The Gospel is ‘the word of truth’. This is repeatedly affirmed in Scripture (Jn 17:17; Col 1:5; 2 Tim 2:15; Jas 1:18). Nowadays, for many people, ‘truth’ no longer means ‘truth’. In our post-modern generation, truth is simply what you make it. This means that your ‘truth’ is just as valid as my ‘truth’, which is actually nonsense. By definition, truth is exclusive. If one thing is true everything that disagrees with it must be false.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (Jn 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:13). So we have a twofold witness: Word and Spirit. Furthermore, Jesus himself actually is the Truth (John 14:6). Truth is embodied in him. To know him is to know the truth.
‘Gospel’ means good news. It is good news because it offers us salvation. This word can mean deliverance, release, liberation or wholeness. Here it probably means all of these. Through Jesus we are delivered or released from sin and all that goes with it. Isaiah the prophet put it well: But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed (Is 53:5).
To believe means to trust. It is not just a mental nodding of the head. (‘OK, I believe that. Cool.’) It is a sense of total reliance on Jesus for liberation from the deadly curse of sin and for freedom to live a brand new life. (‘Lord Jesus, I believe that you died for me and I trust you to forgive my sins, to blot out my past and to give me a new life.’)
The Holy Spirit is given to us as a guarantee that the new life we have is real, that there is a wonderful inheritance ahead for us, and that one day we shall possess it to the praise of the glory of God. What an extraordinary hope we have in Christ! No wonder our hearts are filled with joy even in the darkest times.
· Which three of the following statements are NOT true? Why? (a) If I live a good life I will go to heaven. (b) I can be sure I am going to heaven because I pray and go to church (c) In spite of my sins, I know I have eternal life through Christ (d) In the long run everyone goes to heaven regardless because God is love (e) Through Jesus’ death all my sins are blotted out forever.
· Which one of these three terms means the most to you personally?— ‘Gospel’, ‘salvation’ and ‘inheritance’. Give reasons for your answer.