MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (January 3, 2022)

*Happy New Year! Due to the holiday, I was unable to publish MONDAY MINUTES on Monday; please forgive the delay. I pray you are blessed in 2022!

In our last blog post, we discussed the purpose of the gospel, and we discovered that purpose to be to illuminate life, not to create life. Today, I want to ask the question: What IS the gospel?

The term “gospel” literally means “good news.” It is translated from a Greek word (εὐαγγέλιον – where we get the term “evangel”) which also means “good news.” And indeed the gospel is good news – in fact, the true gospel is the BEST news!

You see, the Bible is clear about the plight of man: he is “dead” in trespasses and in sins. As we saw in a previous post about the new birth, “dead” means “dead” – there is NO spiritual life whatsoever in the natural man. In fact, Paul told the Corinthian church that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned..” (1 Cor. 2:14). Thus, there is nothing spiritual within a man who is spiritually dead; this is what being “dead in trespasses and sins” means! (Eph. 2:1).

When Adam ate of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, he plunged all of mankind into sin and separation from God. God had said, “in the day thou eatest [of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17). God meant what He said! In that day, Adam died spiritually and became a sinner, and all of his descendants were born with that same sin nature (see, e.g., Gen. 5:3: And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; see also Rom. 5:12: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. . . .”

What did this mean for mankind? Did Adam make us a little sick, and we need to get some medicine and nurse ourselves back to health? Let me ask you a question: does a dead man need medicine? Does a dead man need a doctor to help him heal himself? NO! A dead man needs a coroner, not a doctor! And all the coroner can do is pronounce him dead and call the undertaker. If anything other than burial is to happen to a dead man, somehow he must be given LIFE!

Thus enter the gospel message, which tells of a Savior Who died to save His people from their sins (Mat. 1:21). We have already seen (from earlier in this article, and previous articles) that the Holy Spirit must quicken and make one alive if any life is to exist, and that the Holy Spirit works independent of any means of men; however, when one of God’s elect children HAS been quickened by the Spirit, he needs to be told the good news about what has happened to him. This is where the true gospel message brings such comfort and peace: it tells NOT of a little savior who tried to save him, but of a Great Savior Who accomplished the task!

In 1 Cor. 15:3-4, Paul describes the gospel message as being about “how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. . . .” Nowhere in his message did he describe any part for man to play! It would not have been “good news” to anyone who saw himself as a sinner in Paul’s day to be told he had yet something to do in order to avail himself of eternal salvation. On the other hand, it was GREAT news to hear that Jesus had finished the job!

Most of the so-called gospel messages today focus on the sinner, and what the sinner must do to be saved. The TRUE gospel message focuses upon the Savior, and what HE did to save His people from their sins. This is why I said earlier that the true gospel is the “best” news – it doesn’t tell a sinner to do something in order to get himself saved, but it tells the sinner who has been saved about the Savior who saves sinners!

I find great comfort from the message that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, of whom (like Paul) I see myself as chief. I find no comfort in being told I have to do something to be saved. I pray you are able to rejoice in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, even as Paul and the other Apostles rejoiced in their day!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor