The Gospel According To The Scriptures
by David J. Stewart | May 2016Religion wants to fit us with glasses, but the Lord wants to open our eyes! Thank God for the truth of His precious Word, which is a lamp unto our feet (Psalm 119:105). America's churches influence the world, so if Satan can corrupt our churches here at home, then he can corrupt the world, because the United States sends out more missionaries than any other nation. Sadly, there is MUCH heresy and false teachings circulating on religious radio, television and in our churches nowadays concerning what a person must do to be saved.
2nd Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
It seems that we are hearing everything except the simple Gospel these days. For example: It is a false teaching to tell someone to “Invite Jesus into your life to be saved.” That is not the Gospel. Another false teaching is to tell people to “Ask Jesus into their heart to be saved,” or to “Follow Jesus” or “Say 'Jesus is Lord' to be saved.” But the biggest lie (Burger King is not the only one selling Whoppers!) is the false teaching that a person must “Turn away from sins to be saved.” None of these constitute the Gospel. You could do all of these things and yet still not be been born-again. The Gospel is referred to in our text verse as THE SIMPLICITY THAT IS IN CHRIST!
There is no need to guess what “the Gospel” is because the Holy Bible plainly tells us:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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.”
There we have it! The Gospel is Jesus Christ's DEATH on the cross for our sins, His BURIAL, and bodily RESURRECTION three days later for our justification. That is “the Gospel.” We are saved by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL. Salvation is incredibly simple, by simply receiving the Gospel by faith when you hear it:
Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
In Galatians 3:2 the apostle Paul says he only wants to know ONE THING... How did you get saved? (i.e., Paul wanted to know how they were indwelt by the Holy Spirit). Was it by doing the works of the law (turning away from sins), or was it by putting your faith in the Gospel when you heard it preached? We are saved by receiving the Gospel by faith (Hebrews 4:2).
What About Repentance?
There is much theological debate over the meaning of Biblical “repentance.” May I say, there is no mention of repentance in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. Clearly, the man who believes has also repented. We find the words “believe” and “believed” mentioned 85 times in the Gospel of John, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. Again, this evidences that the person who believes the Gospel has also repented. “Repentance” which in the Greek (metanoia) means “to think differently.”
The Bible tells us in Mark 1:15b, “repent, and believe the Gospel” to be saved. Luke 5:32, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” In Luke 5:32, the noun “repentance” comes from the Greek word, metanoia. The verb form of the word, “repent,” is metanoeo (which is used in Mark 1:15). The English word for “repentance” and “repent” are very different than the Greek meaning used in the Word of God. For this reason many theologians consider “repentance” a mistranslation in our English Bible. The modern English definition for “repentance” means “to feel deep sorrow, regret, to turn away from sin or do penance.” In sharp contrast, the Greek meaning of “repentance” and “repent” used in the Holy Bible is simply “a change of mind, to think differently.” Hence, in Luke 5:32 Jesus is preaching for sinners to change their mind and believe the Gospel.
Of course, when metanoia is used as a command, i.e., to repent (“change your mind”), we need to know what to change our mind about. The word metanoeo itself does not tell us what to change our mind about. The answer is the Gospel itself.
I do not agree with the unbiblical use of sacraments in the Episcopal Church. However, the following explanation of metanoia by Episcopal Pastor Eli Brayley is superbly written, with which I agree wholeheartedly:
Simply put, metanoia is a word filled with remarkable meaning by the preaching of Christ and the apostles. It is not a word that comes replete with it's own meaning. The English word "repentance", on the other hand, comes filled with it's own meaning - it needs no supplementation by context. Repentance means to feel remorse or regret for your sins; it's Latin root literally means "pain; suffering in view of being liable to punishment". Metanoia has no such meaning associated with it. The word is Greek, and it is made up of two words: meta & nous. Meta means "after" or "change", and nous is the Greek word for "mind". The word means "after-mind" and signifies a change of mind: thinking one way, but then afterwards thinking another. It is the opposite of pronoia (pro-nous) which means before-mind: the mind or thinking you have before. Interestingly, there is another Greek word we frequently use in English that is related to metanoia: it is paranoia (para-nous). Literally, the word means to be beside-mind, or we would say "out of your mind", or "beside yourself". Paranoia is not being in a right mind, but having a mind that is off center - that is, not where it should be (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=paranoia). If you compare metanoia and paranoia together, you get the idea of what the New Testament call for metanoia is: it is a command to change your mind and get it where it should be.
