).

            But I will hopefully come to a solid conclusion soon on both the dating and recipients of John.

            Mike

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Mike,
              A lot of assumptions in Wallace’s view. It assumes Paul was dead. Peter wrote to Jews, not Gentiles. Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles especially in light of Galatians 2.7-9 and Romans 11.13. While it is in the realm of possibility that John may have had Gentiles in mind, it is equally or more plausible he was writing Jews who did not know Hebrew or Aramaic, those “scattered abroad” as Peter and James wrote (1 Peter 1.1; James 1.1). I believe the heart of the problem with views such as Wallace expresses is that he believes Peter and the Twelve ministered to Gentiles. They didn’t. Wallace does not understand Paul’s unique ministry. This misunderstanding provides fertile ground for a host of unbiblical notions.

      • RonG says:

        Hi Don,
        I recieved the following in response to my saying that the Jew first and then Gentile of Romans 1:16 no longer applies In this age of grace. Can you help me with the Greek?

        “Okay, so you’re saying that the Gospel WAS the power of salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, now it isn’t?

        If the part of this verse that says; “…to the Jew first…” no longer applies, then grammatically logically, the part that says;
        “for it is the power God unto salvation…” also no longer applies.

        You cannot separate the two principles contained in this verse.

        The Greek tense used is one that is perpetually true, so in the same way that the Gospel of Christ is ALWAYS the power of God unto salvation, it is ALWAYS to the Jew first.

        This is a non-negotiable.

        The scripture can’t be broken.”

        Blessings,
        RonG

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          RonG,
          Paul wrote the Romans the gospel “is” (present, active, indicative) the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes (present, active, participle). The record of Acts is that Paul approached Jews first, then went to Gentiles. That historical fact continues to be true. The idea the gospel today must go to Jews first is not true. Paul ceased going to Jew first after Acts ended.

  5. John H. Gregory says:

    Truly a great site! I have read all of the articles & have used some in my own teaching.
    But never with out giving reference to you. I would like to know if you are writing new
    papers, and if so will you post them.
    God bless,
    John H. Gregory
    johngpsa911@gmail.com

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I think this year I’ve written an article on Esther and Handel’s Messiah. I’m working on another now which I hope to finish in a few days.

  6. Joe says:

    This is deep stuff. Though difficult to grasp it’s the clearest I’ve found. I too am beginning to change my view on the dates for John’s writings but I don’t like opening doors for the Prets.

    Though off subject this question relates to the deep stuff remark above…..A bible teacher from way back once made the statement that has stuck with me……paraphrase…..The Lord will return when the number of saved equal the number of fallen angels. The reason for this is that we (saved) are to ‘judge’ them and like a line of captured enemy behind a chariot, each fallen angel will have a corresponding Christian Soldier next to him or something of the sort……the preacher was probably a military man….wink wink.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Joe,
      For Preterism, early dating of Revelation is essential. Without it, the entire system collapses. This is not so for Futurism. Revelation can be dated early with no impact. I have no idea about saved=fallen angels. Could be true but seems fanciful. No Scripture to support it.

  7. Kim N. says:

    Hi Don,
    You wrote:
    “Faith in Christ is not “inviting Christ into your heart” or “accepting Christ as your personal Savior.” Such “invitations” are false gospels without Scriptural basis.”

    I can’t agree more with you. Thanks for saying it in your website. Many “Christians” are being deceived by this; they believe they are “saved” by saying a “sinner’s prayer” some time in their life when they have yet to experience genuine spiritual birth and become “new creation” in Christ, with a new nature that loves and obeys God resulting in radical changes in their lives. Perhaps this contributes to the weakness of the church? a mixture of saved and unsaved folks creating problems… I read somewhere the stats can be as high as 50% of church members/attendees are unsaved. What do you think?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Kim,
      I think for most churches the percentage would be much higher. The gospel is rarely preached in most churches.

