THE DEEP AND MYSTERIOUS SIDE OF THE GOSPEL
Is there more to the Gospel than just the 'Simple Gospel'?
Here are a few features of truth that are foundational
to the simple scriptures that lead us to Eternal Life.

R.L.B.

 

The Deep and Mysterious (?) Side of the Gospel

The simplicity of the gospel of salvation is portrayed in such easily understood verses as the following:

And [the jailer] having asked for lights, he rushed in, and, trembling, fell down before Paul and Silas. And leading them out said, Sirs, what must I do that I may be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shalt be saved, you and your house. (Acts 16:29-31)

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus must the Son of man be lifted up, that every one who believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal. (John 3:14-16)

For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 RV, ASV & RSV)

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (1 Tim. 1:15)

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:43)

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)

And the Lord said ... to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:18)

 

      These, and many other verses set forth God's simple plan of salvation for the unsaved individual. But what, behind the scenes, makes these simple features of truth possible? In the mind of our eternal God there is much more behind these simple 'steps' that lead us to salvation and eternal life. Paul's letter to the Ephesians lifts the cover from some things that actually have taken place within God's eternal mind and purpose to bring us to eternal salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ: Some of these wonderful sovereign acts of God that are often not considered, or sometimes not even believed are as follows:

  1. God actually gave us the gifts of grace and the faith that we exercise when we believe on Christ (Eph. 2:8). We did not have these qualities abiding quietly in our hearts to begin with. (See for example Rom. 3:10-18)
  2. Since we were "dead" because of trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) we could not hear the gospel. We did not have the ears to hear. A spiritually dead person is dead and cannot hear God's word, but God made us alive (Eph. 2:1, 4-5) so we could have ears to hear His word and exercise the faith He gave us.
  3. We have been saved by grace (undeserved love and kindness from God) (Eph. 2:5-8)
  4. He redeemed us through His blood (Eph. 1:7)
  5. He predestined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5)
  6. And first of all, He chose (elected) us and placed us in Christ, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). This gift of grace is in the past tense and refers to a sovereign act of God which He accomplished before the ages of time began. Even before the first star was created.

      If just one of the above sovereign loving acts of God had been omitted, we would all be eternally lost sinners today about to suffer the wages of sin, which is death (Rom. 6:23). There are some who reject the fact that our wonderful God who is not bound by the limitations of time, actually identified each person that He loved, and sovereignly placed them in the Lord Jesus Christ, thus destining them to an inheritance in Jesus Christ (Eph/1:14), and making them part of the glorious inheritance that will form a part of Jesus Christ's own glorious inheritance in the saints (Eph. 1:18).  Thus, there are two inheritances; we believers have an inheritance, and Christ has His own inheritance composed of those of us who were chosen in Him. Let us now set out the verses attesting to the above.

  1. God actually gave us grace (undeserved favor) and the faith which we exercise when we believe on Christ.

 For you are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God's gift: (Eph:2:8)

We did not have that "faith" abiding quietly in our hearts to begin with.

According as it is written, There is not a righteous man, not even one;
there is not the man that understands, there is not one that seeks after God.
All have gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable; there is not one that practices goodness, there is not so much as one:
their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; asps' poison is under their lips:
whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness;
swift their feet to shed blood;
ruin and misery are in their ways,
and way of peace they have not known:
there is no fear of God before their eyes
. (Rom. 3:10-18)

The Companion Bible has a helpful note on Eph. 2:8: "We are saved by grace, not by faith, which is the channel through (dia) which flows to us the Divine stream of saving grace. Both alike are God's gifts." (The Companion Bible, Lamp Press, Ltd)

  1. Since we were "dead" because of trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1) we could not hear the gospel. The sound goes in one ear and out the other. We literally did not have the ears to hear. A spiritually dead person is dead and cannot hear God's word, but God made us alive (Eph. 2:1, 4-5) so we could hear His word and exercise the faith He gave us.

and *you*, being dead in your offences and sins --  but God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love wherewith he loved us, (we too being dead in offences,) has quickened us [made us alive] with the Christ (Eph. 2:1, 4, 5)

  1. We have been saved by grace (undeserved love and kindness from God) (Eph. 2:5-8)

...(you are saved by grace,)
and has raised us up together, and has made us sit down together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus,
that he might display in the coming ages the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.
For you are saved by grace, through faith; and this not of yourselves; it is God's gift:
(Eph. 2:5-8)

  1. He redeemed us through His blood (Eph. 1:7)

 in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of offences, according to the riches of his grace (Eph. 1:7)

  1. He predestined us in love to he His spiritual sons through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:5)

 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Eph. 1:5)

  1. But first of all, He chose (elected) us and placed us in Christ, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4)

according as he has chosen us in him before the world's foundation, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4)

      There are some who erroneously say God chose us 'after we believed,' or that God looked ahead in time to see who would believe, and chose them. But the scriptures said He did it before the foundation of the world. The reasonings of men come about because some visualize God as a small god, not the supreme God of the bible. The truth is that  just as YHWH (Jehovah) chose the nation Israel simply because He loved them, so He chose us in Christ simply because of His love. There was no good in either Israel or in ourselves that would cause God to pick us as opposed to anyone else.

For a holy people are you unto Jehovah your God: Jehovah your God has chosen you to be unto him a people for a possession, above all the peoples that are upon the face of the earth.  Not because you were more in number than all the peoples, has Jehovah been attached to you and chosen you, for ye are the fewest of all the peoples; but because Jehovah loved you.... (Deut. 7:7)

      Just as God's love chose Israel to be an earthly people for His Name, that same love elected and selected us before the foundation of the world to be a holy heavenly people. This gift of grace for believers today is in the past tense and refers to that sovereign act of God which He accomplished before the ages of time began.

      But unfortunately there are some who say if all this is true why bother to preach the gospel, because the elect will be saved regardless of what we do. Brothers and sisters, do not miss the privilege of allowing God to use you to spread the word to the elect and to the non-elect alike.  After all, are there not rewards for us in heaven?

      The fact is that because God has chosen some individuals in Christ before the foundation of the world, and has made these dead unbelievers alive, and has given them grace and the faith to believe the gospel, we know, therefore, that God has already prepared many hearts to believe and receive His word whenever one of His servants might bring that word to them. So we know that there are potential converts out there who need to hear the word, the gospel of their salvation. Will you help rescue them?

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.  (Acts 13:48)

God told Paul in a vision about the elect residents of Corinth who would soon become believers, "I have much people in this city" (Acts 18:10)

"No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him" (John 6:44)

 

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