All too often I hear people talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ yet something is off. How many of you remember receiving mail from Publisher’s Clearing House and it said something to the effect that you may have won 10 million dollars. They did everything they could to package it and dress it up to try to make one think, hey this really may be possible. They often hid the fine print that declared the odds. Overall it was just a gimmick to sell magazines. They were using what seemed like good news to get something out of you. Too many times our gospel presentations are the same. They are dressed up to look like good news but can’t and won’t actually deliver.
Let’s look at some examples of false good news.
1) God might love you but He also might hate you
2) God may have selected you for salvation (but he rejected the vast majority).
3) God sent His Son to only die for the elect.
4) God expects you to turn from your sinning to be able to receive the gift of eternal life.
5) God expects your faith to include commitment to discipleship.
6) God gives salvation to all who trust Christ for it based on the gospel but if you stop believing at any point you lose it by forfeit.
7) Salvation can be lost if you sin too much
8)Sinning too much means you are never really one of the pre-chosen.
9) If you desire to be saved from the penalty of sin then start praying now that God will grant you repentance faith, and perseverance etc.
10) God expects you to make a public confession in order to receive the gift of eternal life
11) God expects you to do good works to help earn eternal life.
12) God will save everyone so don’t worry about it
13) God will regenerate you if you are the elect and at some point you will repent, believe, and live right. (Happy fruit inspecting and introspection to see if it has happened yet.)
14) Btw… of course all true believers will (fill in the blank with a behavior or practice) tithe. (So start giving 10 percent plus or you know the story… you may not really be saved – guilt, guilt,guilt…manipulation using fear, and verses taken out of context).
15) God expects you to be saved just by believing in Christ’s name (crossless gospel) but nothing else needs to be known about Him or what He did.
If you have changed the gospel into bad news then I suggest you go back and look at the actual good news. After all, the word “gospel” itself means just that… good news. It then should get our attention when someone twists it into something bad. Such as Calvinists with their idea of election or crossless gospel advocates who leave out basically all of the pertinent information. The good news allows a person to KNOW now that they have eternal life! It can be known from the very moment they believe. If they are waiting around to know, then it wasn’t really good, or, complete news—was it? My view is that the gospel of Jesus Christ ought to be be best news we have heard or ever will hear. So let’s consider:
1) All of mankind is born in sin and is under the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God in the lake of fire). Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
2) Mankind has no way to escape that fate without a Savior.
So then we have the good news:
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Jesus told Nicodemus that He would be lifted up on a cross and that the world might be saved through Him. And, this actually took place as the apostle Paul gave testimony:
1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6 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.
1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
In the book of Romans we see that the law can’t save but that faith in Christ will.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Romans 4 goes on to confirm that just as Abraham was justified, so can we be justified by faith.
Rom 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Rom 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Those who add elements of sanctification, Christian living, obedience, or law, to the gospel are changing it into bad news. Look back at Romans 4:4.
Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
The good news allows a person to KNOW now that they have eternal life! It can be known from the very moment they believe. If there is waiting around to know then it wasn’t really good or complete news was it?
Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
If we don’t have peace positionally with God, are we dealing with a good news gospel? How does hand wringing, fruit inspection, begging in remorse etc indicate positional peace in practice? Or that our salvation is secure? Where is there any rejoicing in a message that leads to the conclusion that you cannot know if you have eternal life??
Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Rom 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Rom 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Believers in Christ based on the gospel have received the atonement. It is finished in Him. Praise the Lord for that!
Please beware of those that teach a bad news gospel and feel free to comment with any other false or bad news gospels that you have heard. If you have any question about these, please let me know.
Blessings in Christ,
Yeah, too bad. Let me know next time you are coming around this way. I could also introduce you to maybe a few guys from my church. Take care.
Jim Floyd I see you just posted on expreacherman so I thought I would drop u a note.I was in your town in august with my two boys and brother in law, we rode our Harleys to the ss badger and floated across the lake had a great ride through your town and up over the bridge.We ate in little bar and grille across from where they were building a new building I think a new courthouse right downtown.I thought what a shame to not meet you being that close but maybe some other time.Glad you found a good church.
Thank you for a refreshing article. I used to say that the news broadcasts are full of bad news. Now I am saying that more bad news is found in churches today because they are distorting the gospel of grace. Blessings.
I totally agree Holly. Sad but true. People that presume that they are already saved by works have little need to be saved by faith alone.
You sure covered a lot of error that is out there….
They pound the pavements to convert others to their way of thinking and unfortunately make twice the sons of hell.
I am glad to hear that Brad. Churches like ours are sadly few and far in between. My prayer is always that many will see the error around them and leave the places that have become harbors for false gospels and those that promote them.
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Well said. Galatianism is rampant today in varying forms.
Churches and Ministries that are pure grace if you will are few and far between.
This blog is a great blessing.
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To the commenter called “The Gospel is Christ”
“I believe our works in sanctification is fruit of our justification.” (How is that so? The result of our justification is being declared not guilty before God.)
“A truly regenerate man cannot go on sinning like a man without Christ.” (Why not? Unless you believe in one nature of the believer – not two.)
