What is the Gospel?
Updated: Jul 20, 2022
Acts 2:38 “And Peter said, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
I used to believe this verse was the plan of salvation. That one was not saved unless they repented, were baptized specifically in the name of Jesus, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit which was evidenced by speaking in other tongues.
There are a couple of issues with this idea. First, that baptism is necessary to forgive sins and that it can only be effective if it is done in the name of Jesus.
For those who held the same theology as I once did, this particular baptism formula is of utmost importance, your eternal salvation is tied to the exact right words spoken over you. To justify this position there are usually two passages pointed to, Acts 4:12 and Colossians 3:17.
Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Nobody would disagree that salvation is through Christ and Christ alone. The issue is what does it mean to baptize in the name of Jesus Christ? Some take the position that this means it is to be administered in the authority of Christ. Others say that the name of Jesus must be invoked during the baptism. If the name of Jesus is a formula for baptism, then verses like Colossians 3 would indicate that we must invoke the name of Jesus in everything we do. No one believes that yet they will insist in Acts 2:38 that it can only mean to invoke the name.
Another issue with this idea of Acts 2:38 being the plan of salvation is that if this is the formula (that baptism is FOR the forgiveness of sins and then you receive the Spirit), this creates an issue in other parts of the book of Acts. In Acts 10 while Peter is still preaching the Holy Spirit falls on the whole house. They didn't go through a step of repentance, then baptism, and then receiving. The Spirit was poured out on them when they believed. But how can someone be filled with the Holy Spirit but not have his sins forgiven?
This seems contrary to logic and Scripture. The argument is usually that forgiveness happens at repentance but your sins are remitted during baptism. The fatal flaw here is that both forgiveness and remission are used interchangeably in Scripture and both come from the same Greek word (aphesis). There is no distinction between forgiveness and remission, they are the same thing and that is why different translations use forgiveness in that passage while others use remission.
So now we have to reconcile how someone can still be in their sins and filled with the Spirit of God, are they partially saved? half-born again? This is illogical, yet those who hold to Acts 2:38 as the plan of salvation would have you believe that. They teach that if you have been baptized in the name of Jesus your sins are washed away, yet if you haven't spoken in tongues you aren't saved yet. Likewise, if you have repented of your sins and received the Spirit but haven't been water baptized specifically in the name of Jesus you also aren't saved yet.
Do you see how legalistic this becomes? Salvation is no longer on the basis of your faith in Christ, now there are stipulations and rules. You could put your complete faith and trust in Christ, and obey his word but if the minister says the wrong words during your baptism you are lost on a technicality. This is exactly the dilemma the Catholic church is facing right now!
It is also interesting that some will point to Acts 2:38 as the prescriptive plan of salvation for all and yet do not believe that the response to this message is prescriptive to all.
Acts 2:41-47 "So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved."
Nobody claims that these verses are prescriptive texts for all believers to follow. Why? Because we have didactic writing (The Epistles) from the Apostles that instruct us how the church should function. There is no reason to assume these passages are prescriptive, they are simply describing what is going on. Likewise, there is no reason to assume Acts 2:38 is prescriptive, that it is laying out the plan of salvation. If it is teaching that, we should find this pattern throughout the New Testament and surely the apostles would point to it in their writing.
As we will see, even when the apostles are bringing awareness to false gospels and when they are teaching about salvation, we don't find a single text in the entire New Testament that points to Acts 2:38 as the plan of salvation. Those who hold this position are forced to interpret everything else through the theological lens of Acts 2:38. This is backward. We always interpret the few through the lens of the many.
Some point to John 3:3-5 as proof that Acts 2:38 is the plan of salvation. Is John teaching baptism in this passage? First, it's irresponsible to point to Luke's narrative to explain John's use of water in his gospel. The question we should ask is, How does John use water elsewhere in his gospel? What does John's use of water in John 4 and John 7 tell us about John 3?
Gary T Manning Jr. Ph.D. and professor of New Testament Language and Literature wrote a book titled Echoes of a Prophet: The Use of Ezekiel in the Gospel of John and in Literature of the Second Temple Period.
