The Gospel Is

Paul summarizes the gospel message in three simple phrases:

· Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures

· He was buried

· He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

Scholars believe that Paul’s choice of wording here was borrowed from an early church creed; a creed that is believed to have been widely circulated within 20 years of the resurrection of Jesus. This means that in the early church, people who expressed faith in the gospel affirmed doctrinal truth.

In sharing the gospel in our community I have begun to increasingly encounter people whom I would say had some sort of ethereal/spiritual encounter with God that resulted in their belief that they have eternal life. The encounter usually entails me sharing the doctrinal precepts of the gospel such as: man as a sinner, Jesus as the substitute who died for sinful man, His resurrection, and the proper response of man to the gospel; repentance and faith. Throughout this portion of the presentation the people with whom I am sharing seem somewhat unfamiliar with these truths. Yet when I ask them some sort of question as to whether or not they have been “born again”, “saved”, or have “eternal life” they respond with certainty. At this point I ask them to share the story of their conversion.

These ethereal conversion stories usually entail a dream, a vision, or a “feeling of peace” that suddenly comes over them during a traumatic experience or a prayer during such experience. Their conversion story is usually void of any affirmation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God or the meaning of His death and resurrection. Most of them have much to say about their perceptions of God, but very little to say about His Son. I do not doubt that people have dreams that result in making a profound change in one’s life. I do not doubt that people can experience an unusual amount of peace during a trauma or while praying through trauma. Yet while I do not doubt those experiences, such things in and of themselves do not result in regeneration of the depraved human soul. A person may have a profound experience, but a person must also affirm certain truths in order to be truly born again. Having a dream or a feeling that changes one’s life does not necessarily result in Biblical salvation.

In order to be born again a person must connect with the risen Christ in something less ethereal or spiritual, and something more doctrinal, objective, and absolute. Let us not forget that Paul, the author of 1 Corinthians 15 had an incredible “vision” of Jesus. Something certainly ethereal (I use the term loosely here), supernatural, and life changing (Acts 9). Yet in the expression of his faith Paul affirmed certain doctrinal truths as the basis of his conversion. He did not simply hold to having a vision. One cannot simply have a great experience, affirm nothing of the gospel, and be born again. In order to be born again one must affirm certain doctrinal truths revealed in Scripture; namely that Jesus has died for our sin, that He has physically risen from the dead, and that the only proper response of mankind to these truths is repentance and faith (Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-13). The gospel is not a dream, an ethereal or spiritual experience, or a vision. The gospel is revealed truth based solely upon Jesus Christ. Our souls must connect with objective, historical reality (namely the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture) and not rely on subjective perceptions. In order to be born again one must affirm what, “the gospel is.”


Brian Johnson said…
I enjoyed your post, though sad to hear how many are deceived as to their spiritual status before God.

See my British website:

What Is The Gospel?

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