God's Definition of THE Gospel
Romans 1:1: "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God"
The Apostle Paul was set apart for "the gospel of God", not for miracles, running dynamic meetings, putting together churches, etc. All of these things are results of Paul doing what he was appointed to do: He was to preach, and teach the gospel to the nations. Why was this so important to God? Why did Paul work so hard and hazard his life to make known the gospel (2Corinthians 11:23-33, Colossians 1:28-29)? The gospel message teaches the children of God how to walk in His power, bringing us into the full deliverance that is in Jesus Christ.
What is The Gospel? We know from Romans 1:3 that it is the good news from God pertaining to His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, and Galatians 1:6-7 offers further enlightenment: “I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7)
These two verses (Galatians 1:6-7) offer a very simple and clear definition of the gospel. The gospel is:
1. GRACE: Unmerited favor, free, gift.
2. OF CHRIST: About Christ and the results of his work, not our works. (see also Galatians 1:4)
3. GOOD NEWS (this is the very meaning of the word 'gospel', it is good news, not bad news)
THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF CHRIST: This phrase incorporates information about Jesus Christ himself and his accomplished work, and it incorporates information about God's love for us and His unmerited favor to us in Christ. The Gospel is that which is about Jesus Christ, his redemptive work, and the effects, which include our unification with Christ and our new identity in Christ. This becomes evidently clear even upon a cursory peruse through Paul's letters to the church.
God has delivered us. He has delivered us FROM sin and its consequences and TO all spiritual blessings. We have been delivered FROM all that we were through Adam’s sin TO all that we are in Christ Jesus. We have been delivered FROM what we were before we believed on Jesus Christ TO what God says we are after we believed on Jesus Christ.
1Corinthians 1:30: “by God’s doing you are in Christ Jesus”. God made you who you now are. He planned it, arranged it and accomplished it through the work of His Son Jesus Christ. Now we either accept that these realities of the gospel are truth or we reject them. We either live by these realities in Christ or we follow a false system of logic and reasoning’s. Each of us must choose who we will follow as the lord of our life. God made Jesus Christ Lord. Christ is the truth, the good news of God. We submit to Jesus Christ as Lord by submitting to the gospel. You are placed in Christ by God’s doing. The gospel describes who you are RIGHT NOW!
2Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
YOU ARE A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST!
We truly are a “new creation in Christ!” “The old things passed away, behold, new things have come!" What are these “new things?” They are the results of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the specific points of the gospel. These new things are reality for us who have believed on Jesus Christ. As we are thinking and believing according to these new realities in Christ, we are walking “in Christ.” This is the walk of a son of God. This is how we “reign in life through Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) This is how we “walk by faith.” (2Corinthians 5:7)
Look at these new creation realities and keep looking at them until they become reality for you (see "The Christian's True Identity" for a fairly comprehensive listing of new creation realities). As you build these realities into the depth of your soul, they will live in and through you. You will become the powerful gospel of Christ in manifestation. These new realities in Christ are the basic building blocks for living as a son of God. Developing these new realities into our lives takes practice. For the most part the realm of the spirit is foreign to us, but with practice the realm of the spirit can become as comfortable as riding a bike or driving a car can become.
The Apostle Paul sent nine epistles (letters) to the Christians in general (The book of Romans through 2Thessalonians). These letters declare the gospel of the grace of Christ. They reveal what it means to be a new creation in Christ and how to walk in those realities. In other words, these "God-breathed" writings declare our true identity. Most people identify with their flesh; who they are apart from Christ. But the gospel speaks a different language. It speaks of a new you, a “you” totally identified with Christ. The nine "church epistles" help educate us as to the realities of the spirit. Christ didn’t come to change our behavior, but to give us new life, which, when yielded to develops Christ-like behavior.
How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself according to your new birth realities (according to the spirit)? Or do you see yourself according to your flesh (apart from Christ)? Our true answer to this question determines the fruit that is produced in our lives. We were totally identified with our flesh from God's perspective; but now, He sees us as he sees Christ. The cross really is that big. We just need to believe it. God is always right. Staying put on these new realities in Christ reconditions our thinking patterns and our walk with God to reflect the results of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Do you see yourself as identified with Christ, or with your flesh?
And we need beware, a very common, yet subtle twist to growing up in Christ is behavior modification. Behavior modification is pressed upon the church as a spiritual counterfeit. We hear things like, “If you want to be Christ-like then act like Christ.” While this sounds godly to untrained ears, this most common attack is to keep you from growing up in Christ. What you DO does NOT determine your identity any more than acting like the opposite sex changes your gender. Your identity is determined by Christ’s work in your behalf, the “new things” that have come, not by what you do. The right lifestyle will follow, we act according to what we believe. So who are you?
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