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What Is There To Obey About The Gospel?

What Is There To Obey About The Gospel?

by Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
March, 2001

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Last updated:
March 2, 2001.

THE WORD "GOSPEL" MEANS SIMPLY "GOOD NEWS." When Jesus was born into the world an angel announced to the shepherds in the field, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people" (Luke 2:10). The coming of the Messiah into the world was truly hailed as good news by the people of that day and has continued to be held in that regard by all believers down through the centuries.


The good news of Jesus' coming could not be nearly so meaningful to us without considering who He was, why He came, and what He did. He was, of course, God's only begotten Son (Matthew 1:18-20; 3:17; 4:1-6; 17:5; John 1:1-14; etc.). His purpose in coming into the world was for the salvation of lost sinners (Luke 19:10). The means by which salvation for sinners was obtained by Him was in his dying on the cross of Calvary. Paul said that the gospel which he preached was 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 (1 Corinthians 15:3,4; Romans 4:25). So the gospel is the message of salvation to all "who obey him" (Hebrews 5:9), and it is therefore called "the gospel of our salvation" (Ephesians 1:13).


No man could be freed from sins if Christ had not died for our sins and been raised from the dead. The mere fact that he has done this does not guarantee universal salvation. It merely makes possible salvation for all who are willing to meet God's requirements. God wants all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9), and provides a universal "call" to all to receive salvation. This is the reason Jesus gave the command to preach the gospel message to the whole creation, with the promise of salvation to all who believe and are baptized (Mark 16:15,16).


Even though the gospel of Christ "is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth" (Romans 1:16), man is required to "obey" it. As we have ready mentioned, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:8,9). Genuine faith in the gospel message will lead to obedience to it. Failure to obey it indicates a lack of faith. Paul said, "But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?" (Romans 10:16). So saving faith is the faith that leads one to obey the gospel of Christ. Those who fail to do so will be lost (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).


To "obey the gospel of Christ" implies that it contains commands by Him. The first is true faith in Christ. Jesus said, "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). And Paul and Silas told the jailor in Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." The next is to repent or turn away from sin (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:2). The confession of Christ before men is the next step (Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9,10), and is necessary to entitle a person for baptism.


The Scriptures tell us that Philip, the evangelist, traveled along with the Ethiopian eunuch and preached to him the gospel of Christ. "And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him" (Acts 8:36-38). The last command of the Lord to obtain salvation is a burial with Christ in baptism and coming forth to walk in newness of life.


Paul wrote, "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin (Romans 6:3-7). It is at this point that a person gains the salvation from sin proclaimed in the gospel. In this same passage Paul wrote, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness" (Romans 6:16-18).


Everyone who has become a Christian through obedience to the first principles of the gospel should have his "feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" and continue to walk in the light of the gospel (Ephesians 6:14). We are told, "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Walking daily in the light of the gospel will lead to "the hope which is laid up for you in heaven whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel" (Col.1:5).