Saturday, July 9, 2011

Do You Know the Gospel?

As we have seen in our study of the evidence for a Pretribulation Rapture of believers, it is apparent that God in His Word and in His divine plan has always dealt differently with the Church and with Israel. The Church is the body of believers, predominantly Gentiles, who have repented of their sins and trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Israel is God’s chosen people, a nation of Jews, most of whom have not yet realized that Jesus was their promised Messiah (Romans 11:7-12). As we study God’s Word, we must “rightly divide” it (2 Timothy 2:15), distinguishing what applies to the Church from what applies to Israel.

The Church will be Raptured to meet Christ in the air (1 Thess 4:16) and be spared from the wrath, or tribulation, to come (1 Thess 5:9). During the tribulation, or “time of Jacob’s trouble,” (Jeremiah 30:7), many Jews will be saved through the evangelization of the 144,000 Jewish male virgins (Revelation 7:4-8) who will suddenly and supernaturally realize that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Son of God.

The Gospel of the Kingdom, preached to the Jews by Jesus and the apostles during His earthly ministry (Matt. 4:23; 14:17; Mark 1:14-15), is that Jesus was the promised Messiah who will rule over the Millennial Kingdom for 1,000 years with true peace on earth.

The Gospel, or Good News, of the Kingdom was first preached by John the Baptist as he warned Jews to repent, or turn away from their sins, to be baptized as a symbol of that purification, and to prepare for the coming Messiah and His Kingdom (Matt. 3:2; Mark 1:4).Once the Church is Raptured, God will again turn His attention to Israel, spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom to that nation as well as to all nations (Matt. 24:14).

But the Gospel first preached by Paul to the Gentiles is a different Gospel – the Good News, of the grace of God (2 Thess 2:13-14; Romans 1:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:1-4). This Gospel is what every believer must trust in to be saved. This Good News is that Jesus, Son of God and God Himself (John 1:1) left Heaven and came to earth as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, to take the punishment and pay the debt for all the sins of mankind, past, present and future, by suffering and dying on the cross and being buried (Col. 1:12-29).

Only in this way can sinful man be reconciled to a just, holy God, for when God the Father looks at a saved person, He sees not our sins, which have been completely attributed to Jesus’ account. Instead, He sees the complete, perfect righteousness of His Son, which through a spiritual transaction that can only be described as a “mystery,” (Col. 1:26-27; Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:6-14) is attributed to our account. Just as Jesus conquered sin and death by being resurrected on the third day, so can every believer on Him have eternal life with Him in Heaven.

The baptism that believers undergo as an act of obedience to Christ symbolizes our faith in the Gospel of grace by portraying the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It also symbolizes our commitment to die to our sins and walk with Christ in the newness of life (Romans 6: 3-11).

2 Thess 2: 13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: 14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, as we observe the signs of the times and feel the Rapture to be even closer today than it was yesterday, let us follow Christ’s Great Commission and spread the Gospel of God’s grace by going forth, teaching all nations, and baptizing them in His name! (Matt. 28:19-20).

Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett

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