Explaining the Gospel 
 by E.H.  “Jack” Sequeira 

2 – The Everlasting Gospel Defined

According to the apostle Paul, the gospel is “the righteousness of God.”

Romans 1:16:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 3:21:
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

By this he meant it is a righteousness planned by God from the foundation of the world...

Ephesians 1:4:
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.

Revelation 13:8:
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast — all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

...promised by God since the Fall...

Genesis 3:15:
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

...and fulfilled by God through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ — the everlasting gospel.

Romans 1:1-4:
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God — the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead:  Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:18-21:
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The gospel, in other words, is a righteousness that is all of God’s doing on behalf of the fallen human race.

At the Fall, not only did all mankind come under the condemnation of death in Adam...

Romans 5:12, 18:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.  ...Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22:
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

...but man’s very nature was corrupted, sold into slavery to sin.

2 Peter 2:19:
They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity — for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

John 8:34:
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”

Romans 3:9-12:
What shall we conclude then?  Do we have any advantage?  Not at all!  For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.  As it is written:  “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Romans 7:14:
We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Consequently, since the Fall, holy and sinless living, apart from God’s grace, became impossible and, therefore, “by the works of the law shall no one be justified.”

Romans 3:20:
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Galatians 2:16:
...Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.  So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

But what the law could not accomplish, because of weakened human nature, God did in Christ Jesus.  By sending His Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh,” Christ obtained for mankind a salvation full and complete from every aspect of our sin problem from the guilt and punishment of sin, the power and slavery to sin, and the nature and presence of sin.

Romans 8:2-4:
...Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:5-6:
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus....

This is what constitutes the good news of the everlasting gospel.

Unfortunately, as a church, we have given the word “gospel” a very broad meaning.  As a result, many Adventists are confused regarding the relationship between justification (the imputed righteousness of Christ), and sanctification (the imparted righteousness of Christ).  The Bible describes three phases of salvation that are related yet distinct.  These three phases of salvation are:

  1. The gospel;
  2. The fruits of the gospel; and
  3. The hope of the gospel.

Failure to see the relationship and distinction between them has produced confusion in our midst.  The following is a brief description of these three phases of salvation, showing their relationship as well as their distinction.

1. The Gospel.  This is the unconditional good news of salvation obtained for all humanity in Christ’s holy history His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  It is referred to as the objective facts of salvation and is a finished or completed work, to which mankind has made, and can make, no contribution whatsoever. 

Romans 3:28:
For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

Romans 5:18:
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

Ephesians 2:8-9:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.

It is, therefore, entirely the work of God and that is why it is described by the apostle Paul as “the righteousness of God.”  It is this holy history of Christ that constitutes the everlasting gospel and saves sinful mankind from sin, now, and in the judgment.  When received by faith, the gospel becomes justification or righteousness by faith.

Each of the above four facts that constitute the gospel message the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ is vital to our salvation.  In the incarnation or Christ’s birth, God united the Son’s sinless divine nature to our corporate fallen human nature that needed redeeming.  This not only qualified Christ to be mankind’s legal substitute and representative, but it also made our humanity, which was spiritually dead, spiritually alive in Christ.

Ephesians 2:5:
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

By His life, which He lived for 33 years bearing our corporate humanity, Christ perfectly obeyed the positive demands of the law (He fulfilled the injunction “obey and live”), on behalf of the human race He came to redeem.  But since that human nature He assumed in the incarnation was our corporate condemned humanity that needed redeeming, His perfect obedience could not, in and of itself, atone for our sins.  Consequently, having satisfied the positive demands of the law by His sinless life, Jesus then went to the cross and bore the wages of sin in our corporate humanity.  In doing this, His death met the justice of the law on behalf of all mankind.

On the cross, the collective life of the fallen human race died forever in Christ, the second or eternal death, the just demands of the law.  But the incredible good news of the gospel is that God so loved the world that He gave the eternal life of His only begotten Son to and for the human race.

