What Is the Gospel? by R. C. Sproul

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead–so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

Source: What Is the Gospel?

Ch: 31- The State of People after Death and The Ressurection of the Dead


31.1 After death the bodies of people return to dust and undergo decomposition,1 but their souls (which neither die nor sleep for they are immortal in essence) immediately return to God who gave them.2 The souls of the righteous are then made perfect in holiness, they are received into paradise where they are with Christ and look on the face of God in light and glory, and wait for the full redemption of their bodies.3 The souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torment and utter darkness, reserved for judgment on the great day [of judgment].4 For souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges no other place than these two.

(1) Gen 2:17; 3:19; Act 13:36; Rom 5:12-21; 1Co 15:22
(2) Gen 2:7; Jas 2:26; Mat 10:28; Ecc 12:7
(3) Psa 23:6; 1Ki 8:27-49; Isa 63:15; 66:1; Luk 23:43; Act 1:9-11; 3:21; 2Co 5:6-8;12:2-4; Eph 4:10; Phi 1:21-23; Heb 1:3; 4:14-15; 6:20; 8:1; 9:24; 12:23; Rev 6:9-11; 14:13; 20:4-6
(4) Luk 16:22-26; Act 1:25; 1Pe 3:19; 2Pe 2:9

31.2 On the last day, those believers who are still alive will not die, but will be changed.1 All the dead will be raised up2 with their own bodies3 (although these will have different qualities)4 that will be united again to their souls for ever.5

(1) 1Co 15:50-53; 2Co 5:1-4; 1Th 4:17
(2) Dan 12:2; Joh 5:28-29; Act 24:15
(3) Job 19:26-27; Joh 5:28-29; 1Co 15:35-38,42-44
(4) 1Co 15:42-44,52-54
(5) Dan 12:2; Mat 25:46

31.3 By the power of Christ the bodies of the unrighteous will be raised to dishonour.1 By his Spirit2 the bodies of the righteous will be raised to honour,3 for they will be transformed to be like his own glorious body.4

(1) Dan 12:2, Joh 5:28-29
(2) Rom 8:1,11; 1Co 15:45; Gal 6:8
(3) 1Co 15:42-49

Testing and Tempting – Meet the Puritans

In his discussion on the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Thomas Watson notes that God does not lead anyone into temptation in the sense that he doesn’t tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13). God doesn’t entice or encourage his creatures to sin. As Watson says, “He permits sin, but does not promote it…What king will tempt his subjects to break laws which he himself established?”God, however, does test or try his people. In the KJV, Genesis 22:1 says that God “tempted” Abraham, but Watson carefully points out that “tempting there was no more than trying.”

There is, therefore, a very important distinction between testing and tempting. God tests but does not tempt. To be sure, some tests that God gives include temptation. In the test, we are tempted to sin but we need to understand that God is not the one tempting us or enticing us to sin. Rather we are tempted by what has been called the trinity of evil: the world, the flesh and the devil.

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Source: Testing and Tempting – Meet the Puritans