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Authentic Christianity
The Gospel


The gospel of Jesus Christ is a primary fundamental doctrine of authentic Christianity.  The gospel (good news) refers to the message that we receive forgiveness and the promise of heaven, not because of what we do, but by grace (undeserved gift) through faith (trust in Christ).  The good news of Jesus is recorded in the four gospels of the Bible: Matthew, Mark Luke, and John.  John 3:16 is often called "the gospel in a nutshell".

The Law

There are two chief doctrines (Biblical teachings) in scripture: the law and the gospel. The law shows us our sins and the gospel shows us our Savior.

Romans 3:20  Through the Law comes knowledge of sin.
Galatians 2:16  By works of the Law no one shall be justified.
James 2:10  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles
at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.



Authentic Christianity teaches that our relationship with God is based on God’s grace, and is received through faith in what Jesus has accomplished for us and all people on the cross, rather than on  human effort (good works).

Often there is confusion, because churches do not always clearly distinguish between “Law” (which shows our sin, and tells us what God requires) and “Gospel” (the message of what Jesus has accomplished for us, and for all people upon the cross).



To be saved by the law, one must live by it perfectly, 100%, every law (613 in the Old Testament), all the time. Due to our sinful nature, we cannot do that.  Because Christ kept the law perfectly, we are justified (considered righteous) before God.

While we need to continue hearing God’s law (what God requires), only the Gospel (what Christ has done) saves us.  The focus of a church’s message must be the gospel, which never requires, but only gives.  Even faith is a gift. (Romans 10:17)


What is the “Gospel” ?

When … law and gospel are placed in contrast to each other – as when Moses himself is spoken as a teacher of the law and Christ as a preacher of the gospel – we believe, teach, and confess that the gospel is not a proclamation of repentance or retribution, but is, strictly speaking, nothing else than a proclamation of comfort and a joyous message which does not rebuke nor terrify but comforts consciences against the terror of the law, directs them solely to Christ’s merit, and lifts them up again through the delightful proclamation of the grace and favor of God, won through Christ’s merit. Kolb & Wengert, The Book of Concord, Formula of Concord, Epitome, (1577) Article V: Concerning Law and Gospel, par. 6-7, p. 501.


Understanding the Message of the Gospel

Martin LutherThe early church believed that we are saved as by God’s grace because of Jesus’ suffering and death upon the cross.  Yet they did not delve into the details of exactly how Christians receive that grace until the time of the Protestant Reformation.  By that time the Roman Catholic Church had begun to teach that though salvation is by grace, we receive that grace and are justified through personal worthiness.  On October 31, 1517 (the eve before All Saints Day), a young Catholic monk named Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door (which served as a bulletin board) of the castle church in Wittenberg, inviting discussion on a series of topics, including salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

 

 

open bible listing the four gospels