I got the phrase “Kingdom Gospel, surrender, and baptism” from Marc Carrier, a missionary to Africa. He wrote on Facebook, “Over 20 pastors in attendance. Taught kingdom gospel, surrender, repentance, and baptism.”
Yesterday we covered the Kingdom Gospel. I’m going to try to finish the whole phrase today. I should be able to do that since on the subject of baptism I’m just going to give you a link to a previous post.
The Gospel of the Kingdom and Our Response
You should read yesterday’s post before today’s. I talked about the Kingdom Gospel proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles. Today’s post is about the response to that Gospel. It is not enough to know the Gospel. When a person says, “What do I do?” you should have an answer for them. The apostles did, and despite Protestant claims to the contrary, it was almost never “just believe.”
I am only covering this word (surrender) because Marc Carrier mentioned it. It’s not scripturally associated with the preaching of the Gospel or the response to the Gospel. However, it is a word we all understand and know is necessary (thus the hymn “I Surrender All”).
The Gospel is the proclamation of a new King and his Kingdom. That is why it is most often called the Gospel of Christ (=God’s Anointed King) or the Gospel of the Kingdom.
The obvious response to such a proclamation, if it is true, is to bow the knee to the new ruler.
When a new king or queen is announced in England, everyone shouts “God save the king/queen.” At the end of the Lord of Rings, Aaragorn is coronated King of Gondor, and everyone immediately bows. When Elsa appears in Frozen, everyone bows to her majesty. [Name of the queen from “Frozen” changed by edit thanks to the attentiveness and concern of my friend Eric Henderson the wise(cracker).)
We know how to respond to the Gospel of the Kingdom. We bow. One day every knee will bow, so it is wise to do so now, not later when the King is angry that you have rejected the proclamation of his ascent to the throne. Jesus is the rightful King of the living and the dead, appointed by God, and he will judge us all.
“Long live the King!”
That is, as we all know, the only appropriate response: surrender.
Repentance is scripturally associated with the Gospel. In fact, it is the primary response associated with hearing the Gospel.
What about faith?
Faith means you believed the proclamation that Jesus is King. No response is required or possible from those who do not believe. Faith is not really a response to the Gospel. Faith is whether you believe the Gospel or not.
The one time that we find an apostle mentioning faith as a response, it is because he had not preached the Gospel yet. The Philippian jailer, after he saw the earthquake release the prisoners after Paul and Silas were singing praises in the middle of the night, asked what he must do to be saved. He had heard no Gospel, only songs. So Paul told him that he must believe in the Lord Jesus the King, and he and his household would be saved.
It was only after this that Paul and Silas went to the jailer’s house, had their wounds treated, then preached the Gospel of the Kingdom to him. He did believe, and believing he surrendered, repented, and was baptized.
I say he repented because that is the word that Scripture uses for those who come to believe that Jesus is the King and choose to follow him, beginning by being baptized into him. Repentance is the change of mind that happens when one realizes that Jesus is the Son of God and King over every king. We yield/surrender to his kingly authority, and we are baptized into his Kingdom.
Repentance is referred to over and over again related to the preaching of the Gospel. The very first Gospel proclamation was by Peter to a Jewish crowd on the day of Pentecost. He ends the proofs he has given by the announcement of the Kingdom Gospel:
Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made the same Jesus you crucifed both Lord and Messiah.
That’s it. He ends there. They have heard the Gospel proclamation that Jesus is the Messiah, the Psalm 2 King that will break the governments of the world in pieces by his iron rod of love and who is the Son of God.
Many believed, were cut to the heart, and asked what their response should be.
Peter gave a simple set of steps:
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus the King, for the forgiveness of sins, and you will received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:36)
Peter didn’t mention faith because if those Jews had not believed, they would not have asked what they needed to do.
Repentance was such an important part of the Gospel proclamation that Paul would later say he was commissioned by God to proclaim to Jews and Gentiles alike that they should “repent, turn to God, and do works worthy of repentance” (Acts 26:20).
The believers in Jerusalem spoke of the Gospel as “repentance to life” and marveled that this gift was granted to Gentiles as well (Acts 11:1-18).
I just did a post on baptism last week. Despite being written earlier it meshes with everything written above.