Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Gospel of Gods Grace

"The Greek word from which the English word "Gospel" was translated literally means, "a good message, or good news." It was in use before the writing of the New Testament, but it was very obscure. In my research, one commentator said there were only two times in all of Greek literature where this word was used.

This is because it really meant more than just "good news." It was more like "nearly-too-good-to-be-true news." It was a superlative that was so fantastic that it was seldom used. However, this sensational word perfectly described what Jesus did for us; therefore, it became a common word among New Testament believers.

Today, most Christians think the word "Gospel" is just a word that identifies religious things. They relate preaching on the wrath of God and impending judgment as the Gospel, but it's not. It's true that those who don't accept the sacrifice of Jesus will spend an eternity in hell, but that's not "good news."

That's certainly not "nearly-too-good-to-be-true news." The Gospel is the "good news," that despite our sins and the judgment we deserve, God has provided complete redemption for us. Even more specifically, the word "Gospel" describes the grace that enables us to receive this forgiveness. If I told you that I had a gift of a million dollars for you, that would be good news.

That would be nearly-too-good-to-be-true news. What if I put down difficult or impossible stipulations as things you must do to receive that money? Then it would cease to be a gift. Your performance would be required so you would actually be earning the money. All your joy over the "gift" would fade away as you despaired of meeting the criteria. You would probably be upset with me.

It would be better to have never been offered the money than to have it dangled in front of you and then placed out of reach through impossible demands. That's the way it is with salvation. Just saying that Jesus provided salvation for us is not truly the "nearly-too-good-to-be-true news" unless it is emphasized that all Jesus provided is available to us by grace.

The grace of God is the heart of the Gospel. In Acts 20:24, Paul said he was testifying of "the gospel of the grace of God." He said the same thing in Galatians 1:6: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel." Paul equated the grace of God with the Gospel. Any statements about God or the salvation He provided, without highlighting the grace of God, are not the true Gospel."

Andrew Wommack

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