      • Rob Dressel says:

        How true! I come out of darkness. Then our Lord gives me a lot of exposure to many who are preaching another Jesus. I memorized James 1 and tried and tried to be a Christian. After 35 years of being tossed to and fro by the sleight of men, which today is to my benefit. I will never ever again mingle the ministry of Jesus, Peter John and James with the thirteen personal intimate epistles that the apostle Paul wrote from the revelation of Jesus Christ. I am a Simple man from Skynard to Jesus who was fully God and had to become fully man to know how we suffer temptation. Man the anticipation of His blood sweat tears onto the 5 scars of grace that defeated the 5 I will’s from the devil. Devil spelled backwards is lived. Lucifer lived in the pureness of God’s magnificent kingdom, got prideful and was thrown to the ground. “Defeated Foe” When Lucifer came after God the mystery that was hid (sealed) in God before the foundation of the world is His twofold plan and purpose for the counsel of His own will. In the beginning God created the heaven and earth, which Santa Claus – (move the n to get satan who will endure the feast of maggots ) has polluted His kingdom worse than the smelliest sewer that we have to sometimes smell. Israel will be redeemed on the earth and we gentiles (all nations) any individual alive on this corrupted globe believes the true story of the cross. I am crucified with Christ; never the less I live; but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh; I live by the faith of (from) the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Faith in is where they are introduced to the sinner’s prayer. It becomes the individual’s faith. The world asks a lot of why this and why that in God’s infallible written Word. My question is to the next skeptic are stiff necked preachers who continues to teach lies for none other than filthy lucre. (TBN) The Blasphemous Nation – Jan and Paul are dead! Paul died the very same day Paul Walker died in His burning Porsche. Prosperity gospel will endure the likes of maggots eternally where the worms do not die. Here is to Benny Hinn. I am coming to one of your crusades to offer you a poisonous cocktail that will not hurt you. Are you ready Benny to be exposed to Mark 16? Yes, you all are falsely performing miracles that was only specifically given to the 12 chosen. Yes, they could drink poison and live. My cocktail is going to invite you eternally to your new maggot crusade. Who is your audience now Benny? Oh no maggots and more maggots! Shame on you for using our Lord’s name in vain to live like Holly Weird! Believe it or not Benny I do pray for the bondage the devil has so many of you celebrity preachers in. Why would a God who is without sin write in this manner in Paul’s 13 epistles. Did you know that once you believe of the faith in Christ you are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise? We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavens. We are complete in Christ. We are baptized (inducted) into His death. Our Conversations are in heaven. Jesus gave Paul his unity of His spirit. One body, one spirit, one faith, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one baptism, and one God and Father who is above all, and in you all. How do we begin to measure the gift from God which was wrought in Christ? “Impossible to measure” “simple to believe” Paul did not write Hebrews. Hebrews was written by someone who knows all about Israel – a priest of a holy nation. Paul never mentions any of the words, which you will find in Hebrews. better (12x) priest (34x) promise (17x) sanctuary (17x) perfect (12x) blood (20x) covenant (12x) no other book uses the word new covenant which is what is being described throughout Hebrews. We are positioned in the heavens, complete in Christ – waiting for His glorious appearing – they (remnant of Israel is waiting to receive a kingdom – waiting for a city – going to receive a better covenant, Here is the ultimate. Why would God tell me that I am complete in Christ and nothing can separate me from the love of God. Then in Hebrews that God preserved without the author being known would write in Hebrews 10:26 If we willfully sin after receiving the truth – there remains no more sacrifice for sins. God is not a liar – man is. If this was pertaining to the gentiles. Would anybody receive sacrifices for there sins? No! God does not contradict His Amazing true Word. NOTICE THE FIRST WORD IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS – none other than “God” We do when we thing in anyway we are spiritual Israel. Do not mix fire to gasoline. Better, yet do not mix God’s twofold plan that he purposed for His pleasure according to the counsel of His will. Rightly divide the Body of Christ which is our eternal home and Israel’s home is the New earthly Jerusalem is the remnant of Israel and the twelve tribes of Israel. The owner of this website is a bulls eye to God Genius Plan. I did not post scripture. Look in Gen, Jer, Mark, Col, Eph, Phil, and you will find my paraphrases in the 1611 authorized version of the KJV. Lonnie is batting a thousand, so Lonnie keep hitting the home runs as the questions come – in. Probably not the best of seasoning with grace – just the bold truth!

