In my previous series, "The Anatomy of the Gospel", I broke down the Gospel message into five basic components (as an attempt at constructing a helpful witnessing framework) and called them the "Five Pillars of the Gospel". This is the fifth and concluding part of a series of posts in which I will have biblically defended each of the "five pillars" I laid out as the fundamental elements necessary to faithfully proclaim the Gospel.
DEFENDING PILLAR 5 - THE HUMAN RESPONSE THE GOSPEL DEMANDS
Jesus death for sins was an act of salvation. To receive God's gracious gift Scripture explicitly teaches that:
Truly, then, God overlooking the times of ignorance, now He strictly commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).
Repentance is necessary in order to receive salvation - therefore it is a necessary component of the Gospel we proclaim (Next week I will reveal the stunning hypocrisy in the famed Hillsong church, Australia, concerning the necessity of repentance). This repentance from sin and turning away from is also a turning to Christ in saving faith in order to receive salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable, but have shown you and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20-21).
Some people claim that faith alone, as mentioned in Ephesians 2:8, negates the need to repent. But we must remember our hermeneutical rule mentioned way back in part one of this series:
Scripture cannot contradict itself - therefore in understanding any portion rightly, it must harmonize with the rest of Scripture.
So do the following two statements of Jesus contradict each other?
For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). (emphasis mine)
unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:3b). (emphasis mine)
Regarding salvation the Scriptures always speak of faith (believing) or repentance or both. This is easily harmonized when we remember that repentance is turning away from sin and faith is turning towards Christ. As Todd Friel says "They are the two wings of the same bird that fly us to the Savior".
Jesus Himself said that:
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24a).
It is not possible to embrace Christ whilst still embracing our sin. Turning to Christ as our new master demands that we turn our back on the old carnal life. This is not to suggest that Christians don't sin - but it is to suggest that we have a new relationship with sin. Our flesh and our spirit are engaged in constant war and we are not living in a lifestyle of continual, wilfull, habitual sin.
In conclusion to the subject of man's necessary response to the Gospel we must clearly state that - a failure to preach God's requirement for men to repent and believe is a failure to preach the Gospel.
So all these 5 pillars:
PILLAR 1 – THE HOLINESS OF GOD
PILLAR 2 – THE DEPRAVITY OF MAN
PILLAR 3 – THE NECESSITY OF JUDGMENT
PILLAR 4 – THE WORK OF CHRIST
PILLAR 5 – THE HUMAN RESPONSE THE GOSPEL DEMANDS
are all essential elements of a faithful proclamation of the Gospel.
Next week I will begin applying this benchmark to certain well known public Gospel proclamations to see how they measure up. The purity of the Gospel is so sacred that we cannot afford to sanitize this discussion or be bogged down in diplomacy. The Bottom Line will be speaking up!
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9).
Go Back To Part 4
Go Back To Part 1
Go To "The Anatomy Of The Gospel" Series