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But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. ~ Acts 20:24, ESV
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God’s power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek ~ Romans 1:16, AMP
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ~ Romans 2:4, ESV
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel ~ Galatians 1:6, ESV
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. ~ Ephesians 3:7, ESV
The word Gospel generally is accepted to mean the “good news.” Additionally, the word Gospel also is used today to describe a type of music, the people who sing this type of music, the body of writing that deals with Christ Jesus’ life and teachings, the books of the New Testament that are considered synoptic, a portion of the New Testament that is read during a “church” service (a lection), the sermons about salvation or redemption, a teaching or revelation of Christ Jesus, and/or a set of principles and beliefs.
More important, though, is the fact that, according to the way that the apostle Paul uses the word kindness in Romans 2:4, it appears that the whole “good news” or entire Gospel message centers on this Divine Truth: It is the graciousness or “Kindness of God” that leads to repentance. Furthermore, what is amazingly remarkable is that the apostle has presented this Divine Truth about the full Gospel or “good news” message in one verse!
For sure, wrapped up in one verse is the Divine Truth that God obviously intended for His Kindness, which Jesus the Christ demonstrated through His atoning sacrifice, would turn sinners away from their life of habitual sinning. In other words, God’s plan of salvation took into consideration that true repentance (or a genuine change in the way the mind thinks about the Perfect Will of God) only could come about from the revelation(s) of God’s Kindness! That’s why God chooses to show that it is truly a graciously patient God who offers in place of His deserved anger His Gifts of Forgiveness, Love, and Kindness, choosing also from eternity to reveal His Kindness through the preaching of the Gospel of Grace. By showing that He is slow to get angry, God is giving humans more than enough time to repent. Knowing that sincere repentance is God’s ultimate goal no doubt is why the apostle Paul proclaims in Romans 2:4 that the unquestionable “good news” message is that it is NOT condemnation and judgment that will change humans’ desires for the things of this world to desires for contentment and joy in God, but rather it is seeing and hearing about God’s Kindness!
From this one-verse Gospel (see Romans 2:4), it is easy to see how Paul relates the Gospel to the Grace of God. Since Grace and Loving-Kindness are two of many English translations for the Greek word charis, when the apostle Paul says, for instance, that he wants “…to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24b), he also definitely is saying that the Grace of God not only is interchangeable with the Gospel but also interchangeable with the Gospel of Grace, the Gospel of God or God’s Gospel, the Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of His Son, and the Gospel of Peace.
Throughout the majority of the New Testament, it is the Gospel of Grace that the apostle Paul speaks about the most. He leaves no doubt that out of the fullness of God’s Grace (Loving-Kindness) comes the person of Christ Jesus, whom God freely and unreservedly gave to human beings who not only don’t deserve to receive His Grace but also won’t ever earn God’s Grace, even though this Grace of God is their greatest need. Moreover, the apostle Paul seems to be suggesting throughout the New Testament that the Gospel of Grace looks like, sounds like, walks like, talks like, and lives like Christ Jesus, and that is because Christ Jesus is Grace personified! Also according to the apostle Paul, the Lord is the One through whom all believers repeatedly receive God’s Grace, time and time and time again!
Once more, to the apostle Paul, the Gospel IS the Grace of God, and the Grace of God is Jesus the Christ and EVERYTHING His atoning sacrifice purchased. That’s why it takes the Grace of God to activate the power of God (the Holy Spirit) for salvation. In other words, it is both the free Gift of the Grace of God (Jesus the Christ and His atoning sacrifice; the Gospel of Christ; the Gospel) and the free Gift of the Power of God (Holy Spirit) that generate the free Gift of Salvation, which includes forgiveness of sin, healing, prosperity, deliverance (from eternal death, from the power of demonic influences, from depression, etc.), and liberation (as in being saved/rescued from danger or destruction).
Now whenever anybody preaches and teaches something other than the Gospel of Grace (other than Christ Jesus’ atoning sacrifice), the apostle Paul declares that he or she is preaching and teaching a different kind of gospel. Whenever anybody preaches and teaches that someone or something other than Christ Jesus (other than Grace through faith) saves, he or she also is preaching and teaching a different kind of gospel. Therefore, since God is the One who decided that Christ Jesus would be the ONLY ONE who could pay the price for the sins of this entire world, this Divine Truth is why Christ Jesus (or the Gospel of Grace) also is the only true Gospel—the only authentic “good news.”
For all of these above reasons, it is impossible to substitute any kind of human activity for God’s Grace. In other words, it is impossible for people to buy their way into Heaven—to use their money to purchase their salvation. Likewise, it is impossible for people to use their own “good” works to save themselves. The bottom line is that there is NOTHING human beings can give or do to obtain salvation, because God also is the One who decided that by His Grace He would give His free Gift of Salvation to the entire world (see Acts 15:11; Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:5, 8).
Be that as it may. Today there are many “religious” leaders who are preaching and teaching a different kind of gospel. The gospel these “religious” leaders are presenting basically is their own set of rules—their own dos and don’ts. They say: You must read your Bible; you must only attend “their” church; you must pray so many hours a day; you must fast so many days; you must pay your tithes; you must “increase” your faith; you must give more money (to “increase” your faith so that God abundantly will bless you); you can’t worship with “those” people; you can’t listen to “that” music; you can’t watch “that” movie or “that” television program; you can’t wear “those” clothes, and so forth. The message that these “religious” leaders’ dos and don’ts sends is that believers have to act “good” by doing only those “good” works these “religious” leaders say they must do. In other words, these “religious” leaders are saying that it is by these mentioned “good” works that believers will make themselves “good” people. This message clearly isn’t the “good news” Gospel, which is why it is a different gospel.
Everything anybody would ever need to be saved Christ Jesus provided by way of His life, death, burial, and resurrection. For this reason, the Gospel not only is a belief in salvation but also an understanding about how salvation is obtained, which is by God’s Grace through Faith in Christ Jesus. That’s why the Gospel not only is “good news” for the sinner, but also “good news” for Christians, as well as “good news” for the sick, the healthy, the poor, the wealthy, the inmate, the free man/woman, and so forth.
Lastly, since there are different gospels that are being preached or taught, believers have to be very sure that the Gospel they are listening to is indeed the Gospel of Grace. If believers in the apostle Paul’s day, and now, didn’t have to be careful to not fall for the different kinds of gospels, then the apostle Paul wouldn’t have needed to warn the Galatians and modern-day believers about paying close attention to anything that adds to or subtracts from the “good news” of the Gospel of Grace. The apostle makes it clear that everything that adds to or subtracts from the “good news” of the Gospel of Grace most definitely will be a falsification or misrepresentation of the true Gospel of Grace (see Galatians 1:6-7)! A word to the wise should be sufficient!