  8. Kim N. says:

    Hi Don, you wrote:

    “Why did God not accept Cain’s offering? Because God had revealed that to come to him one had to offer a blood offering (Genesis 3.21). Cain chose to disobey and disbelieve God. He wanted to come to God and be accepted by God his own way. He refused God’s revelation. Abel, on the other hand, believed what God had said. Because he believed, he obtained righteousness.” This is a common interpretation.

    I would like to offer a different view.

    In light of Leviticus chapters 2 and 5, especially Lev. 5:11 the Word reveals either animal offering or grain offering was acceptable to the God of Israel. The Lord was so gracious that if the poor could not afford a lamb, they could bring two turtledoves or young pigeons; if they still could not afford the birds, they could bring some fine flour with no oil nor frankincense as a sin offering… I had tears in my eyes when I read Lev 5:11. The Lord is so accommodating. This tells me that God rejected Cain’s offering not because Cain did not offer an animal but because Cain offered out of an obligation, without faith.

    Abel’s sacrifice was offered in faith and was accepted. Please note that
    Abel and Cain had different occupations, Abel, keeper of the sheep; Cain a tiller of the ground. Vital is the matter of faith, not a bloody animal nor fruit from the ground.

    I would appreciate your feedback on this interpretation. Thank you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Kim,
      The Scriptures have nothing good to say about Cain. Cain was not under the Mosaic Law so it cannot be applied to him. A blood offering was the basis of redemption. God made provision for the poor under the Law but that was long after Cain. Furthermore, Cain was not poor. Hebrews 11.4, reads, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Abel’s sacrifice was “more excellent” because it was a blood sacrifice. Abel approached God by faith in offering it. Cain revealed he had no faith by rejecting the blood sacrifice and offering vegetables. Faith is believing what God has revealed. Cain rejected God’s revelation.

  9. Raj kamal says:

    i am raj kamal from india .paul all so teach in The kingdom of god ,gospel that saves (Acts 19:8).what meaning ? pls ans

    what is different between kingdom of god and kingdom of heaven? and what meaning Matthew 13 ?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Raj,
      Paul focused upon the things the Jews knew. In Acts 19.8 his audience was Jews. His task was to convince them Jesus was the Messiah, the rightful King. The kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven can be the same depending on the context. The kingdom of heaven always speaks of the earthly kingdom anticipated by the Jews. Most of Jesus’ parables dealt with the kingdom of God. He spoke in parables to hid truth to those who had hardened their hearts.

  10. Raj kamal says:

    are you bro belive “Hyperdispensationalism ?and your teaching is “Hyperdispensationalism pls say?

  11. Raj kamal says:

    thanks for your reply.thats means what use for 4 gospel for church ? jesus teaching no belivers ? means what use jesus teach ? pls exp .and pls say any book name for this teaching.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Raj,
      The gospel today is the gospel of grace (Acts 201.24). One is saved today by believing Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom. That gospel focused upon His identity (cf. Matthew 16, John 11), not His finished work.

