And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. Galatians 3:8
Paul is here explaining that the Gospel was actually preached to Abraham. This firstly tells us then that the gospel is grounded in the Old Testament. Therefore to get a real understanding for it, an understanding of the Old Testament is also required, not simply the New as some suppose. So let’s take a quick look at Genesis and get an idea as to what exactly was promised to Abraham. God tells him there…
17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
18 And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. Genesis 22:17-18
Paul explains this promise in Galatians:
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. Galatians 3:16
So right from the very beginning it was promised that this saviour would come, this seed. We also read in Genesis that this seed would be given a portion of land.
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. Genesis 17:7-8
So this seed is to inherit land as well as being the Christ, the Messiah. These promises were also offered to many of the faithfuls of old. They were directly promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and also to king David. These are all characters of the Old Testament. What does all this mean? Paul tells us that Abraham and these others did not receive the promises in their lifetime. He also gives the reason.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:39-40
Paul here then says the reason why these died not receiving the promises is so others can become associated with them. This is the gospel. Others can share in these promises. This is demonstrated in Galatians:
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29
So one needs to believe in these promises and be baptized, to be an heir to them – and anybody can do it.
By now you may have seen from the promises to Abraham that there are 2 aspects to the gospel. This is confirmed by this verse from acts:
12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Acts 8:12
What Is The Gospel Concerning The Kingdom Of God?
In simple terms the kingdom is to be set up on earth. (see Dan 2:24, Zech 14:9 Jer 3:17 Matt 25:34, Luke 11:2)
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Habukkuk 2:14
This kingdom is to be set up after the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. When Jesus returns there is a resurrection of the dead (who are unconscious and literally dead – there is no evidence heaven-going at death – see Psalm 146:4, Ezekiel 18:4) and a judgement (2 Tim 4:1). Only those who have been baptised and associated themselves to the promises through Jesus and have held fast to their beliefs will be given eternal life.
What Is The Gospel Of The Name Of Jesus Christ?
To be associated with the hope of the gospel an understanding of what the Bible says about Jesus Christ needs to be understood. In simple terms he was the “seed” which was promised to Abraham. He is the saviour of mankind because although he could sin if he desired to, he did not – but was the only human to overcome temptation and to defeat sin (see Heb 4:15).
The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death was necessary because of the state mankind is in. Mankind has sin-cursed nature which means we sin because it is in our nature to do so. This was brought about by Adam, the first man. Because man sins he dies and therefore a saviour was needed to break this cycle. Because Jesus died without sin he is a sacrifice for our sins, not as a substitute but as a representative. If he was a substitute mankind would no longer die – but we continue to die for our sins showing Christ’s death was representative. In other words God forgives our sins on Jesus’ account. Because Jesus did no sin he did not deserve to be in the grave and so was raised, opening a way for all those who associate themselves with him. Therefore when Christ returns to the earth the second time a resurrection of the dead will take place and those found faithful will have their sins forgiven, be made immortal, and enjoy the Kingdom as immortal beings.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor 15:21-22
An individual can only become associated to these promises though baptism into this hope through baptism into Jesus name (or into the understanding of what Jesus accomplished). Baptism and an understanding is important:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
A Danger Of Following A False Gospel
Paul warns that there is only one gospel and any preaching other gospels will be accursed:
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-9
There are many quotes by the early apostles that state that Christianity would become corrupt. See Acts 20-29-30, 2 Thess 2:3-4, 2 Tim 4:3-4). Therefore it is very important for those claiming to be Christians to study their Bibles and for all who are seeking the truth to make sure it marries with all of the Bible.
Author: M. Davies, Nottingham, Nov 2007
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