In two previous articles (here and here) six great truths concerning the gospel have been identified and discussed. Let me now consider the final four truths that bring to completion Ten Truth About Salvation Every Person Must Know.
Truth # 7: God's gospel includes the preserving, keeping power of God. Those whom God saves can never be lost. Jesus Himself said in John 6:39, "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 10:28 reminds us that no one can snatch us from the hand of Jesus. In Jesus Christ we are safe, secure, and cannot be lost. To put it another way, those who were dead to God but have been made alive in Jesus Christ cannot be made dead to God ever again. We are kept forever! In summary, the gospel is that God keeps His own even through the difficult seasons of life.
Truth #8: God's gospel includes our obedience to God and His Word. While sinners are not made alive through any effort of their own and while we cannot work for our salvation, we must not make the mistake that once we are saved we do not have to work or labor for the Lord. In fact, Ephesians 2:8-10 combines together the sovereign, saving grace of God and God's purpose for us to do good works: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Notice that grace, salvation, and faith all come before any good works. Though good works do not save us, they do demonstrate that we are saved. If a person says they are saved, but their life bears no spiritual fruit they are either: 1) a very immature, baby believer or 2) they are not truly saved. Good works demonstrate our faith (James 2:14-26).The Spirit of God indwells us, fills us, and produces in us the fruit of the Spirit that reflects the person of Jesus Christ (Galatians 5:22.). In summary, the good news sets us free to do what we ought to do – obey and glorify God.
Truth #9: God's gospel includes the church, the body of believers. That is, when we are made alive in Christ, graced and forgiven, we are born into a spiritual kingdom filled with other believers. This is the church. We are not to be "Lone Ranger" Christians. We are not to be isolated from other believers. Jesus founded the church (Matthew 16:13). We are placed into a body of believers where we are to seek fellowship, support, encouragement, teaching, and service (1 Corinthians 12 & 14; Hebrews 10:24-25). Because we know God will save sinners (not might save sinners), the church goes on mission, praying, preaching, and bearing witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, trusting the convicting, regenerating, converting, and transforming power of the Holy Spirit. It was this confidence in the saving power of God that encouraged Paul when he first preached in Corinth. When Paul began to preach riots broke out. Yet, God spoke to Paul and said, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people." (1 Corinthians 18:10). Who were the "my people?" They were the people God would save. In essence, God was telling Paul – you take care of preaching my gospel, I will take care of the saving of sinners. Brothers and sisters, this is our confidence in evangelism. God will use the preaching of the gospel, our prayers, and our witness as the means by which He will save "His people." (Matthew 1:21) Fantastic. This is so encouraging. I can share the good news with anyone and everyone knowing that God is willing and able to save all who repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:14-15). We preach to all people everywhere by any means possible knowing that God will save (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:6-8).
Truth #10: God's gospel ends where it began – with God and His glory That is, the ultimate purpose of God's desire to save sinners is so that God might be made much of, so that all of creation will sing God's praises (Ephesians 1:12; Philippians 4:19; 1 Timothy 3:16). Colossians 1:15-23 beautifully combines together our salvation in Jesus Christ, how God places His children in the church, and how all of this brings glory to God: "He (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister."
A Summary of the Ten Points
1. God Exists – holy, righteous, loving, gracious.
2. We are created in God's image capable of good things.
3. Sin broke what God made and left us dead to God and separated from Him.
4. God did not leave us in sin, but sent Jesus to conquer death/sin through His death and resurrection.
5. The salvation provided in Jesus actually sets sinners free; it works!
6. God awakens the dead heart through hearing the good news; I repent & believe the good news that God forgives sinners.
7. God then keeps me and secures me – I can never be separated from God.
8. God does not save me to do nothing; Jesus calls me to obey and serve.
9. God places me with other believers for support, growth, and evangelism.
10. God is glorified in all of this!