THE TRUE GOSPEL
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The current teaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom emphasizes justification by faith. “Grace” is defined as “forgiveness.” The goal of being forgiven and justified by faith is eternal residence in Heaven. Justification by faith and the grace of forgiveness, leading to eternal residence in Heaven, is not the emphasis of the New Testament.
Table of Contents
THE TRUE GOSPEL
Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11)
There is imputed (ascribed) righteousness, and then there is the fruit of righteousness, as in the verse above.
Imputed righteousness is given to us when we first draw on the Bank of Heaven. Christ kept the Law of Moses perfectly, which earned for Him righteousness, and eternal life. But Christ did not spend what He had earned. Rather, He suffered as though He had broken the Law. Therefore there is an account in the Bank of Heaven, earned by the Lord Jesus Christ, which we can draw on by faith.
In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
The fruit of righteousness is not ascribed righteousness. The fruit of righteousness is borne as Christ is formed in us. The forming of Christ in us is equivalent to the writing of the eternal law of God on our mind and on our heart. This is the new covenant.
If any person is abiding in Christ a new creation of righteous behavior is coming forth.
Let’s think for a moment about the plan of salvation.
Saved From Wrath
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15,16)
The good news, the Gospel, is that whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.
It is customary to think of “being saved” as being eligible to go to Heaven when we die. But one can study the New Testament thoroughly and not find any passage kept in context that sets forth going to Heaven when we die as being the result of believing and being baptized. To be saved does not mean we now are qualified to spend eternity in Heaven when we die.
Being “saved” means when the Day of Wrath comes, we will not be destroyed. I am not certain what being destroyed entails, but it will include not being given eternal life; not being permitted to enter the new world of righteousness; and possibly assignment to a place of torment. Our portion will be darkness instead of the light and glory of Christ and His redeemed people.
And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (I Thessalonians 1:10)
We certainly want to be saved from God’s wrath, and we do not want to be kept outside the city of light. We want others to be saved also.
Being saved from wrath might be thought of as being rescued from drowning. If we fell overboard and someone threw us a life preserver, he would save us from death. But notice that being saved from drowning tells us nothing about how we are going to use the life that has been given back to us.
So it is with initial salvation. It is negative in that it is deliverance from wrath. But what the positive outcome will be depends on how we use the opportunity that has been given to us.
If the Kingdom of God consisted of people who had been saved from Divine wrath, and the program of redemption had stopped at that point, we would not have much to look forward to. Even if Satan and his demons had been removed, and our sinful nature had been left behind, we still would not be safe. Adam and Eve did not have a sinful nature and were not being oppressed by demons. A simple suggestion was made to them, and on the strength of that suggestion they disobeyed God. Paradise was removed as a result.
The Kingdom of God does not consist of people whose experience with God has been limited to deliverance from Divine wrath but of people who behave righteously.
It is the Lord’s will that human beings behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. All of God’s dealings with us; every act of religious fervor and worship; the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit; all have as their purpose the producing of human beings who behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It usually is the case that religious practices obscure or prevent this goal from being achieved.
The next step after initial salvation is moral transformation.
Transformed in Character
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18)
If we are to enter the Kingdom of God our righteous behavior must surpass that of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses. Surpassing those people is not difficult because, according to the New Testament, they were envious, covetous, and murderers of Christ.
If we are to enter the Kingdom of God we must live according to the laws of the Kingdom laid down in the Sermon on the Mount.
Now, how do we do this? How do we become perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect? How do we gain the strength to not resist evil? How do we learn to rejoice when our good is spoken of as wickedness?
I will list some of the behaviors expected of us if we are to inherit the Kingdom of God. But we must keep in mind that God works as we work. When we make the effort to do what the New Testament commands, God reaches down and helps us. The Holy Spirit strengthens us and gives us wisdom. The Lord Jesus walks with us and teaches us. We are not alone in the effort to achieve moral transformation.
If God did not assist us with supernatural strength and wisdom, and did not feed us with the Substance of Christ, our efforts would not produce the desired transformation. We cannot bring our adamic nature into the Kingdom of God. We are to assign our adamic nature to the cross with Christ. Then the Holy Spirit can enable us to put our sinful nature to death. Also, the Holy Spirit gives us incorruptible resurrection life so we can live victoriously in Christ.
On the other hand, if we do not make the necessary effort to do what is listed below, the transformation will not take place. One of the great errors of current Christian thinking is that Jesus will do it all, or that moral transformation will be imputed to us. This will never happen. If God did it all for us, Christian character would not be formed in us. The rod of iron that smashes sin would not be formed in us.
So as we practice what is listed below, God will be with us, forming Christ in us, feeding us with His body and blood.
We are to pray without ceasing, bringing every detail of our life to the Lord. As we do this, Christ feeds us with His own body and blood.
We must confess our sins when the Holy Spirit points them out to us. Then we look to the Lord as we renounce these behaviors and turn away from them.
We are to gather with fervent Christians as often as possible.
We are to present our body a living sacrifice to God, counting that we have died with Christ on the cross and have been raised with Him to the right hand of God in Heaven.
We are to seek the ministries and gifts of the Spirit, looking for increased ways in which we can serve the Lord and build up the Body of Christ.
We must meditate in the Scriptures, Old and New Testament, continually. We are to listen carefully to see if the Holy Spirit is reproving us concerning a passage we have read. If He is, we are to confess our concern and pray that God will put His fire on it until we can be purged from all filthiness of the flesh and Spirit.
We must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus every day.
We must remain patiently in difficult circumstances until God brings deliverance to us. We must endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ.