  12. Raj kamal says:

    bro what does meaning of matt 16;18-20. what church ?
    4 gospel
    Hebrews–
    James–
    1 Peter-
    2 Peter
    1 John–
    2 John
    3 John–
    Jude–
    Revelation- this all books does not use for church ?now
    i am not against your teaching.i am from india no more proper bibleteach.so i want learn to you. so pls answer.and your teaching very new for me and our church and my country

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Raj,
      Paul stated ALL Scripture is God-breathed and profitable (2 Timothy 3.16) so we must use all the Scriptures. However, while all Scripture is for us, not all Scripture is TO us. Jesus ministered to Jews under the Law in His earthly ministry (Romans 15.8). Jesus ministered to the Church, the body of Christ, in His heavenly ministry through His revelations to the apostle Paul. The “church” of Matthew 16 was Jews who had believed Jesus was the promised Messiah–true Israel. The word ἐκκλησία simply means an assembly of people. Its meaning must be determined by its context. The Church, which is His body, did not exist until Paul. Please see my articles, The Church (the body of Christ), Paul’s “Mystery”, Why Paul?, etc.

  13. Raj kamal says:

    thanks bro this question answer,
    Hebrews–
    James–
    1 Peter-
    2 Peter
    1 John–
    2 John
    3 John–
    Jude–
    Revelation- this all books does not use for church ?now and i will read for you say article thanks

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Raj,
      The audience of these books was Jews (James 1.1; 1 Peter 1.1). The books are profitable (as Genesis-Malachi) as they are Scripture (2 Timothy 3.16) but they are not TO us. Paul alone wrote to Christians for he was the apostle of the Gentiles.

  14. Theresa says:

    No one in this present age of Grace is required to repent?? .?. I am a believer, saved by Grace but I also believe a person must repent… Not that works are required but that you caint just accept your Gift of eternal life and then just continue living the same old way… Am I wrong?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Theresa,
      Paul spoke of repentance for believers, not unbelievers. There was no one more adamant that believers should live holy lives than Paul. He used repentance once in his letters with reference to unbelievers (Romans 2.4). Paul emphasized belief as opposed to repentance for unbelievers. Repentance is implied but not emphasized as it was for John the Baptist and Peter.

  15. Roger Spielmann says:

    Hello, Don. You wrote, “Paul’s gospel was that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. He received his gospel, not from Peter or the Twelve, but by direct revelation from the risen Christ. The language Paul used to refer to his gospel revealed that he regarded it as his own.”

    Are we merely to accept this proposition by faith? (that Paul had a direct revelation from Christ). Or just because he said it’s true? I’m still unsure why we a priori accept Paul’s experience as true. Are the teachings of Jesus no longer relevant to Christians? Paul seems to have thought so. He never referred to the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, only to the instructions he received in a vision and subsequent “revelations.” I understand you believe that Paul is the “Founder of Christianity,” but looking around at the brand of Christianity practiced today (following Paul) is depressing. You contend that the teachings of Jesus were exclusively for the Jews and that Paul’s “revelations” and writings are what Christians should follow today. It seems that your theology constrains you to come to this conclusion. The flip side of the coin is that Paul corrupted the message of Jesus of Nazareth right from the start. Ask any reasonable Christian if they follow the teachings of Jesus or Paul. I have, and most reply “both.” But you can’t have it two ways. Your reasoning that God implemented a “new” gospel with Paul is based on early church tradition, it seems to me.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Roger,
      Well, what is the basis for accepting anything as true? Why accept what is in the Gospels? Why accept what is on the TV news? 99.99% of what we see or hear we cannot independently verify. Descartes was driven by total skepticism, hence, cogito ergo sum. But this dog just won’t hunt. It is hopelessness. My theology derives from what the text says, not vice versa. I think we’ve been over this territory. Peter verified Paul–not that it was needed. Paul’s life verified him. Timothy, Luke, Ananias, and countless others verified Paul.

  16. Roger Spielmann says:

    You wrote, “99.99% of what we see or hear we cannot independently verify.” What? Of course we can — and do all the time. Maybe I missed your point.

