The Gospel is the good news of what the Lord Christ Jesus accomplished on behalf of His people. Jesus Christ, God the Son, entered into fallen and sinful humanity as the virgin-born Son of Mary, fully God and fully man. He lived perfectly among us, taught us, healed the sick, and raised the dead. Unjustly accused and condemned by the Jewish and Roman rulers, He died a sinless and atoning death on behalf of His people, imputing (or crediting) His righteousness to them. The great work of redemption, the good news of the Gospel, was accomplished in the death of Christ.
On the third day following His crucifixion, the Lord rose from the grave (Luke 24:7). After appearing to countless people, He commanded His disciples to go into all the world to share the good news (Mark 16:15). He then ascended to the Father, promising to return one day to rule and reign eternally (Acts 1:11; Revelation 22:5). Through the faithful proclamation of this Gospel, God grants faith and repentance to His people (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 2:25). Those who are given faith will believe Christ, trusting in His finished work alone as the only source of forgiveness and righteousness (Psalm 110:3, Philippians 2:13).
The Gospel is the wonderful news of an accomplished, not theoretical, redemption. To put it plainly, Christ did not come to save everyone. Neither did He come to merely invite or plead with everyone to make a freewill decision to surrender their hearts and lives to Him. Had it been God’s will to save everyone, then nothing could have hindered Him from doing so (Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 46:10; Daniel 4:35; Romans 9:19; Ephesians 1:11). Much to the contrary, Christ died, “to save His people from their sin” (Matthew. 1:21), “a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45), and “to lay down his life for His sheep” (John 10:11). This particular redemptive work is explicitly declared in John 17:9. In this passage, Christ says to His Heavenly Father, “I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” The Gospel, the work of Christ’s accomplished redemption on behalf of His people, was a work limited in application to God’s people, the elect, in Christ.
Those whom Christ gloriously calls unto salvation through the preaching of the Gospel have been loved with an everlasting love (Isaiah 54:8, Jeremiah 31:3; Ephesians 1:4b,5). Love for His people is what sent Christ to the Cross to bear their sins! Truly, “In Love He predestined us to adoption as Sons through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5). The Gospel is a mission of love, God’s love, for His people. He saves His people because He loves them! The Apostle John wrote, “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). God, through Christ’s accomplished redemption, has paid the sin debt of each and every individual whom He loves. Redemption is the ultimate expression of God’s love for His own (John 15:13; Galatians 2:20)! These are the ones God has given to the Son, of which Christ declares, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day” (John 6:39). Christ cannot lose any of His own because they have been given to Him by the Father to be raised on the last day. The certainty of God’s people spending eternity with Him is sealed for all time by the loving and immutable promises of God demonstrated in the accomplished redemption of Christ Jesus.
Of course, since the earliest days of Christianity, there have been those wolves who seek to distort this precious message with any number of human innovations or flights of fancy. It is suggested by many that the Gospel is the story of a Christ who came to suffer and die for all people without exception, even the wicked who ultimately die apart from Him in their sin and rebellion. These same groups teach that the Gospel is a work begun on the cross yet continued by God in the life of an individual by the Spirit of God as the person yields his heart to Jesus. In either case, any notion of an accomplished redemption is immediately taken off the table, smothered by the certain uncertainty and sinful nature of fallen man.
If the Gospel is a work performed in the heart of a man or woman or simply a mere offering of salvation to every man without exception, Christ finished nothing on the cross! The Gospel is monstrously transformed into a continuing work of cooperation between a Christ who cannot save without a sinner’s permission and a sinful man who can never please God in His own strength!
What’s more, the Gospel promise of eternal salvation, the promise of God to “lose none but raise them up on the last day,” could be undone at any time. In fact, many groups teach that the Gospel provides a salvation that can be forfeited by the will of man! So much for accomplished redemption! If salvation is conditioned on sinful man in any way, shape, or form, Christ’s last words on the cross, “It is finished!” comprise the greatest lie in redemptive history.
In the face of every false gospel stands the truth of the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ! In love, He completed the work of redemption on behalf of His people, sealing for all time their eternal destiny. Because of Christ’s accomplished redemption, God’s people, the elect of God, shall live forever with Him. Christ cannot fail, His work can not be hindered. As the true and saving Gospel is proclaimed, God’s people will respond in God-given faith and repentance, turning away from the sinful and prideful works they used to trust for righteousness, and trusting Christ alone for all salvation.
Have you come to believe the Gospel of an accomplished redemption in Christ Jesus? Are you resting in the rock-solid promises of God in Christ to lose none of His own, but raise them up on the last day? Have you repented of trusting in anything but the finished work of Christ for all hope of forgiveness and righteousness before God? The Lord’s sheep, on the Lord’s appointed day, shall hear His voice.
May God be pleased to reveal this Gospel truth to you this day, the truth, the peace, the comfort, the absolute assurance of Christ’s accomplished redemption. – Amen .
Jason K. Boothe serves as Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit http://www.HorizonsBaptist.org.