In chapter 5, Pg 194 of this book “Summary of the Use of Water as Spirit in John”, he wrote,
"As I have emphasized before, John’s use of water symbolism cannot be firmly connected to any one source in the OT. However, John primarily uses water to symbolize the giving of the Spirit through Jesus. Thus, John’s use of water symbolism is related to, and perhaps dependent on, OT passages that use water as a metaphor for the ‘new covenant’ or for the giving of God’s spirit (for example, Isa. 44:3; Ezek. 36:25–27; 47:1–12).
John explains that his primary meaning for ‘water’ is the Holy Spirit in Jn 7:39; this meaning can probably be applied to other passages that use water symbolism, such as Jn 3:5; 4:10, 13–14; and 19:34. In John 3, new birth through ‘water and Spirit’ is the prerequisite for entry into the kingdom, suggesting that only those who received God’s promised outpouring of the Spirit would be eligible for membership in the messianic kingdom. This association of water with the promised Spirit is reminiscent of the promises in Isa. 44:3 and Ezek. 36:25–27.
In John 4, Jesus promises to give this water; his description of a new worshiping community, empowered by this living water, again suggests the fulfillment of the ‘new covenant’ promises of Isa. 44:3 and Ezek. 36:25–27. Jn 7:37–39 uses the imagery of the life-giving river from the Temple, in words drawn from Ezek. 47:1–12; Joel 3:18; and Zech. 14:8, to describe the outpouring of the Spirit on all who believe in Jesus. In the last two of these occurrences of water symbolism in John, it is clear that the water, the Spirit, will be available only after the death of Jesus. The fulfillment of this promise is seen, at least symbolically, in the flow of blood and water from Jesus’ side in 19:34. The miraculous catch of fish (Jn 21:1–11) may also symbolize the power of the river from the Temple, and thus of the giving of the Spirit through Jesus. Thus, the use of water to symbolize the Spirit in John is closely tied to Ezekiel’s use of water to describe God’s plans to purify and restore his people (Ezek. 36:25–27; 47:1–12)."
Gordon Fee in his book, How To Read The Bible For All It's Worth, says,
"A text cannot mean what it could never have meant for its original readers/hearers."
There's no way you can make the case that Nicodemus would have understood Jesus' words in John 3 to mean Baptism and the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues. Yet when we try to use John 3 to prove Acts 2:38 we are putting an interpretation on the text that would have been foreign to the original audience.
Also, if our salvation is dependent on our obeying of Acts 2:38 why do none of the Epistles ever point back to this fact? Some will argue that they didn't need to teach Acts 2:38 in the Epistles because these letters were written to churches that had already experienced it. Then why do you preach it constantly? You might respond and say it is because there might be someone in the audience who hasn't experienced it yet, but why wouldn't you assume the same for the churches where these Epistles were written?
"Any study of the Epistles shows they do not speak about Acts 2:38, either by direct quotation, or inference, or even to mention it in part. There is absolutely no citation or partial citation of Acts 2:38 in the Epistles. Such a fact, of the lack of apostolic support for Acts 2:38 in the Epistles, should be a cause for caution. There are no statements in the Epistles, which can remotely be construed as saying, “Your sins are not forgiven unless you are baptized in Jesus’ name only,” or “You do not have the Spirit unless you have spoken in tongues.” Or even that, “You are not born again until you obey Acts 2:38.” There are no direct propositional statements which assert that water baptism, in the name of Jesus’ only, is part of the way to be born again, or the means to the forgiveness of sins. There are no apostolic comments in the Epistles claiming that the Spirit came when each believer spoke with tongues. These ideas are just not in the Epistles." - Bernie L. Gillespie
Some will push back with James 2:17 "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
This is a fair point, what is James teaching here?
Here's a quote from Dr. Michael Heiser on the role of faith and works.
“The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news that salvation is a gift. Because we are lost, imperfect beings, we cannot earn salvation by our works. Paul famously wrote, “For by grace you are saved through faith. . . . It is a gift of God, not a result of works” (Eph. 2: 8–9). John 3:16 says that whoever believes in Jesus has everlasting life; it doesn’t say “whoever lives an exemplary life merits everlasting life.”