“This is by no means a forced works salvation.” (So you are saying we will choose to do right.. but how does that fit with “cannot”. Don’t you mean “will not choose to”? And that is incorrect anyway because what did many of the Corinthian believers choose to do? They chose to live in sin and had to be rebuked for it. So did many in the book of James – ch 2 – 4. Also look at I John ch 1 where they were Christians but some were even denying that they still sinned and were told to confess I John 1:9 to be cleansed of their unrighteousness… as believers.)
“Rather it is a matter of willing obedience.” (This still does not jive with “cannot”. We should willingly obey but we cannot Biblically say we will. If that were true then the Bible could have been much shorter and many of the passages admonishing believers not to sin could have been left out.)
“A Christian loves the Law and rejoices in it, not to break it, but rather to act by it as thanksgiving and living spiritual worship to God in response to the Cross.”
(The law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Christians now are under grace and disciplined by grace. I don’t know about you but I rejoice in the grace that God has given. When I walk in the Spirit, putting on the new man, I don’t have to worry about law keeping.)
“Not at all forced (that’s legalism), but desired, which is living faith and a fruit of true repentance.” (What does repentance mean in regards to receiving the gift of eternal life? … Does it mean turning from sins or changing your mind to trust Christ alone as Savior based on the gospel I Cor 15?)
The following verses you provided do not back up what you are advocating.
“(Romans 12:1-2, James 2:14-26, 1 John 2:3-7, 1 John 3:23-24).”
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
(Paul is telling them to present their bodies a living sacrifice… which implies that they could also do otherwise or were currently doing otherwise. If they were already doing it then why tell them to? The same thing goes for not being conformed to the world. It was important for Paul to say this because they could have been and many were conformed to the world…as believers.)
James 2:14-26 (Is one of the most misunderstood passages of all time. It has to do with how believers should live not with how they will live. We ought to do good works but just as these that were being admonished, we at times can have dead faith(useless for the benefit of others, useless in testimony).
1Jn 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1Jn 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
1Jn 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
1Jn 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
(Consider I John 2:1. Why would the writer say that yet sin not if they weren’t as believers sinning or would not as regenerate people ever choose to? “If any man sin” (speaking of believers) they have an advocate – Christ. This fits with I John 1:9 and other verses. We can know that we know Him. This does not mean that we can know that we are believers this way. It is talking about our knowledge of Him in our ongoing relationship or walk with Him. Paul says in Philippians 3:10:
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
Paul is not meaning “That I may be born again” as he was already a believer. He was talking about growing to know God better. You can think of “know” in this sense the same as the word “understand”.)
For I Jn 2:4 compare it to:
1Jn 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
(If we as believers say we have no sin we are not telling the truth. People who tell you that they have obtained sinless perfection are liars in practice… but though still may be believers. They may just be in denial being self-deceived. Vs 7 “if we walk” this is talking about our ongoing walk in progressive sanctification and the ongoing cleansing because of the blood of Christ.)
I Jn 2:5 then is saying “in him” meaning abiding in Him in our ongoing Christian life – not in Him in the first place positionally.
1Jn 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
1Jn 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
(This is not saying we should believe and love one another to be saved. “Love one” another has to do with walking in the light as He is in the light as we saw earlier in the book. This is dealing with sanctification and the ongoing Christian life. So is V24 where it is talking about abiding. Believers and have the Spirit’s indwelling but lack at times the Spirit’s filling. We don’t always abide as we ought. We know this in part because the Bible instructs us to abide… as believers.
So I do not see any verse that you have stated that actually backs up your position.
What verses say in effect: “A truly regenerate man cannot go on sinning like a man without Christ.” ?
The gospel is simple.
Understand you are a sinner deserving of God’s wrath.
Understand that Jesus Christ (God the Son came into the world taking on flesh). That he lived a sinless life and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. His resurrection proves that He was sinless and is an living and risen Savior that we can trust in alone for our eternal salvation (deliverance from sin’s eternal penalty). You are saved then from this penalty the very moment you trust Christ for your salvation. No works or good works have anything to do with it. That is what Eph 2:8-9 is all about. I pray that you either trust Christ alone as Savior or reassure yourself of that truth based on the object of our faith – Jesus Christ and not upon your works or perceived fruit. We should do good works then as believers Eph 2:10 but because we are motivated out of love for a loving Savior not out of duty and fear under a heartless task-master. The Christian life if lived under grace and motivated by love is a sure delight. There need not be any fearful toiling under the OT law. To do so would be to fall for Galatianism. It also creates a bad news gospel.
Rom 5:10 saved by his life is one of the verses I use when Im speaking to lordship salvationist.Unfortunately thats the only Gospel believed around here.Im convinced they just cant see that there adding works to a free gift.I think the most common problem is with the word repent.I have explained that repentence is included when you trust Christ but Im not convincing anybody that has a church background.I possibly have made some think about what they believe about the Gospel as I give them Am I going to heaven tracts if they will accept them, I guess the Gospel is good news to all who believe it.I dont know what it means to the lordship salvationist except each one has their own version of what has to be added on to faith as they dont believe that is enough.Anyway good to hear from you Jim.I also finished the grace cd and listened to some twice, its good to hear from others that believe in free grace thanks.