Of course, metanoia, when used as a command ("change your mind") needs supplementation by context; it needs to be filled with more information because we need to know what we are supposed to change our mind about. It can be something small (metanoia about how to spell "judgment"), to something enormously large (metanoia about your religious worldview). The sky is the limit with metanoia, and that is precisely the point of the remarkable function of the word in the New Testament. It is not restricted, like "repentance", to a narrow meaning of pain and sorrow for sin, which we then have to force unnaturally to fit with the gospel. It is a change of mind unto the gospel itself. The gospel is what the change of mind is about. The preaching of Jesus and the apostles speaks to the nous and men change or don't change their mind as they hear it. When a man changes his mind at the preaching of the gospel, he has experienced metanoia. Thus, the proclamation of metanoia at the beginning of the New Testament is the doorway into the entire rest of the doctrine of the New Testament: Change your mind! About what? Listen! A radical mindshift in the religious world is about to happen... no, it is happening now... What we thought about God and the law and righteousness and forgiveness is all about to change. Hear! Metanoia and believe the gospel!
New Testament metanoia is a divine call to a radical mind-shift in the way men think about religion. Therefore "repentance" is an entirely unsatisfactory translation of the amazing word "metanoia" which gives a completely different feeling to the preaching of Jesus and His apostles. Was the major proclamation of Jesus and the apostles "Repent! Feel sorry for your sins"? Or was it "Metanoia! Think a new way"! Do you see what a difference these two words make? Which one is in keeping with the gospel of grace as we know it from the New Testament? Not the first, but the second. The gospel calls us to a new way of thinking about religion. Whereas men think that they are good, and that obedience to the law is the way of salvation, and that the law only requires partial obedience, and that most people won't perish, Jesus calls us to believe that there is none good, and that no one will be saved by obedience to the law, because the law requires perfect obedience, and that broad is the road that leads to destruction. The apostles call us to believe that the cross of Christ is the power and the wisdom of God, the only way whereby we are saved, and live, through faith, while the world thinks that the cross is foolishness. Which word best summarizes this kind of preaching: "repent", or "metanoia"? Certainly not the first, but the second.
SOURCE: The Great Meaning Of Metanoia
“The Gospel” is what the change of mind is about. As the writer of the preceding quote correctly says, the Greek word “metanoia” is not restricted, like our English word “repentance,” to a narrow meaning of pain and sorrow for sin, which we then have to force unnaturally to fit with the Gospel. It is “a change of mind” unto the Gospel itself. The Gospel is what the change of mind is about. The preaching of Jesus and the apostles speaks to the mind (nous) and men change (meta) or don't change their mind as they hear it. When a man changes his mind at the preaching of the Gospel, he has experienced metanoia. Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit [i.e., the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Here we very clearly see that a man is saved simply by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL. When a person hears the preaching of the Gospel, they either change or don't change their mind. If you continue in unbelief, then you remain lost in sins. If you change your mind to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL, you are immediately and forever born-again (saved).
To clarify, repentance is absolutely mandatory for salvation. John 3:20 makes clear that without repentance no man would ever come to Jesus Christ by faith to be saved. John 3:20, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” John 5:40, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” When a man “repents,” he changes his mind toward God, acknowledging his sinnership in the eyes of a holy God; thus, receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for his sins, believing that He raised up three days later from the dead, he is saved.
Again, the Gospel (Good News) is that Christ DIED on the cross for OUR SINS, and He was BURIED, and He bodily RESURRECTED three days later. We are all sinners! The penalty for our sins is death. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Ah, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. What an awesome God and Savior!!!
Acts 20:21b teaches “REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, and FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST” [emphasis added]. Notice that repentance is “toward God,” not “away from sin.” Thus, the Bible tells us to THINK DIFFERENTLY TOWARD GOD AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!!! Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” The law of God is as a measuring stick, by which when men are compared they utterly fall short of God's glory (which is total moral perfection). God's law (Ten Commandments) shows us our inability to save our self and points us to the dear Savior—Who is the innocent Lamb of God—Who can save us by the precious blood that He shed for our sins on the cross—Who raised up triumphant from the dead three days later—Who ascended into Heaven to sprinkled His literal blood on the Mercy Seat in the Father's presence on our behalf (Hebrews 9:12, 24; 12:24). This is Christ's work of redemption which has made eternal life a free gift for all mankind!
