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 essential 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 fourth and final portion is that One, Savior Exists: John 1:14-18.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
It is not sufficient to just believe that God exists, that there exists within you a sinful nature and that God offers to save you from that sin. What must also be believed is that Jesus Christ is the “only” Savior available to sinners. He is to be the sole object of one’s trust, dependence, commitment and worship unto salvation.
I witnessed a baptism several years ago in which a young lady being baptized by a fellow pastor testified that she believed in God. In fact, she said she had always believed in God. That was her testimony. That may be fine as far as it goes, but her testimony was not a proclamation of the gospel and I seriously wonder whether she understood the gospel. Without a confession that one is a sinner and that salvation from the penalty, power and eventual presence of sin is only by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, one’s testimony is no better than a demon’s (James 2:19).
John the Baptist’s testimony was centered in the person of Jesus Christ. Even though John was six months older than Jesus humanly, John confessed that Jesus was God when he said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.” John did not just acknowledge that God existed, but also that Jesus is God.
It is by Jesus Christ, the eternal God who became man, that sinners such as we receive grace upon grace. This statement stresses the importance of grace that has been displayed by God toward mankind, especially believers (Ephesians 1:5–8; 2:7) in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
One commentator explains, “Grace was present under the Old Covenant, but the New Covenant advent of Christ and His teaching through His Apostles show us grace in greater measure. We now have more insight into the depths of God’s mercy in sending His Son to die for sinners. We receive a greater measure of the Holy Spirit than the Old Covenant saints had. Let us rejoice to be partakers of the New Covenant and look to Christ for the fullest revelation from God.”
While God revealed Himself to Moses, He has chosen Jesus Christ to be the fullest revelation of Himself. Hebrews 1:1-4 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
God has given believers in Jesus Christ a greater measure of His grace under the New Covenant because it features the pinnacle of God’s revelation: Jesus Christ. He is the incarnate Word (John 1:18).
Have you repented of your sins and trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Unless your trust for salvation from sin is solely in the person and work of Jesus Christ, your faith is not better, or worse, that a demon’s (James 2:19). Please consider this.
Soli deo Gloria!