The Simple Gospel According to the Bible
by David J. Stewart | May 2014 | Updated December 2016Religion wants to fit us with glasses, but the Lord wants to open our eyes! Thank God for the truth of His precious Word, which is a lamp unto our feet. Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” America's churches influence the world, so if Satan can corrupt our churches here at home, then he can corrupt the world. The United States sends out more missionaries than any other nation. Sadly, there is MUCH heresy and false teaching circulating on the radio, television and in our churches nowadays concerning what a person must do to be saved.
What exactly is the Gospel? The word “Gospel” means “Good News” or “Glad Tidings.” There is no need to guess what the “Gospel” is because the Bible plainly tells us. The “Gospel” is the Good News of Christ's DEATH on the cross for our sins, His BURIAL and bodily RESURRECTION three days later:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “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.”
We are saved by BELIEVING “the Gospel,” which is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” It is that simple to be saved. If you admit that you are a needy sinner in God's sight, and you receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, believing that He was buried and bodily resurrected three days later, YOU ARE IMMEDIATELY, SECURELY AND FOREVER SAVED!!!
What About Repentance and Salvation?
In the Gospel of John, the words “believe” and “believed” are mentioned 85 times, but the word “repent” is not mentioned even once. Clearly, the person who BELIEVES has also repented. This is not difficult to understand, when you learn the truth that the Greek meaning of “repent” in the Bible to be saved is metanoia, which is simply “a change of mind.” Repentance is a change of mind unto the Gospel itself.
We learn in the Bible that God gave His law to humanity, to show us our sinnership. Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” The law of God shows us that we are guilty sinners in God's sight (see also Galatians 3:24-26). We are woeful sinners, deserving of death and punishment in the Lake of Fire (i.e., Hell). This is the BAD NEWS! No one ever got saved who didn't admit to being a sinner in God's eyes. 1st John 1:7, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” To be saved, you MUST realize that you are a guilty sinner for breaking God's commandments. We are all horrible sinners! We've all lied! We've all coveted! We've all sinned! Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” This is the BAD NEWS!!!
Repentance is simply the admission that I am as guilty a sinner as God has declared me to be in His Word. Let me make it very simple—YOU ARE A GUILTY SINNER IN GOD'S SIGHT, and unless you accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full-payment for your sins, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell.
What Repentance is Not!
Repentance is NOT turning away from sinful behavior, not reformation, not a desire to clean up one's life of sin, not forsaking the world, not turning over a new leaf, not a willingness to turn away from sin, not a change of heart toward sinful bad habits, not a change of life, et cetera. As we have already learned from examining the Greek word, metanoia, repentance is simply a change of mind. Acts 20:21, speaks of “repentance toward God.” Repentance is toward God by faith in the Gospel, evidenced by the hundreds of New Testament Scriptures that simply tell us to BELIEVE to be saved. For example: 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE.”
Also, please notice that the entire purpose for which the Epistle of 1st John was written, is so that “ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1st John 5:13). Yet, carefully notice that the apostle John doesn't mention the word “repent” even once in all of 1st John. THAT SPEAKS VOLUMES!!! If turning away from sinful behavior was required to be saved, then no doubt John would have made a big deal of it in his Epistle. And remember, “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2nd Timothy 3:16a). That means every word in the holy Bible came from almighty God!!!!!!!
Repentance is necessary for salvation, but it doesn't mean what many corrupt preachers are saying. False prophets on repentance include: John MacArthur, Billy Graham, Ray Comfort, Aiden Tozer, Jack Chick, William Lane Craig, Joseph Prince, David Cloud, Kirk Cameron, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Ellen G. White, Seventh-day Adventists, John Piper, Chip Ingram, Charles Lawson, Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Beth Moore, Charles Stanley, John Hagee, James Dobson and Franklin Graham, to name a few. Without repentance, no man would ever come to the light of the Gospel to be saved (John 3:20; 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4). It is not the act of sin itself that a person must turn from to be saved; but rather, toward God from their sins which have hindered them from believing the Gospel to be saved. Do you see the difference? We are not saved by repenting, we are saved by placing our trust in Jesus Christ!!!
