The Gospel of Salvation?

Someone told me that CharismaMag.com had some great articles this month. I agree, it did. One of them inspired yesterday’s post.

Today, though, I want to disagree with one, or at least make it more direct.

The article is called The Difference Between the Gospel of Salvation and the Gospel of the Kingdom. The author describes the difference in this way:

The simplest way to understand the distinction between the two kingdoms is to recognize that the gospel of salvation deals only with the salvation of your soul. The gospel of the kingdom deals with all things the cross affected, including not only salvation but also the reconciliation of all things.

I cannot tell whether the author’s description of “the gospel of salvation” is meant to describe a modern misconception—a false gospel—or whether he is acknowledging it as a truth. At one point he says about Jesus:

His emphasis was more than salvation.

I want to make it clear that his description of this “gospel of salvation” is a description of a false gospel that needs to be repented of.

The author mentions “escaping this evil world.” He complains (rightly) that those who adhere only to the “gospel of salvation” want to escape this evil world through the rapture rather influencing the world.

I just want to make it clear that those with this mindset have believed a false gospel. They don’t have a “gospel of salvation”; they have falsehood.

When Peter preached the Gospel of salvation, which ought not to be different than the Gospel of the Kingdom, he told the Jews, “Be saved from this perverse generation” (Acts 2:38). Escaping this evil world, for Peter, was part and parcel of the Gospel.

In the next chapter of Acts, Peter told the Jews, “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out” (3:19). He added, “Every soul that will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people” (v. 23). And then, “God, having raised up his servant, Jesus, sent him to your first, to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from your wickedness” (v. 26).

The point the author makes in that article is that the “gospel of salvation” is preoccupied with going to heaven, not with life on this earth.

Pause with me for a second, and read this slowly: “preoccupied with going to heaven, not with life on this earth.”

That ought to set off alarms throughout our body. We ought to shiver in the shock of paradox when we here such a thing.

“If you do these things you will never stumble. For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 1:10-11).

Going to heaven has everything to do with life on this earth.

We must all be revealed before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10)

Do you think this, O man who judges those who practice such things, and do the same, that you will escape the judgment of God. … According to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and the righteous judgment of God, who “will pay back to everyone according to their works:” to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory, honor, and incorruptibility, [he will pay back] eternal life. (Rom. 2:3,5-7

Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. Therefore don’t be partakers with them. (Eph. 5:5-7)

There’s a pretty good chart of the difference between the “gospel of salvation” and the “gospel of the kingdom” in the article I linked above. It’s worth looking at, but make sure you realize that is a false gospel on the left, not just an inadequate one, and the true gospel on the right, not just a better one.

About Paul Pavao

I am married, the father of six, and currently the grandfather of two. I run a business, live in a Christian community, teach, and I am learning to disciple others better than I have ever been able to before. I believe God has gifted me to restore proper foundations to the Christian faith. In order to ensure that I do not become a heretic, I read the early church fathers from the second and third centuries. They were around when all the churches founded by the apostles were in unity. I also try to stay honest and open. I argue and discuss these foundational doctrines with others to make sure my teaching really lines up with Scripture. I am encouraged by the fact that the several missionaries and pastors that I know well and admire as holy men love the things I teach. I hope you will be encouraged too. I am indeed tearing up old foundations created by tradition in order to re-establish the foundations found in Scripture and lived on by the churches during their 300 years of unity.
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