But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed. —II Corinthians 11:3-4
These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no wonder that his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. In the end they will get the punishment their wicked deeds deserve. —II Corinthians 11:13-15
So many things can look real on the surface or at first glance. Imitations abound in our world. Whether we are talking about money or watches, rings or cds the list goes on and on of objects that are counterfeit.
So it is with the gospel. There are those who promote imitations of it and on the surface they appear to be “servants of righteousness.” But this is only a “disguise.” They are actually promoting “wicked deeds.”
The gospel, the good news, what is it? In I Corinthians 15:1-8 we are told what it is—
“Let me now remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then, and you still stand firm in it. It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message I told you—unless, of course, you believed something that was never true in the first place.
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.”
The gospel in a nutshell is that “Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” Here the gospel is reduced in explanation to a concise statement. But what a statement it is!
“Christ died for our sins” and there is nothing that we can add to that finished work. It is not Christ’s death and something we do. No, we are truly saved from the eternal punishment of sin by “calling on the Name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). Bearing spiritual fruit will be the evidence that a person has truly repented and turned to God (Acts 26:20). This is a marvel when we can really grasp it. It is all by grace— saved and kept now and heaven one day!
Dear Father, thank You for the marvelous grace you have shed on us through Jesus!