So few people have a clear understanding of how salvation works. You cannot add or subtract anything to Christ's payment. Many churches today have been deceived by religious men, straying away from God's Word. Psalms 118:8, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” Roman Catholicism traditionally has a wrong view of repentance, which is what the modern English meaning adheres to. Look in any English dictionary for the meaning of “repentance” and you'll find something like, “To turn away from sins; penance; to feel remorse and contrition for past sins.”
This is not the Biblical Greek meaning of the word repent. The Greek meaning is “a change of mind,” nothing more. Since we don't know what to “change our mind” about, we need supplemental (additional) information, which is the whole reason behind God's usage of this beautiful word, metanoia. Metanoia is all-inclusive! It includes turning toward the Gospel from EVERYTHING!!! It is a false Gospel to teach people to turn from sinful behavior to receive the free gift of God, which is eternal life. Romans 3:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Unless you trust CHRIST ALONE for your salvation, you CANNOT be saved. I don't think Chip Ingram is saved. I also don't think Billy Graham is saved. They both require HUMAN EFFORT to be saved, that is, to try to stop sinning, which is a false gospel. Also, please read my rebuttal of Pastor Charles Lawson's heresy on repentance. If we have to change our sinful behavior to be saved, then we're all going straight to Hell. Repentance is a change of mind, not a change of behavior. A changed life is the FRUIT of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and not manmade repentance (Matthew 27:3). But you ask, couldn't a person still be saved even though they are confused about salvation? I find that hard to believe, because if you believe wrong then you trust wrong, and unless you are totally resting in the blood of Jesus that washes our sins away, then you haven't been born-again by the Spirit of God.
Please remember that a man named Cornelius in Acts chapter 10 was a devout religion man. Cornelius feared God, prayed, tithed and fasted, yet he was a religious lost man on his way to Hell. God sent the apostle Peter to witness to Cornelius and thankfully he got saved later in the chapter. God is good! Many good people go to Hell, because they fail to understand that no amount of goodness can cleanse away our past sins. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away a person's sins (1st John 1:7; Revelation 1:5; 1st Peter 1:18-19; Romans 5:9 - all Scripture quotes are only from the trustworthy King James Bible).
Beware of a Cross-less Gospel
There is a cross-less Gospel that has crept into today's churches which merely says to “trust Jesus” or “invite Jesus into your heart” or “commit your life to Christ” to be saved. You can do all of these things and go straight to Hell when you die. My friend, the Gospel truth is that Christ “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.” Surrendering to Christ's Lordship is NOT a requirement to be saved. Forsaking the world and having intent to reform is NOT a requirement to be saved. If you are trusting in the risen Christ, Jesus Who died in your place on the cross for YOUR SINS, then you are saved! It's that simple.
Now to clarify, no one ever got saved who didn't admit that he or she is a sinner! This truth is confirmed in Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” The Bible silences the boasting of self-righteous men who brag of keeping the law of Moses. We see the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-21, boasting that he had kept all of God's commandments “FROM MY YOUTH UP.” Then we see the unsaved group of religious people boasting in Matthew 7:21-23 of their own “MANY WONDERFUL WORKS.”
Ah, but the law of God was intended by God to be used as a measuring stick, by which when compared we see ourselves as A GUILTY SINNER in God's sight. This then leaves us with only one option if we would desire to enter Heaven one day in eternity, and that only option is to BELIEVE THE GOSPEL (the good news of Christ's death, burial and resurrection).
The Scriptures explain themselves very well. Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Repentance is a change of mind about what we want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says that we must do to get to Heaven. Repentance is simply admitting that I am a guilty sinner in God's eyes, realizing that I am totally incapable of saving myself in any way.
