Is there more than one gospel in the Bible?
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Answers to Bible Question
Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible
(Q) Is there more than one gospel in the Bible?
(A) For many who have come to see and rejoice in what Paul called “the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery,” that revelation is so vast and touches upon so many subjects that they are often at a loss as to where to begin to share it with those who need to know. Paul’s distinctive preaching of the gospel of grace is an excellent place to start, for it shows that the revelation is not a side issue but a fundamental one. After hearing grace teaching, the Spirit has sometimes shown people that they really did not understand the gospel of grace at all, beyond trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Others have been amazed at how it clarifies their understanding of God’s good news for today.
The conventional wisdom among many Christians today is that there is only one gospel in the Bible. Since gospel means “good news,” that is like saying that God has had only one piece of good news to share with man throughout all of redemptive history. There are many statements from Paul that would call into question the one-gospel view. His letter to the Galatians tells of God preaching the gospel to Abraham saying, “In thee (Abraham) shall all nations be blessed” (Gal. 3:8; Gen. 12:3). To him, that was good news indeed, and yet, there was still no revelation of Christ or his work on the cross. Of course, we would agree that Christ is ultimately the center and circumference of all the “good news” in God’s plan for man, but the revelation of the things of Christ was gradual and progressive. The Old Testament spoke in type and shadow.
When we come to the New Testament, many details surrounding the teaching and preaching of Christ show major distinctions between what the Bible calls the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of the Grace of God. The following points show these distinctions.
1. The distinctive terminology alone would strongly imply a difference between these two gospels. The Word of God is not indiscriminate in its terminology. Since we believe that the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit, every detail has spiritual significance, and we may understand if we seek His enlightenment. Therefore, when God refers to the Gospel of the Kingdom in one context and then to the Gospel of the Grace of God in another, it cannot mean the same thing.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is simply God’s good news about His kingdom, a kingdom that was (and is) to be established on earth with Christ as king (Jer. 23:5-6; Isa. 2:2-4; 11:1-9). It was prophesied by Israel’s prophets in the Old Testament and proclaimed “at hand” in the New Testament.
The Gospel of the Grace of God is God’s good news about His grace reigning like a king on the throne (Rom. 5:20-21). It was a new revelation that came to Paul, the apostle, directly from the resurrected Christ in heaven (Gal. 1:11-12; 2:2; Acts 20:24). Both of these gospels deal with salvation from sin, but each address a different people, at different times, and under different circumstances.
2. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached by John the Baptist (Baptizer), Jesus Christ, and the twelve apostles, and only to the people of Israel (Matt. 3:2; 4:17,23; 10:5-7; Rom. 15:8).
The Gospel of the Grace of God was first preached by Paul to the Gentiles after Israel had rejected the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Paul then committed the grace message to those who came after him (Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:24; 1 Tim. 1:14; 2 Tim. 2:2). (There is no Biblical evidence that John, Jesus, or the twelve ever preached the Gospel of the Grace of God or that Paul ever preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. The grace gospel eventually superseded the kingdom gospel)
3. The Gospel of the Kingdom centered in the Person of Jesus Christ, that is, who He was. That is why the emphasis was always on the name of Jesus Christ, the fact that he was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16; John 20:31).
The Gospel of the Grace of God confirms the person of Christ but centers in his work on the cross for our redemption (Rom. 3:24-25; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:2). It is significant that the twelve apostles preached the Gospel of the Kingdom for several years but did not even know that Christ was going to die, much less what that death would accomplish for our redemption (Luke 9: 1-2,6; 18:31-34; Matt. 16:21-23).
4. The Gospel of the Kingdom required the ordinance of water baptism along with faith in Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4; 16:16; Acts 2:38).
The Gospel of the Grace of God requires only faith in Christ, the cross and resurrection, for salvation and forgiveness of sins (Acts 13:38-39; 16:31; 1 Cor. 15:1-4).
Paul refers to this as “my gospel” and refuses all works of righteousness, including circumcision, water baptism, tithing, or any other legalistic requirement (Rom. 3:21,28; 4:5; Gal. 2:16; 3:11; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5). Paul wrote that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17). But he does speak of a baptism where the Holy Spirit puts us into Christ and His Body: “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). Notice this is a spiritual baptism accomplished by God that does not involve one drop of water. The baptism by the Spirit corresponds to the “one baptism” that Paul mentioned in Ephesians 4:5 and agrees with the other six unities in the passage which bring unity in the Church which is His Body.
5. The Gospel of the Kingdom required the disciples to “endure unto the end” to be saved (Matt. 10:22; 24:13).
The Gospel of the Grace of God requires only faith in Christ to be saved. It promises the seal of the Holy Spirit until the day of Christ’s appearing and assures no condemnation or separation from his love (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; Rom. 8:1,31-39).