1 John 5:11-12:
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

As a result the human race was resurrected in Christ as a redeemed humanity, cleansed from all sin.

2 Timothy 1:8-10:
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner.  Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

It is on this basis that Paul could declare to the Corinthian Christians, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!

This, in a nutshell, is what constitutes the fantastic good news of the everlasting gospel.

It is important to note at this point, however, what Christ actually saved mankind from in His holy history His birth, life, death, and resurrection.  For everything we believers experience pertaining to our salvation, in this present life and in the life to come, is based or founded on this finished work of our Saviour.

1 Corinthians 3:11-13:
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.  If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.

The Bible clearly teaches that God sent His Son into this world to save mankind from sin.

John 1:29:
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

John 3:17:
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

But sin is a multiphased problem.  All Adventists are aware that sin is “the transgression of the law...

1 John 3:4:
Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

...that results in guilt and punishment. 

Galatians 3:10:
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written:  “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

But the Scriptures also define sin as a state a force, a law or principle that resides and controls our sinful human nature, the flesh. 

Romans 7:17, 20, 23:
As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  ...Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  ...But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.

And further, the corruption and physical infirmities of our bodies are also part and parcel of our sin problem from which we need to be redeemed.

Romans 8:23:
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

1 Corinthians 15:53-57:
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ, by His birth, life, death, and resurrection, redeemed fallen humanity from every one of these sin problems its guilt and punishment, its power and slavery, as well as its nature and presence.  Therefore, the good news of the everlasting gospel is that Christ obtained for mankind salvation full and complete.

Through the incarnation, we who were spiritually dead were made spiritually alive in Christ. 

Ephesians 2:5:
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

Based on this fact, believers can experience the new birth. 

Titus 3:5:
...He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit....

Then, by His perfect life and sacrificial death Christ re-wrote mankind’s history and changed humanity’s status from condemnation to justification to life. 

Romans 5:18:
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

Having reconciled the sinful human race to God on the cross...

Romans 5:10:
For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

...Christ, in the resurrection, cleanses the human race from every defilement of sin.  He then took this redeemed humanity (in Himself) to heaven to intercede for us at God’s right hand, as our great High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary.

Romans 8:34:
Who then is the one who condemns?  No one.  Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Ephesians 2:5-6:
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus....

1 John 2:1-2:
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.  But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father — Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

But since Christ’s holy history His birth, life, death, and resurrection (i.e., the gospel) is God’s supreme gift to mankind, and in view of the fact that God created man with a free will, this good news of the gospel demands a human response. 

John 3:16-18:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Mark 16:15-16:
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Consequently, those who accept the gospel message by faith are counted perfect in Christ in performance, in justice, as well as in nature.  This is what justification by faith or imputed righteousness is all about and which entitles all believers to eternal life and heaven, now and in the judgment.  So while the gospel, the truth as it is in Christ, is unconditional good news to all humanity, experiencing that salvation is conditional and will only be enjoyed by those who believe.

John 5:24:
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”

Hence, the good news of the everlasting gospel is that, in Christ, God not only obtained for the human race “justification unto life,” but in that salvation is also included sanctification, total victory over the sinful nature, as well as glorification, the total redemption of our bodies.  As a result, the believer who is justified by faith not only stands “complete in Christ”...

Colossians 2:10:
And in Christ you have been brought to fullness.  He is the head over every power and authority.

...but the faith that justifies also makes it possible for the believer to live the sanctified life, manifesting the selfless love of the Saviour in this present evil world. 

Galatians 1:4:
...Who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father....

And if that faith continues or endures to the end it will culminate in glorification at the second advent.

Romans 6:22:
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

1 John 3:8-11:
The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.  No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.  This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are:  Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.  For this is the message you heard from the beginning:  We should love one another.

This was the essence of the 1888 message.  This is the everlasting gospel which I believe God raised up the Advent Movement to proclaim to all nations as a witness before Christ returns to execute judgment.

[NOTE:  Parts 2 and 3 are in the next study.]

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