The man who comes to Christ has repented, which is the very reason he is coming to Jesus to be saved from his sins. Repentance and faith happen at THE SAME TIME, and are inseparable. Repentance without faith is mere reformation (turning over a new leaf), but is not Biblical repentance unless it is accompanied by faith in Christ. Judas repented (a different Greek word, metamellomaiin, meaning “to feel remorse afterwards, regret”) in Matthew 27:3, but still went to Hell in his sins. Judas had no faith in Jesus as the Messiah. Judas was sorry he got caught, but he hadn't realize that he is a guilty sinner in God's eyes for breaking God's commandments. Regret is not required to be saved. We are saved by BELIEVING the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!!!
Simply BELIEVE the Gospel to Be Saved
If you acknowledge your guilty condition and inability to save yourself, simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Who died in your place) and receive His payment (the Gospel) to be saved. That's how salvation works, that is, you cease from your own DEAD WORKS, and you simply REST in what Christ has done to pay for your sins instead. We are saved through believing; Jesus does the saving! We are saved by God's grace and mercy.
1st Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
You do NOT have to be water baptized nor doing anything to get to Heaven other than trust upon the Lord as your Savior. Romans 4:5 proclaims... “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him (Jesus) that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” What a wonderful truth! Our faith is COUNTED for righteousness! There is NO self-righteousness involved in salvation. It is the gift of God. You see, we have no righteousness of our own to offer God. No amount of good can undo the bad we've done. Thus, Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. Salvation is receiving, not giving. We are Sinners and Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is precious!
Unbelief is the only sin which can keep you out of Heaven.
Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it!
Trusting Jesus is meaningless without the cross. You must believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 teaches that the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God's simple plan of salvation is: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation by faith.
You say, “Surely, it cannot be that simple!” Yes, that simple. It is scriptural; it is God's plan. My friend, to have eternal life simply receive Christ as your sacrifice on the cross as full payment for your sins. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried and resurrected three days later. This is the gospel according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
If you've never been saved, then now is the time to believe upon the name of Jesus, the Christ, that your sins will be blotted out forever and you can know that your name is written in Heaven. Jesus died on the cross as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), He raised up from the dead as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15-16) to sprinkle His blood onto the heavenly mercy seat (Hebrews 9:12,24; 12:24), and then He sat down on the Father's right-hand as our Intercessor (Romans 8:34). What an awesome Savior!!!
Christ died for your sins. You are a sinner by nature and by choice (and so am I and everyone else). Jesus took our sins and charged them to His own record. He went to the cross and paid the penalty for our sins. He says if you're willing to receive Him in faith, He will transfer His payment to your debt, and His righteousness to your sins. He will impute to you His goodness, and impute to His own record your sin; if you in faith will trust Him as your Savior. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. WHAT IS THE GOSPEL? (by Dr. Harry Ironside, 1876-1951).
Please Don't Go to Hell Forever!
Religion is man trying to reach God through human effort, but Christianity is God trying to reach man by the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
Jesus doesn't forgive sins. That is correct! Jesus has already paid for our sins with His blood. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life are free gifts, which Christ has already paid for with His own precious blood. 1st Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” You don't get to Heaven by meriting anything. We are woeful sinners, who all deserve to burn in Hell forever. I don't claim to understand it all, but I believe the Word of God. We just read in Romans 6:23 that “THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH.” We earn death!
That includes a “second death” in Hell. Revelation 20:15 says, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” If you tell one lie, you are a “liar.” We have all lied!!! We all deserve to burn in the lake of fire and brimstone. The bottom line my friend is that whether or not you think you deserve to burn in Hell, YOU WILL if you reject God's free gift of forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.
1st Thessalonians 4:14, “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” It's that simple to be saved... “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again...”
Dr. Hank Lindstrom
Dr. Ralph Yankee Arnold
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“Repent, as Christ meant it
to be in terms of salvation, means to change your mind from
trusting in what you can do for God to trusting only in what He
can do for you.”
(beware of anyone who criticizes easy-believism and immediate baptism)
“Repent, as Christ meant it
to be in terms of salvation, means to change your mind from
trusting in what you can do for God to trusting only in what He
can do for you.”
Mark 1:15: “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
It's Not The Shedding Of Jesus' Blood That Saves, But The 'SPRINKLING' Of That Shed Blood