Is there one gospel?

The Greek word “euaggelion” is translated as “gospel” in the Bible and means “good news” or “glad tidings”.

There is only one true gospel of salvation for us in this present dispensation (referred to by many as the “Church Age”). It has been this way for over 1900 years now, and will be until the rapture of the church.

However, we must also realize that this present grace dispensation does not encompass all of history and all of the future. The dispensation of grace had a beginning and will have an end. The other dispensations, including those before and after this one have had and will have other gospels.

In this present dispensation of grace, there is only one gospel for us. That is the gospel of grace: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, freely gave His life as the perfect sacrifice to pay for all of our sins, and He was crucified, buried, and then rose bodily from the dead on the third day. See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 4:24-25, and 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

There are other gospels being preached all over the world today, but those other gospels are false, perverted gospels. In Paul’s letters to the mostly Gentile churches, Romans-Philemon, he writes to believers in this present grace dispensation. Paul warned against following other gospels. In Galatians 1:6-9 he wrote, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

The Greek word here translated as “accursed” is “anathema”. It means to be cursed or doomed. So in the strongest terms, Paul is denouncing anyone that preaches any other gospel to us.

Now let us look very closely at what Paul said so that we do not misunderstand. Did he pronounce anathema on anyone who ever preached any other gospel to anyone? Many people misinterpret it that way. But no, he said, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Did Moses preach a gospel to us? No. Did Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry preach a gospel to us? No. Did John the Baptist or the twelve apostles of the circumcision ever preach a gospel to us? No. They all preached to the nation of Israel under the dispensation of the law of Moses, not to us who are under the dispensation of grace. Paul’s statement of anathema is not applicable to Moses, Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, or the twelve apostles. But it is not because they did not preach another gospel. They did. The statement does not apply to them because they did not preach another gospel to us, Christians in this dispensation of grace.

Occasionally I will hear someone say something like, “Everyone who has ever been saved, in both the old and new testaments, was saved by the gospel of grace. The only difference is that those who lived before the cross looked forward to the Christ’s crucifixion, and Christians today look back to it.” Well that sounds kind of cute, but it makes no sense at all. No one can believe a gospel that they have not heard. The twelve apostles had no idea that Jesus Christ was going to be killed at all, much less die as the sacrifice for all of our sins (Luke 18:31-34 and Matthew 16:21-22). And after His crucifixion, they had no idea that Christ would rise from the dead until after it had happened (John 20:9). So very clearly, they did not believe our gospel, that Christ would be crucified for our sins and rise from the dead. They couldn’t have. It was a secret that had been hidden from them by God. They believed the gospel of the kingdom, simply that Jesus was who He said He was, the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God (Matthew 16:16 and John 11:27). And if they did not know our gospel of grace after having spent three years with Christ, then certainly no one else before that time knew it.

Now another passage that is frequently misunderstood is Galatians 3:6-9, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.”

Here we see that the good news that was proclaimed by God to Abraham was, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.” Many people have been told that this means that our gospel of grace was preached to Abraham. Well let’s see. Did it say how all the nations would become blessed? Did it say there would be a Messiah that would die for the sins of mankind? Did it say that He would then rise from the dead? No, no, and no, not even close. It just said, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.” That is the good news that Abraham believed. It was not the gospel of grace.

For further study on this topic, see the article Israel’s Kingdom Gospel and Our Grace Gospel.


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