Although truly the center-point of the matter, Jesus dying for the sins of man is not the entire gospel message. Had that been the case, the Bible message (certainly at least the New Testament) could have been one chapter.
The Word of God is what it is so that we might be fully equipped to understand who God is, how He operates, what He has done for us, what He has prepared for those who love Him, what is in store for those who refuse His goodness, and how He deals and interacts with mankind, which is His creation. The Word also reveals what God expects of us. That Word is purposely and ingeniously both simple and profound.
There is amazing, simplicity so that literally anyone can find his way to salvation:
8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
YEA GOD! The beginning of the salvation experience is oh so simple and readily available. “Whosoever wills, let him come” says my Bible…….
2 Cor 11:3
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
So simple, says Paul, that the enemy will try to tangle it up in intellectualism and religiosity. We’re not to go there. And we need not go there.
…and yet Paul understood that unsearchable (never-ending depth of) the riches of the fullness of the gospel:
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
This is by no means a contradiction in terms. Simple yet profound. Easily comprehended yet gloriously mysterious and deep.
ANSWER: Because our great God has determined that mankind, on his life-journey of discovering the fullness of God, wants and needs a never ending gospel of revelation. The invitation is presented to us in Isaiah:
1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you– the sure mercies of David.
And the revelation of planned further revelation is confirmed by our Lord just prior to His passion and departure. He physically would be leaving, and Another would be coming to dwell within those who would receive Him by faith:
25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
14 “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.
15 “All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.
It is therefore obvious that the revelations of God were intended to continue, and that one huge assignment of the Holy Spirit was/is to continue the process of divine revelation and teaching. Jesus also confirmed all of the Holy Spirit’s teaching and revelation would be truthful, and would confirm and never contradict the teachings of Jesus. No “new revelation” would obviate any established biblical truth.
And meanwhile we see and hear of “ministry” teachings and doctrinal revelations that either contradict clear teaching of Scripture, or else ignore clear teaching of Scripture – both of which are frighteningly dangerous. Even the word “teaching” can sound so mundane, and yet it is not presented that way when it comes to teaching the things of God.
Paul understood the calling and accountability of a teacher:
26 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men.
27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
28 “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 “Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
31 “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.
Paul declared his own innocence because his ministry had preached it all – the good, the bad and the ugly (actually, none of the gospel is ugly, but there is tough stuff in this beautiful gospel). The promises, the accountability, the judgment of sin, the relentless call to holiness and sanctification, the glory of the grace of God that can empower us to overcome. His declared innocence implies his understanding of the potential guilt that would have been his, had he compromised and/or failed to declare the whole counsel of God. He had not failed to declare it all, even at times when he knew what he was declaring was neither easy to declare nor easy to receive.
16 Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
(Paul wrote that after a strong corrective word denouncing legalism, and the Galatians swaying back to Jewish practices for their justification).
So what is the issue here in this blog?
The issue is the WHOLE GOSPEL OF GOD. There is a serious accountability upon those who teach, so serious that James says it this way:
1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
It has always been easier to sculpt and present a kinder, softer gospel than the one preached to us by our Lord, and written by the prophets of both testaments. The danger in such pleasing words is severe accountability before the Lord – Who is jealous for His Word. The ones who would teach and preach less than the full message place themselves in jeopardy of stricter judgment, and in jeopardy of losing the fullness of their reward:
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
19 “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
LEAST in the kingdom of heaven? Would that imply measures of reward, spoken by Jesus? I would say yes.
12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
There’s some serious stuff that simply has not occurred yet. There’s certain clear presentations of the personality and operation of God that God Himself wants us to know. That which has been written and passed down to us are things that God went to great lengths to reveal to His people through His prophets – things that sometimes cost those prophets their position, their reputations, and sometimes even their lives. ALL of those things were written for us (1 Peter 1:12 confirms that the Old Testament was written for the New Testament saints. Go figure. Actually: go read).
Each and every one of us is therefore accountable to search those things out, to press in to the revelation of the Holy Spirit, to question that which would presented and taught to us, and to weigh everything in the balance of the Word of the God, which is true, and which endures forever.
Failure of the saints to remain in the place of anointing for revelation is evidenced by the frustrated tone of the writer of Hebrews – there was much to reveal about the supernatural ministry of Melchizedek (foreshadowing Jesus), but sadly the recipients of the letter had so allowed dullness to dumb them backwards that not only could they not receive the revelation, but they had fallen from teaching status to student status, again.
11 (Melchizedek) of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Their lack of use (that is: their refusal to activate and steward that which they had already known, AND their refusal to posture themselves for revelation by the Holy Spirit) had them in a dumb and dull place.
And that, sadly, is the place where false doctrines and smooth teachings and flowing words that often fail to align with the fullness of the Word of God will become not only tolerable but actually believable. That is a dangerous environment.
Jude, the Lord’s brother, saw this coming upon the church even in his own day, and put forth the warning:
3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Crept in unnoticed. Feasting with the saints, expressing no fear of God)
12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots;
13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.
(Ones who purposely expound false doctrine are in danger of eternal judgment, while the more innocent proclaimers of less than the full gospel – per Matthew 5:19 – are in jeopardy of diluting their eternal rewards)
17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ:
18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.
19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,
21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Wonderful! A Holy Spirit infused life, a life in the Word, trembling at the Word, will assure us safety. We are called to “keep ourselves”. We have lots to say about the outcome of our salvation.
Every erroneous teaching is not blasphemy. And everyone who teaches something not perfectly perfect is not standing at the edge of the pit – hey even teachers will hopefully continue learning, continue remaining teachable themselves (this one wants to be!).
But there does remain a huge accountability for every teacher, and also an accountability for every saint – to understand and recognize that the Word of God is true and that our personal diligent determination to be soaking in it is our safety and our success, and our safeguard against doctrines that do nothing but distract and divert.
God is more than able to keep us from stumbling. The divine and eternal call from heaven is for us as students of God to behave as students of God, and the call to teachers is to learn and to teach the fullness of the gospel, holding nothing back – in the fear of God, never in the fear of man.
24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
2 Tim 2:15-16
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
16 But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
2 For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the LORD. “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.
All Scriptures NKJV. Love that NKJV….