By Perry B. Cotham
The Gospel, and nothing else and nothing more, is the powerful means God appointed to save man. The Gospel must be preached if souls are saved. There is no substitute for it.
Paul tells us in Romans 10:13-14, that the Gospel cannot save unless it is heard. "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Rom. 10:15). Since the Gospel is the "power of God unto salvation," all who refuse to obey it will be lost (2 Thess. 1:8-9). The apostle says those who "obey not the Gospel of our Lord" will suffer the vengeance of God (2 Thess. 1:8). Sin separates from God and causes eternal rejection. The Gospel is the means of reconciliation. Sin causes us to be lost, and the Gospel is the agency of salvation. To reject the Gospel, therefore, is to reject salvation.
The Bible is "the Word of God" and therefore true. It is by belief of the truth (Gospel) sinners are chosen to salvation (I Thess. 2:13). The apostle John warned, "Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God; he that abideth in the teaching, the same hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).
The phrase, the teaching of Christ, means the teaching which is from Christ - that is, the New Testament (Matt. 28:18; 17:5; Heb. 1:1-2; Jude 3). It is the Christ-message (Acts 8:25; 13:5).
The Gospel supplies all our spiritual needs. God has given "unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2 Pet. 1:3). That rules out all manmade creeds and doctrines of synods, conventions, and church councils (2 Tim. 3:16-17). There is no such thing as progressive revelation today, as claimed by some religious bodies.
The New Testament is God's final, complete revelation of his will to man, and all should go to it as their only source of faith and practice. The apostles were guided into all truth (John 16:13).
Paul told the Galatian Christians "that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. 1:11-12; 1 Cor. 2:10). He wrote to the Ephesian Christians that God had by revelation "made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ); which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of man, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Eph. 3:3-5). We can understand God's Word to us. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
Besides, God has given his Word for our own good. He has never given his creatures laws to harm them. He loves all men and desires their salvation (2 Pet. 3:9). Moses told the children of Israel that the Lord wanted their obedience for their own good: "Oh ... that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!" (Deut. 5:29).
Each Jewish child was taught that God's way was best for him (Deut 6:20-25). Our children and grandchildren need that lesson today. God's ways are always right and best for us. "The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart" (Psa. 19:8). We live under the New Testament, a "better covenant" (Heb. 8:6). We must have respect for it. Obedience to God's divine will would solve all our problems. May God help us to obey his Word in all things. It is for our own good, in time and in eternity (1 Tim. 4:8).
Abraham Lincoln said concerning the Bible, "This great Book is the best gift God has given to man. But for it, we would not know right from wrong." And a greater than Lincoln wrote, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:97); "Thy testimonies are wonderful; therefore doth my soul keep them" (vs. 129).