What Is The True Gospel?
“For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, where of ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.” Colossians 1:5-6
The Epistle to the Colossians was written by Paul while he was a prisoner of Rome. The church at Colossae was probably founded by Epaphras (Col. 1:7). Prominent members of this church were Philemon and later his slave, Onesimus (Col. 4:9).
It is thought that Epaphras heard Paul preach while visiting in Ephesus and experiencing salvation. He returned to Colossae and started the church there.
The purpose of this epistle was to correct the Colossians regarding false teaching which denied the supremacy and all sufficiency of Christ as the head of the body of the church. The epistle points out God’s way of holiness as opposed to man’s way. The error in the Colossae church could be summed up in three directions:
1. Asceticism_. Asceticism is the practice of strict self-denial of anything that is pleasurable, as a measure of personal and spiritual discipline. It seems that some of the Colossians were attempting to subjugate the flesh by various means of self-control or self-denial (Col. 2:23).
2._Legalism. Legalism is when Christians attempt to attain to righteousness and holiness by obedience to man-made rules and regulations. Holiness was equated with strict adherence to codes and rituals regarding meat, drink, feast days, and fast days (Col. 2:16-17).
3. Gnosticism. Gnosticism is the idea that certain individuals possess a greater knowledge and intellectualism that made them arrogant and haughty. They regarded themselves as superior because they had greater knowledge apart from the Word of God (Col. 2:8-10, 18).
I wish I could say that these problems were no longer in the church today, but sad to say they still are.
Colossians 1:5 states: “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven.”
In the New Testament, the word hope signifies both the sentiment of hope and the thing hoped for. Here it signifies the thing hoped for, meaning that it is guaranteed of fulfillment, but not necessarily knowing the time of fulfillment. “In heaven,” means that our hope is stored up in heaven; in effect he is saying that all true hope is of God and from God. There is no hope here on earth.
The hope that Paul speaks of is made possible by what Jesus did at the cross and the resurrection. There is no hope outside of Calvary, and this “hope” is speaking of the coming resurrection of all saints and our eternal presence with Christ. If one’s hope is placed in anything other than Christ and Him crucified, then your hope is in vain.
Whereof Ye Heard Before In The Word Of The Truth Of The Gospel
This phrase contrasts the true gospel of Epaphras with the false gospel of recent teachers. Epaphras was the one who brought the gospel to Colossae, having heard the true gospel from the apostle Paul himself.
The word heard indicates a completed act, or decision meaning they had believed and accepted the true gospel when it was first preached unto them.
The word before refers not to their former pagan state, but prior to their hearing the false teachers.
This false teaching was devoid of the true object of faith—Christ and Him crucified.
Paul is here calling the church back to the truth.
What Is The True Gospel?
First of all there is only one true gospel, while there are many false gospels. The true gospel is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The emphasis must always be on Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That is the foundation of true Bible Christianity. Other aspects of the true gospel are as follows:
• Salvation by the precious blood of Jesus Christ: Man is a sinner, and he cannot be saved outside of faith in Christ and what Christ has done for us at the cross (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 4:3; 5:1-2).
• The baptism with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues (Acts 2:4; 8:14-17; 9:17; 10:44-48; 19:1-7).
• Divine healing according to believing prayer (Mk. 9:23; Jn. 15:14-16).
• A victorious, overcoming, Christian life, made possible by the believer’s faith being in Christ and the cross exclusively, ever making the cross of Christ the object of one’s faith (Rom. 6:1-14; 8:2; I Cor. 1:17-18, 23; 2:2; Gal. Chpt. 5; 6:14; Eph. 2:13-18; Col. 2:14-15).
• The rapture of the church (I Thess. 4:13-18; I Cor. 15:35-58).
• The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule and reign on this earth for 1,000 years (Rev. 19:11-21).
• The perfect age to come that will actually be an age without end. When the perfect age comes, the Lord will transfer His headquarters from heaven to earth (Rev. 21-22).
Which Is Come Unto You;
As It Is In All The World;
And Bringeth Forth Fruit
The true gospel produces fruit-bearing power and that fruit is the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23). True fruit in one’s life authenticates the proof of the gospel.
The phrase, “In all the world” is not to be taken in strict literalness. The term is used as a deliberate exaggeration meaning the gospel had indeed made great progress in other parts of the world. It is not different than being asked, “Who was in church today?” and hearing the reply: “Everyone was there.” The hearer understands that literally not everyone was there but that there was a good representation.
And Knew The Grace Of God In Truth
This phrase means, “the grace of God in its genuine simplicity, without adulteration.”
The idea of this statement is that the grace of God cannot function except in truth, which of course is the gospel of Christ. The idea is explicit: If the Colossians accept the false messages of false messengers, then the grace of God will instantly stop, and if one continues along a false path, then his soul is at stake.
The gospel is not speculation, but fact. It is truth, because it is the record of a person who is the Truth: the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m grateful that I know the true gospel.
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