Alternatives to the Gospel – Tom Bright

Tom Bright

Webster defines alternative as “the choice between two things.” If I want to go to New York City, there are alternative routes that I might take and still get to my destination. There are also alternative modes of travel. I could walk, or ride a bus, train, or airplane.

If I want to see the Rose Bowl game live, I must go to Pasadena, California—there is no other choice. If I want to see Madison Square Garden, I must go to New York City—there is no option. If I want to see Big Ben, I must go to London—there is no alternative.

All know that in some areas of life, there are options, but in other areas of life there are no choices. For instance, a man can live without his tonsils and appendix, but he must have a heart, lungs, and liver.

There are no alternatives to the Gospel. Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Bloomfield wrote, “The sense is, For it is the powerful means appointed by God for the salvation of all who believe and embrace it.” There is no alternative to the gospel.

Some expect a direct impact of the Holy Spirit upon the human spirit to bring conversion. This is in total disregard of the principle affirmed by Jesus, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mark 16:16). Jesus affirmed the free moral agency of man. Man can decide to believe and be baptized, or he can refuse to obey.

In Romans 1:16-17, Paul wrote that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God. The “righteousness of God” does not refer to an attribute or characteristic of God, that is, that He is a righteous Being. It refers to the means by which God declares man righteous. Righteousness is justification because of the forgiveness of sins.

In Romans 10:1-4 Paul explains that Israel was ignorant of God’s righteousness. Paul was not saying that Israel was ignorant of the fact God is a righteous being. He was saying they were ignorant of the means appointed by God by which man could be declared righteous—the gospel. They, being ignorant of the gospel plan of salvation, were trying to establish their own righteousness.

The gospel reveals the righteousness of God—there is no alternative!

Paul told the Corinthians that he had begotten them through the gospel (1 Cor. 4:15). Peter mentions this begettal. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3). Twenty verses later he clarifies the means of this begettal. “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (v. 23). The gospel is the begetting power—there is no alternative!

The gospel calls us into the service of God. Paul speaks of a “holy calling” (2 Tim. 1:9). He refers to being “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). He also informs us that God “hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (1 The. 2:12).

He settles the how of the calling when he wrote “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 The. 2:14). Jesus affirmed that no man could come to Him “except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). In the next verse he says, “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me” (v. 24). The only source of our learning of Him is the gospel. The gospel calls to obtain glory—there is no alternative!

The gospel sanctifies us. The Bible ascribes sanctification to God (Jude 1), the truth (John 17:17), faith (Acts 26:1, 8), the Word (Eph. 5:26), God’s Will (Heb. 10:10), the covenant (Heb. 10:29), and the Holy Spirit (2 The. 2:13). This does not mean there are seven different sanctifications. The child of God is sanctified only once, but by all these.

Sanctification is possible for man, with God as its author, the Holy Spirit as the agent through inspired men, who revealed “the word of the truth of the gospel” (Col. 1:5). It is the gospel that sanctifies—there is no alternative.

There is no alternative to the gospel. There is no other means by which man can be saved. When one adds something to the gospel, he produces a perverted gospel. Let each of us preach the whole gospel—nothing more, nothing less.

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Author: Editor

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