Highway 9 church of Christ
Presents: Internet Bible Study Courses
|Lesson 18: Obedience To The Gospel|
After Jesus had died for our sins, was resurrected and just before he ascended into heaven, he commanded his apostles in Mark 16:15-16, "And he said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." Our Lord wanted the gospel preached to everyone. The word "gospel" literally means good news or good tidings.
In Romans 1:16 the apostle Paul says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes; for the Jew first, and also for the Greek." So we see that the gospel of Christ is Godís only power unto salvation. It is by the gospel or good news that God saves us.
What does the Bible say that the gospel is that saves us? In I Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul is reminding the church at Corinth about the gospel when he says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, and in which you stand; by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Here we see that Paul was reminding them of the gospel in which Christ died, and was buried, and was raised again on the third day. Also notice, they were saved by the gospel. So the good news of the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, as the following chart illustrates. Illustration by Robert Swain
Why then is the death of Christ good news? The good news of the death of Christ is that Christ has died for us, taking our punishment, and now God can be just in saving us. Without his death we would all be doomed for eternal punishment and no one could be saved. Even though the death of Christ is a terrible thing to have to happen, it is good news to us. We read in I John 4:10, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Christ had to be buried since he died. Then after three days, Christ was raised up from the dead. We read in I Corinthians 6:14, "And God both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power." So why is the resurrection of Christ, the gospel or good news? The good news of the resurrection of Christ is that since God was able to raise up Christ, He will also raise us up from the dead. Jesus says in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection, and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." So the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is certainly good news.
In II Thessalonians 1:7-9 we read that, "When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Here we see that vengeance will be taken on those who obey not the gospel of Christ. The gospel as we have seen is the death, burial, and, resurrection of our Lord. How do we obey the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord so that vengeance will not be taken on us?
We are given the answer of how to obey the gospel in Romans 6:3-5 which says, "Or do you not know, that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death: that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection." So here we see that we are baptized into His death, we are buried with Him through baptism, and then just as Christ was raised up from the dead, we also are raised to walk in newness of life after baptism. There must be a death, burial, and resurrection before this new life is possible. Only in baptism does our old sinful person die and our new person rises free from sin. We are transformed from death to life. We become a new creation.
Illustration by Robert Swain
The chart above illustrates how that in baptism we obey the gospel. That is we obey a form of His death, burial, and resurrection when we are baptized, so that vengeance will not be taken on us. Continuing in this sixth chapter of Romans we read in verses 17-18 (KJV), "But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness." So, we see that when people obey that form of doctrine that is a form of the Lordís death, burial, and resurrection when they are baptized, they are at that point then made free from the sin and become the servants of righteousness.
Have you obeyed the gospel by being baptized into His death,being buried in baptism with him and then being raised with Him up out of the watery grave of baptism to walk in newness of life? If your baptism was not for the purpose of making you free from sin so that you can be saved, then you havenít obeyed the gospel of Christ. You havenít been made free from sin. As we have already seen, the Lord will take vengeance on all those who obey not the gospel of Christ. If you haven't why don't you correct your situation and make things right? Donít put it off. Satan wants you to put off making it right.
The reason that so much time and detail has been spent on the subject of baptism in this course is because of all the different perversions and distortions of baptism that men have come up with which are different from what God has said in the Bible. The tragedy is that this will cause people to be lost in eternally. The gospel is being perverted today just as it was perverted in the first century. Paul says in Galatians 1:6-8, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel: which is not another; but there be some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed."
People pervert the gospel of Christ today when they attempt to make changes in Godís plan to save man to suit themselves. We have been discussing these perversions throughout this course. It is a serious matter with God to have his gospel perverted and it will not go unnoticed. That person will be accursed by God. The person who perverts the gospel of Christ will be eternally lost and also cause others to be lost by believing a perverted gospel.