What is the gospel?
Is it just this: The Gospel. Big fat period inserted after. Not exactly.
The Gospel OF the Kingdom of Heaven.
There is a kingdom that is ruled by Jesus Christ. There is a kingdom ruled by Satan. There is a kingdom of life and there is a kingdom of death.
Those who believe in Jesus are passed from death to life. This is true.
The gospel of the kingdom of heaven is simple, and to state the fullness of it does not take away from its simplicity.
The gospel of the kingdom of heaven is this:
Through Jesus Christ, the kingdom of heaven (life) dwells with man, freeing man from the kingdom of Satan (death).
This is salvation from death and condemnation.
That is the simplicity. Now, let’s break it down.
This “good news” has multiple applications, presently and in the future — all of which are the gospel. This includes the present-day kingdom of heaven that rules in the hearts of the faithful. This also includes the coming kingdom of heaven when Jesus returns and overthrows Satan (the son of destruction). In both cases, the faithful remain with Jesus and we pass from death to life — unto life eternal.
The punishment for sin is death. We have all sinned, therefore we must all die. None is worthy of eternal life. Jesus, the Son of God, took our punishment for sin onto himself on the cross. By this sacrifice, we are forgiven. Jesus also rose from the dead and sent the Holy Spirit. Through the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of Truth) Jesus enters the hearts of man so that we too are raised from the dead. The process of having our hearts filled with truth and power to perform truth is the process of freeing us from the kingdom of death (ruled by the father of lies).
The kingdom of God is “within you.” If God is within you, sin should have less and less dominion over your life. As we cease from sin, we cease from doing things that bring death. If we continue in the faith and seek Jesus, we will naturally grow and bring forth fruits of life (fruits of the Spirit).
All of this is given by grace through faith in Jesus alone. By grace because it is the will of God to those who are unworthy and can never do anything of their own ability to be made worthy. By faith because we hope for what we do not yet see. Though we struggle with sin, though we do not yet see all things put under the feet of our King, we know that one day all death will be destroyed and we will live forever.
Through Jesus alone because He is the Son of God — He is the Word of God — He is Life in contrast with the son of death aka the son of perdition (destruction) aka Satan.
Put another way:
The One with keys to this kingdom is the Son of God. Those who believe in Jesus are made free from the kingdom of hell and enter into service of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus dwells with man — inside the hearts of man who believe in Him — thereby freeing the hearts of man from the kingdom of Satan. In so doing, we are passed from death to life.
The gospel is not:
Claim salvation by “confessing Jesus” once then go on to live sinfully without regard for righteousness because you are forgiven by grace, then when you die you will go to heaven. If you don’t “accept Jesus” you will go to hell when you die and be tortured forever.
This is more like Satan tempting Jesus to throw himself off of the pinnacle of the temple. This is more like Satan tempting Eve when he said “You will not surely die.”
However…God is merciful. Just because someone believes in traditional ideas does not mean they are rejected by God. Many sincere Christians believe common teachings, yet they love Jesus and go on to bear much fruit for the kingdom. We should never peg any Christian as falsely converted. We are in differing stages of growth, and the knowledge of a Christian that matters most is this: love one another. Learn what that means — not according to this world but according to Jesus — and you will be fruitful.
Those who cannot receive Jesus are in hell already. They are in the grave. Though they live, they are dead. They have no forgiveness or remission (healing) of sin. They are judged by their works and destroyed in the lake of fire (the second death). Those for whom God is showing great mercy are given faith in Jesus graciously. We are graciously freed from this present hell which we deserve to be consumed by. We are graciously freed from the everlasting destruction that we deserve. We are graciously made alive. We are graciously made faithful servants of the kingdom of heaven.
If we remove The Kingdom of Heaven from the gospel, there is no gospel. There is a sweeping pit for many to fall into — and many do.
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 (2 Corinthians 11:3)
This is true. However, Satan also corrupts by promoting half truths. The full gospel is not an over-complication. It is the truth that makes us free.
It does not matter how gifted a teacher, preacher, or prophet so-called seems to be; if they cannot preach the gospel, they need to repent or else they have no business in ministry at all.