Saturday, August 17, 2013
Triplets of Faith: Three True Gospels
Christians believe in one God, yet He is a triune God: God the Father; Jesus Christ the Son; and the Holy Spirit. Aspects of His triune nature are reflected in His creation, attributes, incarnation, earthly ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection, to name but a few.
So it is not surprising that throughout Biblical dispensations, there are three true Gospels: the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14), the Gospel of Grace (Acts 20:24), and the Everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14:6-7). All of these are “Good News,” which is the meaning of the word “Gospel,” to those who place their faith in God, but judgment to those who do not (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).
Paul also refers to “another gospel,” (Galatians 1:6-9, 2 Corinthians 11:1-4) or false gospel that results in damnation rather than salvation because it requires that good works must be added to faith for a person to be saved (Colossians 2:8;18-23; Hebrews 6:1; 9:14). The preacher of such heresy is condemned even more than those who believe it (Galatians 1: 8-9).
God is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17), so how can there be three true Gospels? Although God made different covenants with mankind throughout Biblical history, the common element is our faith in Him (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:1-11; Hebrews 11). Without faith, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Previously, now, and in the future, salvation is by His freely given grace, solely through our faith in Him, and not in our own works in a futile attempt to earn our entrance to Heaven (Ephesians 2: 8-9).
What is saving faith? It is our belief that God is Who He says He is (Matthew 16:15-17; John 1:12; 11:27) and that He will do what He has said He will do. By definition, it goes beyond what we can see and fathom intellectually (Hebrews 11,1), yet it is supported by visible evidence throughout God’s creation of Him as the Supreme Designer (Psalm 19:1). Faith only results in salvation if the object of that faith is the one true God, the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Spirit.
Even unsaved people have “faith” that a chair they have never sat in before will support their weight, or that a pilot they have never met is capable of safely flying them to their destination. Evolutionists have “faith” that eons of time and astronomical odds result in creation of life from inanimate matter, and increasingly complex life forms from simpler ones, even though there is no observable evidence of these theories that defy known laws of thermodynamics.
These types of misplaced “faith” do not result in forgiveness of sins or eternal life, for only the fool says in his heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1).and worships the created being rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).
When we try to determine whether another person will keep their promise, we examine their character, intentions and their ability to carry out those intentions. We may believe that a spouse wants to support and encourage us throughout our lifetime, and they may have a good and faithful character so that they sincerely want to do so. Yet humans have limited power and finite time on earth, so they may fall short of their promise due to physical or mental infirmities or even untimely death (Job 14:1; James 4:14).
When we believe the promises of God, it is because we have faith not only in His character and intentions, but also in His ability to fulfill those promises. We believe that He is love (1 John 4:8), truth (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 71:22; John 18:37), and light (1 John 1:5), and that He therefore wants only the best for His children (Matthew 7:11; Romans 8:28) and will never lie (Titus 1:2).
Because God is perfectly holy (Leviticus 11:44,45, etc.) and just.( Job 4:17;8:3, etc.), He must punish sin and separate Himself from those who sin, unless they are redeemed by the perfect sacrifice of His Son (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).
God has unlimited ability to fulfill His good intentions toward us because He is omnipotent, with infinite power (Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17,27) omniscient, with infinite knowledge of all things past, present and future (Psalm 139:1-6); and omnipresent, so that He can be anywhere and everywhere, accompanying us in any and every circumstance (Psalm 139:7-11). He will never leave nor forsake His children (Hebrews 13:5).
Next week we will begin to explore how God progressively revealed and will reveal Himself to those who believe in Him. Praise God that His promises can be trusted, and that faith in Him brings eternal life!
© 2013 Laurie Collett