Sometimes we can just stop sinning by making up our mind to do so. For example, we can stop using profanity. We can stop defiling our body with tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. If we are addicted, we can pray and the Lord will deliver us.
We can stop lying, stealing, gossiping and criticizing our fellow believers. But first we will have to find in the New Testament that those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. Otherwise we will not make the determined effort that is necessary.
We are to share our material wealth, remembering the needy as the Lord directs. The Lord will give us a generous spirit if we pray.
The demands of the new covenant are as I have presented above. Marriage to the Lamb of God is a total commitment. The grace given to us under the new covenant is correspondingly great. God never asks anything of us unless He has made provision for its accomplishment.
We are to be filled with the fruit of righteousness that is produced as we continue to abide in Christ each day. When people see us behaving in such a godly manner they will give glory and praise to God.
We are saved from wrath by believing in Christ and being baptized in water. Then we must obey the numerous commandments found in the New Testament, and also obey God when He speaks to us personally. To disobey God is to sin. Disobedience to God is not tolerated in the Kingdom of God.
Keeping the Laws of the Kingdom of God
What is righteous behavior? Righteous behavior is described in the Sermon on the Mount.
The Law of Moses was given that sin might be brought under control until the Seed, Jesus Christ, came and administered the blessing given to Abraham.
The Law of Moses is an abridged, covenantal form of the eternal moral law of God. The eternal moral law of God reflects God’s Character. It shall never change, no, not in the smallest detail.
The new covenant, the Christian covenant, is not primarily forgiveness. The purpose of initial forgiveness is to get us started on the program of the new covenant. The program of the new covenant is the writing of the eternal moral law of God on our mind and heart.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10)
We see from the above that the Christian covenant includes forgiveness but is not primarily forgiveness. As we make the effort to behave according to the principles that set forth previously, God intervenes and adds Christ to us. This is how the eternal moral law of God is written in our mind and heart.
Jesus Christ is the Word, the law of God, made flesh. We are the flesh being made the eternal moral law of God.
In the Sermon on the Mount the Lord Jesus Christ set forth the laws of the Kingdom of God. They are the same as the laws found in the Ten Commandments although greatly amplified.
We can make an effort to keep the principles of the Sermon on the Mount to the best of our ability. As we seek Christ every day, the desire, willingness, and strength to keep these laws is formed in us.
God will work, and the saints will govern, until every person in the new world of righteousness is obeying the laws of the Kingdom of God.
What is righteous behavior?
- It is being poor in spirit rather than proud and arrogant.
- It is mourning over the immorality in the world.
- It is being meek rather than pushing and shoving to get our own way.
- It is hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
- It is being merciful.
- It is being a peacemaker.
- It is persisting in godly behavior when we are persecuted
- It is rejoicing when people insult us and falsely speak evil of us.
- It is abiding in Christ so we “taste” of Christ.
- It is doing good deeds.
- It is surpassing the Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses in acts of honesty and generosity.
- It is showing kindness to other people.
- It is permitting ourselves to be defrauded, as the Lord leads.
- It is keeping ourselves morally pure.
- It is not using God’s name insincerely.
- It is not resisting evil.
- It is loving our enemies.
- It is not showing off when we perform charitable deeds.
- It is storing up treasures in Heaven rather than on the earth.
- It is serving God rather than money.
- It is seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness rather than placing our material needs as our highest priority.
- It is not judging other people.
- It is not giving what is sacred to people who will not value our gift.
- It is praying to God constantly for all our needs and desires, knowing that God will answer.
- It is walking the narrow way that leads to eternal life.
- It is guarding ourselves against false prophets who obviously are not serving Christ; who are not living righteous lives.
The Kingdom of God requires the actual doing of the will of Christ, rather than just calling Him “Lord! Lord!” Whoever does not seek to keep all of these laws is building his house on the sand. When the floods of trouble come against his house it will crumble.
Unless we behave in the above manner we are not worthy of the Kingdom of God. Those who break these laws of Christ, which really are an elaboration of the moral aspects of the Law of Moses, and teach people to break them, shall be called least in the Kingdom. Those who keep them and teach others to keep them shall be called great in the Kingdom.
Today we present imputed righteousness as though it is the most important form of righteousness; in fact, as though it is the only form of righteousness. Actually imputed righteousness is God’s way of bringing us to Himself initially, and keeping us righteous while we are growing in Christ.
We are not worthy, only He is worthy,” we moan, ignoring the several times in the New Testament where we are exhorted to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Kingdom.
We are almost totally in error, and the Christian churches are filled with spiritual babies. In fact, many of the members are not even spiritual babies. They have been drawn into the churches by methods other than the drawing of the Holy Spirit. They are religious people, good people perhaps, but they are not disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The errors that have accumulated in Christian teaching have eclipsed the message of the Kingdom of God, turning it into a belief system designed to bring untransformed people to Heaven, to the spirit paradise. We have been deceived. We are not teaching or doing what Jesus commanded. Yet, the Great Commission is that we make disciples, teaching them to obey the commands of Christ.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:19,20)
We are not doing this. We are not making disciples and teaching them to obey the commandments of Christ that I have listed above. We are presenting the Gospel as a means of escaping Hell; in fact, as a means of escaping the necessity for keeping Christ’s commandments and those of His Apostles.
We are preaching a false gospel, and we have the moral wreckage in the churches to show for it. We are building churches rather than building people. Hopefully during the present generation there will be a complete reformation of Christian thinking. We presently are living in a delusion.
(“The True Gospel”, 3883-1)