Understanding the Gospel – Part 2
Bibleway Christian Life Centre
Now we can see that the New Testament plan of salvation (Gospel) involves personal death, burial and resurrection with Christ, it is necessary to look with more detail at each aspect of this New Birth. The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is applied to a person’s life as he repents of his sins (Death), is baptized in Jesus Name (Burial) and is filled with the Holy Ghost (Resurrection).
1. Repentance – Death to Sin
A. Repentance means to turn from sin and dedicate one’s self to the amendment of one’s life. The Greek word is metanoeo which signifies primarily a change of one’s mind, heart (feelings) and direction. (Acts 26:18, 20)
B. Without repentance it is absolutely impossible for a sinner to receive forgiveness of sins. (Lk. 13:3, Acts 17:30, 2 Pet. 3:9)
C. Repentance is the first act of faith (Acts 2:38, 26:20).
Genuine repentance always produces obedience to God’s word. If disobedience brought about the fall of man then obedience will give life back to man. Disobedience is a direct challenge to the sovereignty of God. However, at repentance one fully acknowledges the sovereignty of God and yields (surrenders) to his lordship. (Lk. 6:46)
2. Water Baptism – Burial of the Sin Life
A. Water baptism in the New Testament was institute by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 28:19-20, Mk 16:15-16)
B. Both Jesus and the apostles taught that water baptism is absolutely essential to salvation. (Acts 2:38, 1 Pet. 3:20-21, Jn. 3:5, Mk. 16:15-16, Matt. 3:13-15, Acts 22:16)
C. Water baptism should be administered by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “baptism” comes from a Greek word “baptizo” which means to dip, to plunge or to immerse. Therefore sprinkling is not the correct mode for baptism. In Matthew 28:19 we are instructed by the Lord to baptize believers “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost”.
1. NB: There is one Name common to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Apostles of our Lord understood that Name to be Jesus Christ. This is why they baptized in his Name. (Acts 2:38, 8:16, 10:47-48, 19:1-6, 1 Cor. 1:13)
2. The early church acknowledged the fact that the fullness of the Godhead was in Jesus. (Col 2:8-9, 2 Cor. 5:19, 1 Tim. 3:16)
3. Hence for them the name of the Godhead was Jesus Christ. (Is. 9:6)
D. Water baptism is for, not because of the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, Mk. 16:16, 1 Pet. 3:21)
E. Water baptism in Jesus Name represents the burial of the sin life. (Col. 2:12, Rom. 6:4)
3. The Baptism with the Holy Ghost – Resurrection unto New, Eternal Life
A. The baptism with the Holy Ghost was predicted (foretold/prophesied) by Old Testament prophets. It was preached by John the Baptist and was promised by our Lord Jesus Christ. (Joel 2:28, Is. 28:11-12, Matt. 3:11, Jn. 14:15-26, Acts 1:4-8)
B. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was first given on the day of Pentecost (Jn. 7:38-39, 16:7, Acts 2:1-4, 12-21)
C. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is the birth of the spirit. (Jn. 3:5, 1 Cor. 12:13, Rom 8:8-9, Acts 2:38-39)
D. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is initially evidenced by the speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. (Acts 2:4, Acts 8:14-19, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:6, Jn. 3:8)
NB: Because the baptism in the Holy Ghost is the birth of the spirit, it is absolutely essential to Bible salvation. However, it ought not to be viewed as a goal, rather as a gateway, for through it God will endue and equip you for his service as well as fill you with the resurrection power of an overcoming life.
The New Birth described by Jesus in Jn. 3:3-5 is clearly fulfilled in Acts 2:38, where Peter answered the salvation question. Any Gospel message that does not tell a person how to be born again is clearly false, for Jesus said:
“Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:5)
Anyone who preaches a false, i.e. misleading, gospel that does not include the essential elements of death, burial and resurrection with Christ is automatically brought under a curse.
“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” (Gal. 1:8)
Repentance, baptism in Jesus Name and receiving the Holy Ghost are not works of the law or of the flesh, but rather they are the work of faith. James said:
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith if it hath not works is dead.” (Jam. 2:20)
Because faith is a living, powerful and motivational substance, it is only by obeying the Gospel that we are saved by grace through faith. The loving kindness of God has made salvation possible to all mankind through the work of Christ at Calvary, but the work of Calvary is only applied to a person’s life as he, by faith, obeys the Gospel.
Some, no doubt, will argue that if a person is not saved until they identify with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, that we are preaching salvation by works. The truth is that we are saved through the works of Christ and by allowing His work to take effect in our lives.
Understanding the Gospel
1. What does the word ‘gospel’ actually mean? __________________________________________
2. Fill in the missing words.
a) The New Testament in your Bible has as its central theme _________________________
b) This ________________ has at its centre
c) The Gospel is God’s means of bringing ______________________ to man.
d) Salvation saves the _____________ from sin’s ___________, effects and ____________
3. True or False:
The task of the church is to help the homeless. True/false
We are saved today by the gospel. True/false
We can never truly understand the gospel of Christ. True/false
There is no such thing as only one true Gospel. True/false
The gospel is made of both message and plan. True/false
The gospel message is we are all the children of God’. True/false
The gospel plan of salvation is to believe that Jesus loves you. True/false
The Acts 2:38 message can be found throughout the entire Books of Acts. True/false
This article ‘Understanding the Gospel – Part 2’ was excerpted from: Milk of the Word: Discipleship Manual by Bibleway Christian Life Centre. 1993. It may be used for study & research purposes only.