THE GOSPEL DEFINES CHRISTIANITY

Copyright 2006 Roger and Eileen Himes

Theology contains man’s ideas about God. It is born on a natural, human level. Religion is man’s expression to God, based on his theology. Religion is also born on a natural, human level. There are so many theologies and religions today they are hard to count.

The GOSPEL is far different from either theology or religion. It is a revelation from God (1) about HIM, and (2) about US. It tells us all God has done for us, in the finished work of the cross — and then it tells us who we are in him, because of what he’s done. Nothing else offers what the gospel does: God coming to us with his revelation.

GOD COMING TO MAN WITH HIS PLAN

It is comforting to realize that the mind of man could never have invented the gospel. Only God’s mind can ‘invent’ it. The gospel is often even difficult for us to understand, let alone us being able to conjure it up. Thus, the gospel is totally removed from every other theology and religion.

Romans 1:16-17 says the gospel is a REVELATION of our righteousness — of who we are in Christ. Hebrews 4:2 says we must believe this revelation or it does not ‘profit us.’ Paul says the same thing in Galatians 5:2 when he says, “Christ shall profit you nothing.”

Since the cross, God’s only language is THE GOSPEL. If we try to communicate with him in other ways, he does not understand. Everything is now founded on Christ’s finished work: “It is finished” (John 19:30). To try to relate to God outside of Christ’s finished work is not living in spiritual reality, but in religious fantasy. This is what our practical Christianity newsletter is all about: GOSPEL SNAPSHOTS. It stands on the Rock of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

TWO OTHER NON-GOSPEL THEOLOGIES

There are two non-gospel theologies running wild in Christian churches. They both sound so good that many cleave to them rather than the gospel of the finished work of Christ: (1) The Religion of ’Do-Do,’ and (2) The Religion of ‘The Future.’

FIRST, RELIGIOUS ’DO-DO’ is preached from most pulpits. The gospel is ‘the religion of done’ — “It is finished.” But this religion is all about performance, living by principles, and codes of behavior. Of course, these change from church to church. It puts US in the spotlight, rather than GOD. This preaching says, ‘It’s all about you,’ while the gospel says, ‘It’s all about God.’ This preaching says we should, ‘Try to be like God.’ It’s the same temptation Satan hit Eve with in the Garden.

It’s born from eating from The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil — the tree God said NOT to eat from. This man-made theology substitutes ‘good’ for ‘God.’ It sounds good, but it blinds us to gospel of the FINISHED work of the cross (II Cor 4:4).

SECOND, THE RELIGION OF ‘THE FUTURE’ is a forecast of things that will happen in the future. As I said in the last article, it’s all about ‘Christ coming,’ when Paul said what is important is ‘Christ crucified’ (I Cor 2:2). This man-made theology is like a preview to a movie: ‘Coming Attractions.’ It says, “Stay tuned, folks! Jesus really hasn’t finished things like he said he did!” (sic)

It’s all about what Jesus WILL do when he returns — while the gospel says those things have already been DONE. It sounds good, but it blinds us to the gospel of the FINISHED work of the cross.

THE GOSPEL is what defines Christianity, and makes it totally unique to all other religions in the world. If you take the gospel out of Christianity, you no longer have Christianity. You only have a religion like every other religions. Sadly, this is what many preachers do when they preach these two non-gospel theologies. Paul says that NO other doctrine should be preached other than the gospel (I Tim 1:3).

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