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“And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that [Jesus Christ] is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:42,43).

THE GOSPEL MAY BE DEFINED AS THE PREACHING OF JESUS CHRIST. And it is in two different senses that it is “of” Jesus Christ. First, it is the good news or glad tidings preached by Jesus, the gospel of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14,15). But also, it is the message about Jesus. In the house of Cornelius, a Roman centurion and the first Gentile convert to Christ, Peter said that God “commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”

It is a fact that the judgment of the world has been given into the hands of Jesus Christ, and we will give account of ourselves to Him. Speaking to a group of philosophers in Athens, Paul said that God “has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

But if Jesus is our Judge, He is also the Savior of those who accept Him. That is why the gospel is good news. As Peter announced in Acts 10:43, “Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” And the consequence is that when God’s wrath falls upon the world, those who are forgiven will be spared. Paul put it vividly when he described Jesus as the one “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

What makes Jesus so disliked, however, is the gospel’s claim that forgiveness is only in Christ. To many, there is no more objectionable statement of Jesus than His saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Yet that is what He said, and we must decide whether He was telling the truth. Great outcomes depend on our decision.

May we not quibble, but rather be grateful. For where else can we go but to Christ? As Peter said when Jesus asked him if he and the other disciples were going to turn away from Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

“By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade” (Desiderius Erasmus).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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