Jesus doesn't forgive your sins; but rather, He paid for them on the cross, which makes forgiveness entirely a gift. The “gift” of forgiveness of sins has already been paid for completely, you simply need to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!!! You don't have to “ask” God to save you, because He has already offered and promised “TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21b). Amen!
So few people have a clear understanding of how salvation works. Let me make it very simple. YOU ARE A SINNER and unless you accept Christ's payment for your sins on the cross, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell. You cannot add or subtract anything to Christ's payment. Jesus paid the price of our sins in full with His precious blood (1st Peter 1:18-19). Religion is man trying to reach God through human effort, but Christianity is God trying to reach man by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
Please remember that a man named “Cornelius” in Acts chapter 10 was a devout religion man. Cornelius feared God, prayed, tithed and fasted, yet he was a religious lost man on his way to Hell. God sent the apostle Peter to witness to Cornelius and thankfully he got saved later in the chapter. God is good! Many good people go to Hell, because they fail to understand that no amount of goodness can cleanse away our past sins. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away a person's sins (1st John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 1st Peter 1:18-19; Romans 5:9 - Note: All Scripture quotes are only from the trustworthy King James Bible).
There is a cross-less Gospel that has crept into today's churches which merely says to “trust Jesus” or “invite Jesus into your heart” or “commit your life to Christ” to be saved. You can do all of these things and go straight to Hell when you die. My friend, the Gospel truth is 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.” Surrendering to Christ's Lordship is NOT a requirement to be saved. Forsaking the world and having intent to reform is NOT a requirement to be saved. If you are trusting in the risen Christ, Jesus Who died in your place on the cross for YOUR SINS, then you are saved! It's that simple.
Now to clarify, no one ever got saved who didn't admit that he or she is a sinner! You need to know what you are being saved from. Again, this truth is confirmed in Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” The Bible silences the boasting of self-righteous men who brag of keeping the law of Moses. We see the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-21, boasting that he had kept all of God's commandments “FROM MY YOUTH UP.” Then we see the unsaved group of religious people boasting in Matthew 7:21-23 of their own “MANY WONDERFUL WORKS.”
Ah, but the law of God was intended by God to be used as a measuring stick, by which when compared we see ourselves as A GUILTY SINNER in God's sight. This then leaves us with only one option if we would desire to enter Heaven one day in eternity, and that only option is to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL (the Good News of Christ's death on the cross, burial and resurrection).
The Scriptures explain themselves very well. Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Repentance is a change of mind about what we want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says that we must do to get to Heaven. Repentance is simply admitting that I am a guilty sinner in God's eyes, realizing that I am totally incapable of saving myself in any way.
I love what Pastor Brayley said in the quote I shared with you earlier:
“The sky is the limit with metanoia, and that is precisely the point of the remarkable function of the word in the New Testament. It is not restricted, like 'repentance,' [in the English language] to a narrow meaning of pain and sorrow for sin, which we then have to force unnaturally to fit with the gospel. It is a change of mind unto the gospel itself. The gospel is what the change of mind is about.” [comment added]
SOURCE: The Great Meaning Of Metanoia
What the repentance or change of mind is about must be determined by the context. For example: Hebrews 6:1 speaks of repentance from religious “dead works.” A man who has been blinded by the Devil through false religion needs to change his mind from trusting in dead works to believing the Gospel. If a man has been hindered from getting saved by love for sin, then he must change his mind from denying his sinful condition to acknowledging his sinnership and need for the dear Savior. In other words, repentance is changing your mind about whatever has been hindering you from getting saved. Certainly, repentance always includes the admission that one is a guilty sinner in God's holy eyes.
The Bible speaks of “repentance to the acknowledging of the truth” (2nd Timothy 2:25). I love that Scripture. Repentance is acknowledging the truth of the Gospel. It is acknowledging the truth that I am a guilty sinner in God's eyes. It is the realization that religion cannot save me. The word “metanoia” encompasses anything and everything that hinders people from believing the Gospel. Whatever is keeping a person from being saved . . . REPENT (change your mind) AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!!! The object of repenting is ALWAYS believing! We are saved by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL, not by turning away from anything. Anyone who says to turn away from sins to be saved is preaching a false Gospel. To be saved, a person need only change their mind, not their lifestyle or actions.