Christians are, of course, aware of these verses, yet they struggle with believing that it’s so simple. I’ve met many who are haunted by sins of the past or present. The message of the gospel is that we can do nothing to deserve salvation. We cannot earn God's favor. Salvation is a gift from God received by faith. God already loved us while we were lost in sin (Rom. 5: 8) before we believed (John 3: 16). It therefore makes no sense to think that our works ensure that God doesn't stop loving us. The thought is utterly illogical (and unbiblical).
But what about what James says? Many Bible students stumble at his words:
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? . . . But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. . . . Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works . . . You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2: 14, 18, 21–22, 24)
It’s easy to think that Paul and James disagree. But they actually don’t. James isn’t saying that faith is good but we need works to put us over the top and somehow merit salvation. Meriting salvation means that God owes it to us because of what we’ve done. That idea is foreign to James. Rather, James wants to know that a person’s faith is real. Someone can profess faith and then live like a hypocrite. James isn’t saying their works aren’t good enough to put God in their debt—he’s saying their faith is phony. Faith is what saves, but works are crucial to validate the reality of one’s faith.
The right way to understand this relationship between faith and works is to put it this way: Works are essential to corroborating salvation; they are not the meritorious cause of salvation. That statement gives James his due and keeps him in perspective. Works must be there to certify the reality of saving faith; they don’t replace or transcend faith. That’s why I put the words of Paul and James together in the chapter title: “For by Grace You Are Saved through Faith Without Works Is Dead.” Salvation is by faith, but that faith is dead, nonexistent, and without works.”
— Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine: 80 Expert Insights on the Bible, Explained in a Single Minute by Michael S. Heiser https://a.co/eBON97c
In order to really understand that Acts 2:38 isn't the plan of salvation, we should spend. a little more time on the subject of the relationship between faith and works.
Luke 7:31-35 “To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, We played the flute for you, and you did not dance, we sang a dirge, and you did not weep. For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, He has a demon. The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Look at Him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.”
Why start here? What is going on in this passage? What is it about this conversation that we can draw from in our discussion of faith and works? Jesus is rebuking the unbelieving Pharisees and lawyers who rejected both John and Jesus. Like the children sitting in the marketplace, the unbelieving Jews refuse to sympathize with either of them (did not dance, did not weep), condemning John for his exaggerated strictness, and Jesus for his supposed indulgences. What is Jesus' conclusion? In verse 35 Jesus says, ‘wisdom is justified by all her children.' While most of us are familiar with this passage, if any of you are like me you have probably never paid much attention to verse 35. What did Jesus mean by wisdom is justified by all her children? The Greek word used in this passage for justified is ‘dikaioo’. This word has a few meanings,
1) To render righteous or such he ought to be. 2) To show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered. 3) To declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be.
In the context of Luke 7, we see that Jesus is saying that wisdom is shown to be true by the fruit of what it produces. In other words, the unbelieving Jews were demonstrating that they were in fact unbelievers, rejecting anything that came from God no matter what it looked like. Likewise, those who believe in Jesus would be justified, or in this case proven to be true, by the fruit of what they do. R.C Sproul gave this example, “If I told you I could run a 4-minute mile you would be wise to not believe me. In order for me to justify that claim, I would have to demonstrate that I could in fact run a mile in 4 minutes. My words aren’t enough, there needs to be something that we can look at to justify or validate that claim.” I find it interesting that Jesus uses the personification of wisdom in this passage as that was extremely common in the Old Testament and its Wisdom Literature. This means Jesus isn't working from an unfamiliar framework, they would have understood the reference to wisdom. In The New Testament we find a book that is considered New Testament Wisdom Literature that touches on this same topic, the Epistle of James. “The book of James looks a bit like the Old Testament book of Proverbs dressed up in New Testament clothes. Its consistent focus on practical action in the life of faith is reminiscent of the Wisdom Literature in the Old Testament, encouraging God’s people to act like God’s people.” - Chuck Swindoll How does James fit with what Jesus is saying? How does Luke 7:35 connect with James 2?
Luke 7:35 “Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” James 2:21 “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, and he was called a friend of God.”
