Destructive teaching has come into the church in the past century, teaching that essentially says, "'the gospel is the ‘salvation message.’ It is for unbelievers to 'get saved, and then we move on to deeper teachings.'" The implication is that the gospel is a spiritual kindergarten through which we pass, tipping our hats to the cross, on our way to the deeper teachings of the Bible. This teaching is destructive because it insinuates that once we believe the gospel, we are good to go, we can move beyond it to more significant things.
But this teaching of ‘receive the gospel and then move on’ is a half-truth. The gospel is indeed the salvation message; it is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16). But it is also a sanctification message, in other words, that which sets believers apart from our sins.
In Galatians 3, Paul wrote to believers who were trying to set themselves apart from sin by their efforts at keeping the Law, and what he says to them in verse 1 is startling. He says, "you foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes, Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified." In other words, Paul preached the cross of Christ as the message that not only saves from sin but also separates from sin. The cross is not merely a salvation message; it is also a sanctification message.
The message of the cross is the power of God for believers, as stated here:
“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and discard the intelligence of the intelligent.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-19 (NLT)
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
But it is not only a salvation message, it is not only a sanctification message; it is also a stabilization message.
“Now to him who is able to establish you (strengthen, confirm, stabilize you) by my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past,” Romans 16:25
Do you want to know how to become stabilized in life, how to have a firm foundation, how to become rooted and grounded, how to be constant and steady and firmly planted, unshakeable? Paul says it is "by my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ."
This study was written for anyone who wishes to look at the many aspects of the cross of Jesus Christ as it applies not only to salvation but also to our daily walk. It seeks to not be a shallow portrayal of the unfathomable riches of Christ, but rather to dig deep into the meaning, and reveal the divine power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
It was also written for those who do not believe, or for any who wish to understand the distinctive difference between Christianity and every religion. Say to any Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist, "Fear God, hate sin, repent" and he will agree with you. Only the Christian message tells of a Substitute who died in our place to save us from our sins. Only the Christian faith declares that we gain heaven not by our works but by the life and death of another, Jesus Christ, Who purchased our eternal life when He died in our place and rose from the dead.
Finally, this study is written to show the many places that the Old Testament reveals the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that Christ died for our sins, “according to the Scriptures,” that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day “according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5), and so our purpose in this book is to see the gospel in the Old Testament Scriptures. This kind of study can produce unexpected joy and delight as we are surprised, time and time again, at places where we may have not seen the gospel previously.