Monday, February 9, 2009

The Gospel

My youngest son takes things very literally. He has Asperger's Syndrome. So this weekend he wanted to know what the Gospel was. I gave him the literal answer. Here it is for you too, just as a refreshing drink from a cold spring.

God clearly states the entire Gospel in I Corinthians 15:1-6, "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: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep."

There are three main points to the Gospel and they are:

1) Christ died for our sins
2) He was buried
3) He rose again the third day

There is one all-encompassing reality that God repeats twice in these verses, "...according to the Scriptures...." Just in case you thought you could find salvation any place else, God says, "No," it is found right here in the Bible.

He warns us further about this in Galatians 1:6-9, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."

Simply stated, there are no other gospels but this one given in the Word of God.

Some people complain that declaring only one way to heaven is narrow-minded. To the contrary, it should be welcomed for its simplicity. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." This is the offensive saying, yet I persuade you that it is instead the widest door ever presented to mankind for it is clearly marked, has remained open for all for over two-thousand years, and has no conditions attached to it for entry. All the guesswork is gone for no human requirement predicates it. This is made known to us in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

This question of works is critical to the unsaved for they always ask, "What must I do to be saved?" The answer is, nothing. Salvation is not of human works. Why not? Why can't man choose his own way to heaven? Why only through Jesus?

God says the first reason is boasting (read human pride). If salvation were of man, even a tiny bit of it, man by nature would boast (take credit for it). God says He will not share His glory and He will not have any other gods before Him. That's the first Commandment.

Another reason that I suggest to you is for the sake of simplicity. If there were indeed many ways to heaven, how would you know which one was right? How would you know with absolute certainty? How would you know to the point that you would stake your very life upon it (and perhaps the lives of your friends and family as well)?

Many years ago a friend of mine, a Jehovah's Witness, enjoyed a period of dialogue with me on this and many subjects of Christianity. But then came the day, as it does with all Jehovah's Witnesses, when their elders command them to make their choice between joining the Society and forsaking all (contact, discussion with, attendance) other forms of "Christianity". I knew this day would come as it does for all those initiated into the Society. I begged him with one last question.

"Are you willing to take this step, knowing full well from both your scriptures and mine (even their version of the Bible has this truth in it), that hell is real and that without Jesus Christ as your Savior you are guaranteed this eternal damnation?"

You see, the Society does not believe in hell and eternal punishment for sin. So my friend thought he had nothing to lose. But I asked him again, "Are you sure? What if I am right? You lose everything!" Sadly, at the time, he was not persuaded by the Gospel. He believed another gospel, and as God said in Galatians 1:9, both the preacher and the believer of that false gospel are accursed.

To the remnant I say as Paul did in II Corinthians 11:2-4, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."


Daniel said...

Mr. Caldwell,
There are many things that could be discussed, but I'll just pick two. As True Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses do in fact believe that without Jesus we have no hope of salvation and we do in fact believe in eternal punishment. What is not taught in scripture therefore we do not believe in is eternal torment. There’s a difference. Jer. 7:31 says, . 31 And they have built the high places of To´pheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hin´nom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.’ Dan

Lawrence J. Caldwell said...

I perceive that since you are reading my blog, you have not yet been asked by the Society to make your final choice. Otherwise you risk severe consequences from them should they learn you are associating with outside influence.

I would prefer that you do either way. That preference is not based on a desire to continue debate or discussion however. That experience with my friend was too painful to bear again.

The verse you quote is completely out of context. It refers specifically to the sacrifice of one's children to a false god. This is clearly not the will of God. However, it has nothing to do with eternal punishment or torment.

I will not mix words with you for even your Bible has sufficient truth in it for you to be saved. I will be more than happy to discuss with you the Truth of the Bible, but not from the perspective of the Society. Theirs is false teaching that according to I Timothy 6:5 that I both reject and withdraw from. Specifically this is according to any of the extra-Biblical words of the Society including Awake, literature from the founders such as CT Russell, and the New World Translation.

Daniel said...

Mr. Caldwell,
Oh, I made my final chose 30 years ago. FYI when I studied with the Witnesses I used the King James Bible. I have a Google alert set up that sends me links to what others are saying about us and I blog because if I’m reading this then other people are. In regards to Jer. 7:31, was fire the only way to offer ones children to false gods? Why did Jehovah God choose that example? The concept of eternal torment is not new to Christendom. Hell is found in Greek mythology, which was greatly influenced by the Babylonians, which corrupted the worship of the Jews. Isa 2:6 "For you have forsaken your people, the house of Jacob. For they have become full of what is from the East,…”

Lawrence J. Caldwell said...

There are many passages that deal with the abominable fire sacrifice of children:

Leviticus 18:21 (Molech)
Deuteronomy 18:10
II Kings 16:3

I do not see what any of this has to do with eternal torment or punishment. Its proper context specifically speaks to an abomination before God. The sacrifice of one's children in any form is wicked and contrary to God's commandments.

And God forbid that you or I or anyone else who names the Name of Jehovah God should take it in vain or associate it with the wickedness of Greek mythology. Sadly, Christendom has enough myths of its own to deal with that have blotted the Church and dishonored our Lord.