    So, you’re right; we disagree. I’ll let the matter rest. I wonder how Christianity would look today if we based it on Jesus’ teachings in the synoptic gospels? No need to respond. Just wondering.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Roger,
      How Christianity would look if we based it upon the synoptics is largely how it looks today. For 90% of the churches 90% of the time the message is from the Gospels. If teaching from the gospels was consistent, salvation would be based upon keeping the Mosaic Law, water baptism, and faith. Jesus also declared if one did not forgive, He would not forgive. It would also be almost entirely to Jews with only a few Gentile exceptions. The teaching from the gospels is DO and live. The teaching Paul received from Lord was LIVE and do. Without Paul there is no identification with Christ, no Rapture, no Church, the body of Christ, no salvation by faith alone, etc. As to the 99.99%, think about it. Of the hundreds of news stories every day, how many of them did you witness? How many can you verify independently. For most of us, the answer is “none.” We accept the authority of the report by faith.

  17. Tommy says:

    Hey Doc.
    In Gal.1:6 Paul says “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel”.Then in vs.7 he says “Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Isn’t he talking about the gospel that Peter preached since he said “which is not another “, and if so, isn’t Paul saying they preach the same gospel?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Tommy,
      Galatians was written a few years after the Jerusalem Council (51 A.D.). There, they agreed Paul’s gospel was the only gospel. Apparently, some did not accept this and were still trying to add the Mosaic Law to Paul’s gospel (cf. Acts 15.1, 5). See my article, The Great Hinge. Eventually, Paul lost all of Asia to these people and this began the perversion of Christianity which we have now in full flower.

  18. Derrick says:

    Hi Don, are you certain (Genesis 3.21) is the proper reference in the paragraph regarding Cain’s offering? I don’t see the correlation there. Thanks!

  19. Derrick says:

    Hi Don, after reading Raj’s questions above, I believe I can empathize to an extent with his ambiguity. In particular, with the statement that all of the bible is not written TO us. I’m beginning to understand which parts were to us but I feel that I sometimes struggle with what to do with the parts that were NOT written to us. And quite honestly, I feel it’s an important topic that, if expounded upon, would go a long way in putting all of this together and truly making it intelligible. In reading other comments throughout your articles, other sites, and personally discussing it with friends, it’s evident that many seem to either be new to Pauline doctrine/rightly dividing/dispensationalism), they are not aware of it, or they think it’s blasphemous. Why do I feel that I see this so clearly yet multitudes upon multitudes, including pastors and churches worldwide for centuries, seemingly overlook these passages? How/why do they avoid or talk their way through the “contradictions?”

    I also would love to know how your studies and the application of the Scriptures have impacted your life in a practical, day to day manner. How has it changed your prayer life? Do you pray differently and how has it changed your interaction and ministry with people offline? Thank you!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Derrick,
      The answer of why some see right division and some don’t is because most of Christendom is bound up in tradition. They are no different from the Jews of Jesus’ day. If you want to understand this better, I recommend Cornelius Stam’s book The Controversy, now renamed Holding Fast the Faithful Word. For me, nothing is more practical than theology. Nothing is more wonderful that seeing things clearly. Nothing is more wonderful than to seek and then find. The more clearly I understand the Scriptures, the greater God becomes in my life. My gift is teaching and writing. I am able to exercise this gift more effectively with clearer understanding of the Scriptures. As far as prayer is concerned, I pray differently as a result of understanding Paul is our apostle. His prayers are models for how we should pray as Christians.

      • Derrick says:

        It’s probably not a coincidence that you recommended that title. I read the Berean Searchlight and just several days ago, I noticed a reference to it. Thank you brother for your gifts and thank you Lord!

      • esteves says:

        Good article … I been defending paul gospel for a well. Its so sad that pastors do not see difference between Paul vs Peter; they do not Rightly divide the word of God 2 tim 2 : 15 kjv when they do they will see things differently, yet they don’t want to expect things that are different. My email address is kjv1611rebelostephen@gmail.com

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Stephen,
          Thank you for the encouragement.

        • Joe Geranio says:

          You keep defending esteves…. People will not like you for it, they will think your crazy or even get angry, but its only by the Gospel Paul was given by revelation, we stand. 1 Cor 15:1-4, and Galatians 1.

