16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile Romans 1:16 NLT
In the recent weeks, we've been in a detailed study concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We asked the question what gospel have you been hearing. We've seen that the Gospel isn't a hopeless or discouraging message. The message of the Gospel isn't a sad message of all we must do to earn His love and acceptance. It's not political pablum or angry tidings of how God is going to get you at the slightest moment you miss it. The Gospel is good news.
Again, what is the Gospel?
Let's review what we've already established is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The English word that is translated Gospel in the New Testament is the Greek word "Euaggelion". It is defined as the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The proclamation of the Grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ. This is the good news Gospel. It's glad tidings of total salvation in and through Christ. Any other message or tidings or proclamation are not the Gospel of the Grace of Almighty God.
The Gospel is a pure, unadulterated, triumphant message of hope, victory, revealing the gracious goodness of our Father in Heaven. The Word of God reveals the great lengths the early Church and Apostles took to preserve the authentic Gospel. Many tried to pollute or tamper with the Gospel for their own agendas. On many occasions, Paul the Apostle brought correction to rid the Gospel from any mixture of Law and works. He also worked in conjunction with the other Apostles to remove additives to the Gospel.
The Gospel, free from mixture and additives
What do I mean by additives? Additives are ideas, philosophies, and traditions of men added to the Gospel message. I see many who've received the true Gospel of Grace. They are quick to protect the Gospel from any mixture, and rightly so. They will publicly voice opposition to any mixture, in their pulpits, on their social media status and in their interactions with others. Yet when it comes to additives many are conspicuously silent.
The "gospel" of inclusionism/Universalism
These philosophies and ideologies of man under the banner of universal salvation are additives to the true Gospel of Grace. These unScriptural ideas have no place in the message of the Cross and Finished Work. Inclusionism and Universalism or similar ideas, that proclaim all humanity is already saved, but unaware, or will eventually be saved, are false teachings, and philosophies birthed by the spirit of error.
Does God's love and Grace mean we accept untruth?
Are we unloving and ungracious because we don't accept any error in the Gospel message? It seems we are more unloving toward those who've yet to receive the truth when we remain silent on the matter of additives to the Gospel. If we refuse to take a bold stand for the truth of the Gospel of Grace for fear or concern that we will lose popularity or fear that some doors of opportunity to be invited to minister will be closed to us, it only proves our trust is in ourselves and in man and not resting in God.
Isn't universal salvation the truly good news of Grace?
This is how this deceptive message draws people in. It sounds like good news. It seems reasonable to our own minds so therefore it must be true. Surely, it would be great that all the World would come receive the good news, but that is the key. Receive. God and His goodness aren't wiping out the free will of humanity. Forced marriage or arranged marriage isn't loving it is forced, it's bondage.
What about all those passages that seem to say all are saved? First, there exist no passage where it says all humanity is saved. Secondly, poor exegesis and wrongly dividing the Word is how people come up with their view. Here is an example.
10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach,because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10 NKJV
See it's right there. It appears to some at first glance that this passage is preaching inclusion or universalism. In full context, it says something entirely different. Paul was encouraging and exhorting Timothy in his ministry. He was encouraging Timothy to persevere in tough times and remember this Gospel is to all mankind, male or female, Jew or Gentile.
Note that passage didn't say Jesus was Savior but God. Why is this significant? Because it further proves this isn't universal salvation because of the Cross but it reveals that only in God, the one true God, is there salvation and hope. Weren't we all included in the Cross? The Finished Work took away the sin of the World, therefore all humanity is in Christ and saved right?
Paul says otherwise.
7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Romans 16:7 NKJV
Paul says others were in Christ before he was. This smashes this idea of inclusionism. Paul in Ephesians reveals when we were included.
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13 NIV
We were included when we believed. The message is good news we don't need additives to make the good news "better".
Inclusionism and Universalism insult the Spirit of Grace!
Look at Hebrews chapter ten. In this chapter, we see the beauty of the Finished Work. Though the warning portions of this chapter aren't teaching a believer can lose or forfeit salvation it does clarify the Gospel and assists in proving that universal salvation false.
Look closely in full context of the warning portion here. The key warning here is that there is salvation only in the Finished Work of Christ and not in anything else. Imagine if you will, being atop a high cliff. Picture a deep, deep, gulf between the cliff you're on and the one across from you. Imagine Jesus is on the other side. There is no way to cross over. Suddenly you see He has fashioned a wooden bridge for you to cross.
You could simply cross. Nothing you did, you didn't deserve it, you didn't earn it or achieve it, He did it all. Your response is simply to cross. What if, however, you say "no Jesus, I'm not worthy. I must build my own bridge", so you go looking for wood to get busy building your bridge. That is the legalistic way to approach God. What if instead, you said, "Jesus there really exists no gulf between us. This separation is only mental and imagined, everyone is ok." This is the Universalists way.
If we are taking the Gospel and placing additives in it we are going about establishing our own righteousness.
...and has insulted the Spirit of grace? Hebrews 10:29b NASB
Inclusion says all humanity is already saved but they don't know it. What if one doesn't awaken to the truth? Well, then he would be lost at the end. So there is no eternal security?
The inclusion folk now have remedied this problem. Hell no longer exists. When this man made idea gains popularity, you see the fruit. The proponents of this message go about establishing their own standard of right and wrong. Anything is acceptable and nothing is wrong.
The Gospel is good news. The Gospel is Jesus plus nothing. It is not Jesus plus works or performance. It isn't Jesus plus the additives of error and false teachings. It isn't a message where there exists no morality. The Gospel is good enough without adding to it enticing words of men's wisdom.
Don't take the amazing out of Grace. Don't mix the Gospel with Law and works and don't put additives of error into it. Mankind was lost and dead in trespasses and sins. We were destined to spend eternity separated from God. This state wasn't imaginary or a mental misunderstanding or blindness, we were spiritually dead, but God sent His only begotten Son and paid the perfect price for our complete redemption. He forever took away the punishment of sins in His own body on that Cross. All we need to do is respond and put our trust in His once for all sacrifice and receive new life, righteousness, and an eternally secure salvation.