- Stephen Wiebe
No Other Gospel
There was a time in our history when there was only one gospel. It was a time when everyone walked with God because it was known that God’s way was the only way. It was a time when mankind did not try to be right with God in a way that seemed more suited to man’s ability. This time in history, however brief, was perfect. It was in the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve had not yet sinned.
But Genesis 3 displays for us the first time man tried to make himself acceptable to God by a way other than what God required, which was obedience. Genesis 3:7 says “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Sin was committed, and the first thing they realized was that it had impacted their relationship with God. By their own effort, they tried to conceal what they had done, but God’s reaction shows no surprise. This is the first appearance of man-made religion, when Adam and Eve tried by their own effort to be acceptable to God—and they came up short.
What is meant by another gospel? According to Galatians 1:8, it is any gospel that differs from the gospel of Jesus Christ, and delivering it is a serious offense deserving of eternal condemnation for the bearer of that gospel. The word gospel means “good news” and is more clearly defined in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” The gospel is the life and teachings of Jesus, his death for our sins, burial, and resurrection, all foretold by the Scripture.
A growing number of churches in America preach a different gospel. There are those who teach that if we follow Jesus, ours is the right to happiness and prosperity and health. There are those who teach that we need to live in such a way that the good done in our lives will (hopefully) outweigh the bad. Many different forms exist, but any belief in any other form of doctrine other than the gospel of Jesus leaves people without hope, and leaves only condemnation. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are completely sufficient to redeem us to God, and any of our most excellent efforts fall far, far short of making us worthy of God’s love.
It is a tragedy that these churches, who readily, but falsely, place themselves under the umbrella of Christianity are so influential and prominent in our day, deceiving many. They have tried to make the narrow gate that few find (Matthew 7:14) into a broad gate that will accept many. It seems hardly to matter if they call on a different god, or if they live unrepentant, unchanged lives.
If God is made out to be only loving and accepting of sinners, without their need to change, and little is mentioned of putting to death the flesh, or of the enmity between God and the sinner (Romans 5:10, Romans 8:5-7, James 4:4), or that the unbeliever is under the wrath of God (John 3:36), the fear of God starts to dissipate, sin seems less serious, and evangelism becomes more about marketing instead of an attempt to steal a soul away from eternal wrath.
Churches are not called to amalgamate with the world. Churches are supposed to draw firm lines and not budge or shrink back from these hard lines. Churches should not be comfortable or attractive to a person who remains unsaved or living in sin. Instead, there should be a recognition of the seriousness of sin, and fear of compromising with sin that would cause sin to be dealt with instead of being covered up. We have nothing in common with those who bring another gospel other than the gospel of Jesus Christ. A command regarding this is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. We are not to affirm such a person in any way in order to not take part in his wicked works (2 John 2:9-10).