  20. Brandon says:

    Hi Don,

    Your site and the way you present the word of God is really a blessing, it takes away so much confusion.

    I have a question though, something I came across recently.

    It’s a question I saw online about 1 corinthians 15. It says in the first few verses, ”according to the scriptures”, and the question is ”according to which scripture?”.

    Which scripture do you believe paul is reffering to?

    Thank you, Don

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Brandon,
      Thank you. Few Scriptures discuss the Messiah’s death and His work of redemption in the OT and were not understood until after Christ’s death. See Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, 16.10. God took care to shroud these passages in secrecy for the particulars of man’s redemption had to be concealed due to Satan’s opposition. Satan clearly did not see Christ’s death on the cross as the means of his defeat and man’s redemption.

  21. Luis says:

    Hello Don,

    I have a question regarding the thief on the cross and his salvation. You mentioned that in John 3 the “water” Jesus refers to is baptism. How is it that the thief on the cross obtained salvation without water baptism since it was a requirement under the gospel of the kingdom?

    -Luis

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Luis,
      Obviously, the thief had lost the opportunity for water baptism. But the Lord saw his faith. God reserves the right of exception. He did not minister to Gentiles in His earthy ministry but did respond to the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman. See my article, Two Remarkable Healings.

  22. Jerry Shaw says:

    Is Dr. Ironside in error????

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Jerry,
      In his book, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, Ironside denied several things he himself had taught. If you want a good account of Ironside’s duplicity, read Stam’s The Controvery aka Holding Fast the Faithful Word. One can see how great men made themselves small.

  23. Bobbi says:

    Don,
    I found this page on prayer in the grace age. It is interesting. And there are specifically things we can pray on that I don’t always think of. Here is the link. Thank you. Grace and peace to you.
    http://www.matthewmcgee.org/prayer.html

  24. Frank says:

    Hi Don

    Faith in Christ is not “inviting Christ into your heart” or “accepting Christ as your personal Savior.” Such “invitations” are false gospels without Scriptural basis.

    That Christ may dwell in your hearts …. (Eph. 3:17) How then does Christ dwell in our hearts without these invitations?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Frank,
      This passage is a result of salvation, not how one is saved. It speaks of Christ’s control of our lives after one is saved. One is saved by believing the gospel, that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4), not by “inviting” Christ in one’s heart.

  25. Vanessa says:

    Hello Don, Is the church the body of Christ referred to as male and is the kingdom church referred to as female. Cannot find any teachings and this question also comes from Vernon. Thank you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vanessa,
      Christ is male. We are part of His body. The kingdom “church” is His wife/bride. So, in this sense, there is male/female in the picture of salvation. That is about all I can say.

  26. Elena Nash says:

    Does not the Kingdom of God belong to the Jews and others who have survived the 70 th week of Daniel?
    Does the Body of Christ, the believeing Church inhabit the Kingdom of Heaven (the New Jerusalem)?
    Also, please expound on what we (the believers) do when we sin. I know for a fact I sin every day, but I will not allow sin to rule my life. Matthew McGee says “we should never ask God for forgiveness.”
    I am very slow and it’s hard for me to keep things in mind because I have a certain problem called, Korsakoff’s Dimentia”.
    .. This condition results in actual holes or separations in the “white matter” of the brain which does not allow much information to be retained; save for only a short time. it should not be confused with having a selective memory.
    It”s a consequence of my behavior that I deserve.
    I bookmark a lot of what you teach but some of it I can’t.
    This is so I don’t have to keep asking you the same things over and over again. It bothers most people.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Elena,
      Paul does not spend much time on this. He basically wrote believers to correct sin and to encourage us to live lives consistent with our salvation. He encourages us to let the Holy Spirit control us. When we sin, he wrote we are to repent. We do not ask God for forgiveness. Why ask for something God has declared we have? That is insulting to God. That is why 1 John 1.9, which most of Christendom says believers should practice, makes no sense. It was written to Jews under the kingdom program, not to members of the body of Christ. We clearly have to recognize our sin and acknowledge it. Then we must repent and allow the Holy Spirit to control us. But the great, wonderful, glorious news is that God has forgiven us (Ephesians 1.7, 4.32; Colossians 1.14, 2.13). He is in the business of changing our “want to” to conform us into the image of His Son (Romans 8.29). As for the kingdom question, believing Jews and Gentiles who have survived the Tribulation will enter the kingdom. OT believers will be resurrected and enter the kingdom and the 12 will occupy their thrones (Matthew 19.28). It is not clear where the Church, the body of Christ, will be during this time. By the time of the new heavens/earth, it appears both Israel and Church will come together.