Repentance is not a separate act from belief. The man who believes has also repented (changed his mind). This is why we find the words “believe” and “believed” mentioned 85 times in the Gospel of John, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. God does not expect anyone to repent “change their mind” about committing sins, asking them to forsake sinful bad habits, and purpose in one's heart to turn away from sinful living, as a prerequisite to receive the free gift of eternal life. If you understand the important Biblical doctrine of THE IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, then you know that there can be no requirements nor obligations whatsoever for the Gospel to be valid.
Salvation is without works, which means that a person doesn't have to purpose in their heart not to sin as much as they used to, to be saved. The ONLY thing that a person needs to “REPENT” (change their mind) about is whatever has been hindering them from coming to Jesus Christ by faith to be saved. You come to Christ by BELIEVING THE GOSPEL!!! John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
The man who comes to Christ has repented, which is the very reason he is coming to Jesus to be saved from his sins. Repentance and faith happen at THE SAME TIME, and are inseparable. Changing one's mind without faith is mere reformation (turning over a new leaf), but is not Biblical repentance unless it is accompanied by faith in Christ. Judas repented (a different Greek word meaning to feel remorse afterwards) in Matthew 27:3, but still went to Hell in his sins. Judas had no faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Judas was sorry he got caught, but he didn't believe the Gospel.
God Does the Saving, All of it!
If you acknowledge your guilty condition and inability to save yourself, simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Who died in your place) and receive His payment (the Gospel) to be saved. That's how salvation works, that is, you cease from trusting in your own DEAD WORKS, and you simply REST COMPLETELY in what Christ has done to pay for your sins instead. We are saved through believing. God does the saving, all of it!
1st Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
You do NOT have to be water baptized nor doing anything to get to Heaven other than trust upon the Lord as your Savior. Romans 4:5 proclaims... “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him (Jesus) that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” What a wonderful truth! Our faith is COUNTED for righteousness! There is NO self-righteousness involved in salvation. It is the gift of God. You see, we have no righteousness of our own to offer God. No amount of good can undo the bad we've done. Thus, Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. Salvation is receiving, not giving. We are Sinners and Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is precious!
Unbelief is the only sin which can keep you out of Heaven.
Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it!
Trusting Jesus is meaningless without the cross. You must believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 teaches that the Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I repeat many things purposely, because repetition is the key to learning.
God's simple plan of salvation is: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive the gift of forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation by faith.
You say, “Surely, it cannot be that simple!” Yes, that simple. It is scriptural; it is God's plan. My friend, to have eternal life simply receive Christ as your sacrifice on the cross as full payment for your sins. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried and resurrected three days later. This is the gospel according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
If you've never been saved, then now is the time to believe upon the name of Jesus, the Christ, that your sins will be blotted out forever and you can know that your name is written in Heaven. Jesus died on the cross as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), He raised up from the dead as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15-16) to sprinkle His blood onto the heavenly mercy seat (Hebrews 9:12,24; 12:24), and then He sat down on the Father's right-hand as our Intercessor (Romans 8:34). What an awesome Savior!!!
Christ died for your sins. You are a sinner by nature and by choice (and so am I and everyone else). Jesus took our sins and charged them to His own record. He went to the cross and paid the penalty for our sins. He says if you're willing to receive Him in faith, He will transfer His payment to your debt, and His righteousness to your sins. He will impute to you His goodness, and impute to His own record your sin; if you in faith will trust Him as your Savior. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” It's that simple to be saved... “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again...” The way you get saved is by receiving the Gospel. If the Gospel (Good News) of Christ's death on the cross for your sins, His burial, and bodily resurrection three days later is your only hope for Heaven, then you are saved!!! John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” Again and again, repeatedly, we are taught in the Scriptures that salvation is obtained simply by BELIEVING the Gospel. God made it very simple for anyone to go to Heaven, so simple that 3,000 people can be saved in one day! Just believe the Gospel, Oh sinner! END
Nobody can love God who doesn't love
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)
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