Believed in Vain?

Evidently it is a very serious matter to compromise the Gospel by obscuring the grace of God, minimizing the work of Christ, imposing false obligations, and muddying the hope of the Gospel.

Obscuring the grace of God: Another gospel is being proclaimed when human works, in any form, are somehow included as part of the means of salvation.

Minimizing the work of Christ: Any gospel that makes human happiness, rather than the honor of Jesus Christ, the primary end of salvation, and, to that end, selectively appeals to the redemptive work of Christ, emphasizing some aspects while almost wholly ignoring others, is not the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Imposing false obligations: They who insist on obligations or practices said to be indispensable for securing the blessings of God, but which create a kind of spiritual smugness and lead believers away from the truth path of Kingdom righteousness, are preaching another gospel and not the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Muddying the hope of the Gospel: The Gospel of the Kingdom is compromised when people are led to hope, long for, and seek anything other than the glory of God and the righteousness, peace, and joy that come from knowing and loving Him.

In every age, our own include the Gospel of the Kingdom has come under assault from false preachers who, in the guise of proclaiming the Truth that is in Jesus, preach a "different gospel." In one way or another, the telltale signs of a "different gospel" can be observed; meanwhile, multitudes are happily following the teaching of false preachers in the belief that the gospel they have embraced is the very Gospel preached by Jesus and the Apostles.

In fact, what many have come to cherish is not the Gospel of the Kingdom but a "different gospel" - bearing many similarities to the true Gospel, to be sure, but a "different gospel" nonetheless, and therefore, no gospel at all.

We can only discern these wayward "winds of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14) when we have a clear picture of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The better we understand and the more wholeheartedly we embrace the Gospel as Jesus and the Apostles taught it, the better able we will be to counsel and lead our fellow believers who may be ensnared in the thrall of a "different gospel" and therefore in danger of having believed in vain (Gal. 3:1-6).

For more insight to this topic, get the book, The Gospel of the Kingdom: Scriptural Studies in the Kingdom of God, by George Eldon Ladd, from our online store.

Or read the article, "The Rest of the Gospel: Advancing the Kingdom," by Regis Nicoll.