The Gospel of Jesus Christ contains four basic or fundamental truths. Remove any one of them and you possess a less than complete biblical gospel. This results in a fundamentally flawed message which is incapable of providing salvation for anyone from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin.
What are those four fundamental truths? They are (1) God exists; (2) Sin exists; (3) Salvation exits; and (4) One Savior exists to provide salvation: Jesus Christ. To remove any of these four truth statements is to seriously compromise the Gospel.
These four fundamental truths of the Gospel are located throughout the Scriptures. However, the text which I draw to your attention is John 1:1-18. Identified as John’s prologue to his gospel, these 18 verses contain some of the most crucial statements found in Scripture regarding the Gospel and the personal identity of Jesus Christ. The first portion of the prologue is John 1:1-4: God Exists! The second portion is John 1:5-8: Sin Exists. The third portion is John 1:9-13; Salvation Exists!
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:9-13).
The Apostle John identifies Jesus Christ, the Word, as also the Light. Regarding Jesus Christ, the word light illustrates that Jesus is the source of truth and knowledge which is delicate, subtle, pure and brilliant. It exposes everything openly and publicly.
John calls Jesus the true light. There are many so-called philosophers, politicians and other leaders who seek to identify themselves as a source of truth and knowledge. However, Jesus Christ is the genuine, sincere and real source of truth and knowledge for He is the creator of the same.
This true light, who gives truth and knowledge of Himself to all mankind so that no one is without excuse, was coming into the world. This is fallen, sinful, godless and rebellious system of life which seeks to exist and live without God. This is the world system mankind lives in presently. Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God, came into the world He Himself made. He entered into time and space, was born, grew, matured, lived among many people and displayed His identify to many people. However, John says that the world did not acknowledge Him as God or understand who He was. The same can be said for today’s fallen and sinful world.
John continues to say that Jesus not only entered into this fallen world in general, but came to the Jewish people in particular. Even they, who God had given the Old Testament as a revelation of His coming Son, did not receive Him. “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” To receive means to welcome and to accept.
But what of those people who do receive, welcome and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, having first repented of their sins? The Bible in John 1:12-13 says, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior involves believing in his name. To believe (πιστεύω; pisteuo) means to trust, to have confidence, to depend upon and to worship Jesus Christ as God. To believe in His name is to trust, be confident, to depend and worship Jesus Christ as the Savior and Messiah.
To those who repent of their sins and place their faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, Jesus gives them the right, authority and power to become children belonging to and only to God. How does this occur?
The Apostle John alludes to the new birth, or sovereign, monergistic regeneration by the Holy Spirit. We will examine this in detail in John 3. This new birth (γεννάω; gennao), or being born again (John 3:1-8), does not occur because of one’s physical birth or human descent, or by a fulfilled sexual desire, or by man in any human way. Rather, this new birth and new nature is accomplished by God and by God alone.
As one author explains, “Although at the first advent of Jesus, many Jews rejected Him, some did receive Him as Savior, Lord and Messiah. These people, John tells us, were born not of the flesh, but of the spirit and they received “the right to become children of God (John 1:12-13). Not every person has the right to be a child of God – the right to be an heir of His promises – simply by being born. Only those who are born new spiritually and trust in Christ have that right. To become children of God in the truest and fullest sense, we must be born again (John 3:1-4).”
Therefore, when an individual is brought by God to saving faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, the response by that individual should be heartfelt gratitude, worship and service. Take time today to thank God for His indescribable gift of salvation, by which He chose to make you His child. This was done by sovereign grace and grace alone.
Soli deo Gloria!