  27. Vernon Gray says:

    Hi Don,
    Acts 15:7 says “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.”

    The words “Gentiles (plural)” and “by my mouth” suggest that Peter also preached to the Gentiles. How does one answer this?

    Thanks,

    Vernon.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vernon,
      Peter was recounting his experience in meeting with Cornelius and those in his household (Acts 10.7, 44-48). We have no record Peter ever went to other Gentiles. The account in Acts 15 confirms this.

  28. Vernon Gray says:

    Hi Don,
    Hi Don,
    My second question is what did Paul mean when he said in Rom 16:7 “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”
    If Paul was the first, how could they be “in Christ” before Paul?

    Thanks again,

    Vernon.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Vernon,
      While the phrase “in Christ” is almost exclusively used by Paul, it is used 2x by Peter: 1 Peter 3.16 and 1 Peter 5.14. Thus, being a member of the Church, the body of Christ is not absolutely congruent with being “in Christ.” Paul used the phrase to refer to believers before him and before the creation of the body of Christ. Paul wanted to recognize Andronicus and Junia as two who had become believers outside his ministry and before him.

  29. Jamie says:

    Hi Don,

    Great site. My question is what were the apostles preaching for the 17 years that Paul was preaching the gospel of grace to the gentiles. The obvious answers are clear but how is this backed up with scripture. (other then Galatians 2/Acts 15)
    Thank you for all the work you put into this site.

    Jamie

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Jamie,
      Based upon the testimony of the early chapters of Acts to chapter 15 they continued to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom. They hoped Israel would repent. There is a tension here between reality and possibility. The die was cast at Stephen’s stoning but God’s judgment did not fall until 70 A.D. This is clear from Paul’s salvation and commission shortly after this.

  30. Daniel says:

    If one habitually sins afta believing, is his salvation secured or its nt jxt possible 2 continue insin after bin saved?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Daniel,
      All of us sin after salvation. The question really becomes how one views this. No true believer will continue in sin. He will be miserable.

  31. Gary Crisp says:

    Hi Don, I have been a follower of “doctrine” for quite a while now and this is the first time I have written. I really appreciate the numerous articles you have written and especially how much knowledge you have regarding the grace gospel. I just wanted to say thanks for sharing what the Lord has shown you, it has been a great help to me and to our Bible study. God bless you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Gary,
      Thank you for your kind words. They are especially refreshing and encouraging since I just received a comment from a reader consigning me to the Lake of Fire for eternity.

      • Vanessa says:

        Lol at the Lake of Fire comment. Don even with all whats going on we can still laugh. Thank you, that made us laugh. Loved it.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Vanessa,
          Thanks. Isn’t it wonderful God instilled us with a sense of humor? It is a saving grace in a fallen world.

      • Gary Crisp says:

        Don, thanks for sharing how insensitive people can be. I feel sorry for those who are unable to rightly divide God’s Word. There was a time much earlier in my walk with the Lord that I had no understanding that the gospel that Jesus taught along with the Twelve, and we can’t leave out John the Baptist, all taught a gospel that was different the gospel the apostle Paul taught.
        Let’s pray that the individual who dealt with you so harshly will find help and believe I Cor.15:1-4 for their salvation. There is definitely hope, it’s there for us buy faith is required.
        Thanks so much for sharing Don, we love you!

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