Again, the context of James is important, James is wisdom literature, so what is James trying to teach us by saying Abraham was justified by his works? In order to understand this, we have to ask the question, what is the problem that James is trying to solve?
James 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
This is pretty strong stuff. James is rebuking Christians whose claim to Christianity is simply lip service. Comparing it to telling a hungry man to be full without actually giving him food that he needs. The words themselves are pointless unless there is something working with it to validate the words. James isn’t done though!
James 2:18-26 “But someone will say, You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness, and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
James uses that same Greek word Jesus used in Luke 7 to say that Abraham was justified by works. So either James is teaching that Abraham was declared right with God by his works, or that Abraham was vindicated by his works. It gets even stronger when James says that a person is justified by works and NOT by faith alone.
Before we get ahead of ourselves and declare that the protestant position of justification by faith alone is incorrect we need to first understand what question James is seeking to answer. Verse 14: we see James ask the question, "What good is it, my brothers, if someone SAYS he has faith but does not have works, can THAT faith save him?”
James is addressing believers who merely claim a profession of faith, but have never demonstrated any fruit of that faith. Like Jesus saying wisdom is justified by her children, James is saying that a person's faith is justified, or vindicated, by their works. In other words, if someone claims to be a Christian but they do not produce the fruit of the spirit, you don’t have to take their word for it.
If we misunderstand this we will assume that somehow Paul and James are at odds with each other. Paul repeatedly claims that we are saved by faith APART from our works. These two New Testament writers are not contradicting each other or trying to correct each other. They are answering two totally different questions.
Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” Paul is addressing the question of how can an unrighteous sinner stand in the presence of a holy and righteous God? Paul’s concern with justification is before God, that’s why he says in Romans 3:28 “For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” Paul is addressing how one is right in the eyes of God while James is addressing what true faith looks like. If I claim right now to have saving faith, you standing next to me would not be able to validate that or not. My works that follow will either vindicate my claims or will expose me as an unbeliever. You can’t read my heart, that is why the Bible says in Matthew 7:20 “Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” It’s the only way we can tell if someone is a true believer or not. However, ask yourself this question. How long does God have to wait to know if my profession of faith is genuine? Can God read my heart? Of course! That’s why the basis of our salvation is by grace through faith! This is why Paul can say in Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." God’s grace declares me righteous through my faith, just like God declared Abraham righteous in Genesis 15 by his faith. My works demonstrate to those around me that my profession of faith is legitimate, just like Abraham offering his son Isaac on the altar in Genesis 22. Abraham was already Justified before God by his faith, he was vindicated through his works.
"Realizing that James is wisdom literature and moral instruction helps us to avoid two widespread misunderstandings of James. One is that James is a legalistic book. Martin Luther (1483-1546) called it "an epistle of straw," meaning it had little value because he could not find the gospel there. Luther and many after him misunderstood the teaching of James on faith and works. The misunderstanding stems from reading James as legal literature instead of moral instruction. When the book is read properly, it is clear that James does not believe in works righteousness but, like Paul, teaches that Christians are saved by an active faith." - Gary Holloway
Salvation is more than a verbal profession, it is the life-changing power of the Spirit of God transforming an individual. This transformation leads to a lifestyle of good works, not to gain salvation, but to validate it. But what about obedience? Doesn't the Bible say that we have to obey the gospel? Doesn't that prove we have to do something? Before we can answer that question, we first must define the gospel. How do you define the gospel? Seems like a trivial question but it plays a role in how you understand salvation. Most people would sum up the gospel as the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is correct, however, I don’t think that is all the gospel is. Throughout the gospels, Jesus is preaching the gospel of the kingdom, was He preaching about his death, burial, and resurrection? He spoke about his death directly 3 times in the Scriptures, all 3 times were only with his disciples. Consider these passages, Matthew 16:21-23 “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Matthew 17:22-23 “As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” Matthew 20:17-19 “And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Now consider these passages that reference the gospel. Matthew 11:5 "the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them." Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Mark 1:14-15 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Acts 15:7 “And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.” Acts 20:24 “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel that I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 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 question that needs to be answered is what is the gospel?
