Does Christianity need to develop a NEW gospel adapted to today's world?
There is really only one gospel. The Greek word in the New Testament which is translated “gospel” means, literally, “good news.” It is not, therefore, “good advice” about what to do or not to do to build a better world or a better personal life. It is, rather, God's own “good news” to men of all times and places, informing them that God has provided salvation for lost sinners, available as a free gift to all who will receive it.
The word is used many times in the New Testament, always with this precise meaning. It is explicitly defined in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, as follows:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel, which I preached unto you, which ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved,… For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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."
Thus the gospel is simply the good news that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has also become man, that He might die in atonement for the sins of man, and then, after His body was buried for three days, rise again from the grave, forever settling man's sin-debt before a holy God.
Not clearly, from the quoted passage, that the gospel is simply to be “received” (evidently by faith, as a free gift), that it is the gospel “by which ye are saved” (that is, from the just and otherwise certain punishment for your sins), and that it is the gospel “wherein ye stand” (thus continuing to rest solely on the merits of Christ alone for your salvation).
Men today are sinners just as were their forefathers, and thus are equally in need of God's forgiveness and cleansing. The death of Christ was the "propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). The Lord Jesus gave the promise 1,900 years ago, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37), and men today are still finding His promise true and powerful.
The gospel does seem contrary to natural human reasoning. The natural man tends to think either in terms of materialism (that is, that the present life is all there is and therefore no one is really “saved”), or universalism (that is, that all people will somehow eventually be saved), or moral relativism (that is, that those who are saved are saved by their good works, and those who are not saved are lost for lack of good works).
To people who reason as above, the gospel of Christ does seem unreasonable,
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
Nevertheless, the false gospels proposed by men are utterly inadequate.
Materialism denies that God is a God of love and wisdom, and in effect says that nothing has real meaning or purpose.
Universalism ignores the holiness and justice of God, supposing that He will not punish sin and ultimately settle all accounts.
Moral relativism assumes there is no objective moral standard in the universe, against which all decisions and actions must be measured and thus that any divine decisions as to a person's destiny is merely capricious.
None of these human philosophies are really satisfying, either intellectually or spiritually. Therefore, none of them will offer a man a confident hope for eternity.
The gospel of Christ, on the other hand, when received by faith, does meet every need for human life.
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18).
"draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" (Hebrews 10:22).
"deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:15).
The gospel also provides the only conceivable means by which God's love and holiness can both be satisfied. His infinite holiness demands that all sin be punished, yet His perfect love desires that all men be saved. Since all men are sinners, no man can save himself. But…
"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This infinitely gracious act of God is not forced upon man, of course, but it is offered as a free gift, to be received by faith with thanksgiving,
Man was, in fact, created for the very purpose of fellowship with God. He can never be truly happy or live a truly satisfying life, either now or in eternity, if he is separated from God's presence. He desperately needs to respond to God's love for him with genuine love in his own heart for God, and the gospel of Christ is the perfect answer. It perfectly reveals God's love to man and thus most powerfully draws out man's love to God.
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him… We love Him, because He first loved us" (1 John 4:9, 19).
No, there is no modern substitute for the gospel. Men may talk about a “social gospel,” a “full gospel,” a “new gospel,” or some other gospel, but there is only one gospel, and that is the “everlasting gospel” (Revelation 14:6). No wonder Paul said:
The gospel is still the good news, and there will never be another.
Authors: Henry Morris and Martin Clark, adapted from their book The Bible Has the Answer, published by Master Books.
Supplied by Films for Christ with permission from Master Books. Copyright © 1987, Master Books, All Rights Reserved—except as noted on attached “Usage and Copyright” page that grants ChristianAnswers.Net users generous rights for putting this page to work in their homes, personal witnessing, churches and schools.
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