"The term gospel is found ninety-nine times in the NASB and ninety-two times in the NET Bible. In the Greek New Testament, gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion (occurring 76 times) “good news,” and the verb euangelizo (occurring 54 times), meaning “to bring or announce good news.” Both words are derived from the noun angelos, “messenger.” In classical Greek, an euangelos was one who brought a message of victory or other political or personal news that caused joy. In addition, euangelizomai (the middle voice form of the verb) meant “to speak as a messenger of gladness, to proclaim good news.” Further, the noun euangelion became a technical term for the message of victory, though it was also used for a political or private message that brought joy. That both the noun and the verb are used so extensively in the New Testament demonstrate how it developed a distinctly Christian use and emphasis because of the glorious news announced to mankind of salvation and victory over sin and death that God offers to all people through the person and accomplished work of Jesus Christ on the cross as proven by His resurrection, ascension, and session at God’s right hand. In the New Testament these two words, euangelion and euangelizo, became technical terms for this message of good news offered to all men through faith in Christ." - Bible.org/article/what-gospel
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia summarizes the gospel message this way:
"The central truth of the gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His Son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His Triumph to all who will accept it."
When talking about the gospel and salvation some people make the case that obedience is a part of the plan of salvation. This argument is based on these passages, 1st Peter 4:17 "For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" 2nd Thessalonians 1:6-8 "Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus." Romans 10:16 "For they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So the obvious question is what does it mean to obey the gospel? We have seen that the gospel is defined as to mean good news, but once we understand that, how do we obey good news? Let’s look at the word obey and see if we can find an answer. The Greek word used in 1st Peter 4:17 for "obey not" is the word "apeitheo" which means to disbelieve (willfully and perversely). To obey the gospel in this context simply means to believe or be persuaded by it. It is the same Greek word used in 2nd Thessalonians 1:8. This is further clarified when reading these passages with Romans 10:16, Pauls says they have not all obeyed the gospel, how does he know? He quotes Isaiah when he says, who has BELIEVED what he has heard from us?
“Obeying the gospel is to illustrate by our actions that we believe Jesus Christ is the redemptive plan of the One True God. God, Himself, handed down a very important piece of “Good News”. That “News” is Jesus Christ as Redeemer. The people who were persecuting the church of the Thessalonians were not treating the Gospel of Jesus Christ as if it were actually handed down by the Almighty Creator Himself (2 Thess. 1:4-6). Instead, they were persecuting the church, as if Jesus were just some common religious idea. Obeying the Gospel means that we live a life oriented around the unique, holy, glory of Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:9-10). Obeying the gospel is a faith in God Himself.”
Romans 1:1-5 "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among the nations." Often when people quote this verse they tend to misread it, instead of saying the obedience of faith, they usually say "To bring about the obedience of THE faith." which drastically changes the meaning of the text.
Here's an excerpt from the book "What Does God Want? by Dr. Michael Heiser,
"Notice that Paul described his ministry of telling people the good news as “bringing about the obedience of faith.” He wanted those who heard his message to “hold fast” to what he said. How do you “obey” the gospel? Get baptized? Give money? Behave well? Don’t be a jerk? Help the poor? Those are all worthwhile things, but No. God wants “the obedience of faith.” You obey the gospel by believing it. Did you also notice that Paul didn’t say “the obedience of comprehension”? We may not completely understand things like God becoming a man in Jesus, or how the resurrection could happen. That’s okay. God doesn’t demand we figure it all out and then get back to him to take a final exam. He wants belief. Understanding why these things are rational can wait. The content of the gospel is God’s offer to forgive you and give you a permanent place in his family. His offer shows his love and kindness. The Bible sometimes uses the word “grace” in the place of those terms. Since there is no greater power, God wasn’t coerced into the offer. No one is twisting his arm. He offers you salvation because he wants you. All he asks is that you believe. That is the good news of the gospel."
Acts 2:38 is not the gospel, the gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. We obey the gospel by believing in Him. John 3:36 ESV "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." John 3:36 NET "The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God's wrath remains on him." John 3:36 KJV "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and. he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."