6. The Gospel of the Kingdom was preached to those who were still under the Law of Moses and affirms the necessity of rituals and ordinances (Matt. 8:4; 23:1-3). Jesus Christ was “made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law …. ” He was circumcised on the eighth day according to the law and kept all the commands of Moses, including the Jewish holy days (Gal. 4:4-5; Luke 2:21-24).
During the time of the dispensing of the Gospel of the Grace of God, we are not under the law but under grace (Rom. 6:14-15). That is true in both salvation and in the Christian life (Col. 2:6).
7. Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, Christ spoke of giving His life “a ransom for many” and His blood “shed for many” (Matt. 20:28; 26:28). This would refer to His people Israel, for the angel of the Lord had commanded Joseph that “thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Israel was Jesus’ people, for He Himself was a Jew.
Preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God, Paul spoke of Christ, “who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:6). This gospel included both Jews and Gentiles. The due time for its proclamation was after Israel rejected the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom under John, Jesus, and the twelve. Paul was converted and commissioned to preach the gospel of grace to the whole world (Acts 26:16-20).
8. Under the Gospel of the Kingdom, the crucifixion of Christ was not good news, but bad news. It was something to be repented of and confessed by those Jews who demanded His death. In the early chapters of the Book of Acts, Peter pointed the finger of accusation at apostate Israel to bring them under guilt so they could repent, be baptized, and receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:14-40; 3:12-26; 4:8-12; 5:29-32).
Under the Gospel of the Grace of God, Paul does not accuse us of the crucifixion (although there is a sense in which our sins put him there), rather, he presents the preaching of the cross as good news for all people. Far from something to be ashamed of, Paul gloried in the cross. In it was revealed the secret that became the key to all of God’s good news to man (Gal. 6:14; Rom. 3:21-28; 5:6-11).
9. According to the Gospel of the Kingdom, Christ was raised from the dead to sit upon David’s throne in the kingdom. This is in accordance with prophecy (Luke 1:30-33; Acts 2:29-31; 2 Sam. 7:12-16).
According to the Gospel of the Grace of God, Christ was raised again for-that is, because of-our justification (Rom, 4:25). In other words, the resurrection of Christ is our “canceled check,” proving that our sins have been paid for, and that now we are in a right relationship with God.
10. In the Gospel of the Kingdom, redeemed Israel was to be God’s channel of salvation to the world. She was promised authority and superiority over the nations, and the salvation of those nations was to come through her rise (Gen. 22:17-18; Isa. 60:1-3,10-12; Zech. 8:13,22; John 4:22; Acts 3:25-26). Because of her rejection of
Christ, Israel is now spiritually blinded and the fulfillment of the promises awaits a future day, after the completion of His program for the Gentiles in the present dispensation, the Dispensation of Grace (Rom. 11:25-27; Eph. 3:1-3).
In the Gospel of the Grace of God, redeemed people from the Church which is His Body become the channel of salvation to the world. Gentile salvation now comes through Israel’s fall. There is now no difference between the Jew and the Gentile. They are all equally lost and in need of a Savior. All those who are saved have an equal position in Christ and equal access to Him as sons of God (Rom. 3:9,22-23; 10:12; 11:11-12,32; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11).
11. The Gospel of the Kingdom is also called “the gospel of the circumcision.” Like the term kingdom of God, it is possessive in meaning, and denoted the gospel belonging to the circumcision or the Jewish people. It is the gospel that takes us back to Abraham and the institution of circumcision as the token (or sign) of the covenant God made with Abraham and his descendants. Peter was called an apostle of the circumcision and made an agreement with Paul to confine his ministry to the circumcision-the Jews (Gal. 2:7-9; Gen. 17:9-14).
The Gospel of the Grace of God is also called “the gospel of the uncircumcision.” It means the gospel belonging to the uncircumcision or Gentiles. This gospel takes us back to Abram when he was an uncircumcised Gentile who was declared righteous before God prior to being circumcised. That means that his justification was by faith alone, without works. It is a good picture of how we are saved today under the grace of God without the ceremonies and works of the law (Gal. 2:7-9; Rom. 4:9-11; Gen. 15:4-6).
12. The Gospel of the Kingdom has as its hope the second coming of Jesus Christ back to earth to break the back of the world’s rebellion against Christ and rescue the remnant of His chosen people Israel after the Great Tribulation. This would culminate in the setting up of Christ’s millennial kingdom with the twelve apostles as judges. In the last days of God’s prophetic program, this Gospel of the Kingdom will once again be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then the end of the age shall come (Dan. 2:44-45; Matt. 19:28; 24:29-31).
The Gospel of the Grace of God has as its hope the catching up (Rapture) of the Church which is His Body to be taken to its home in heaven (1 Thes. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; Phil. 3:20-21; Titus 2: 13). This will complete God’s Mystery program with the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25; 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:7; Eph. 3:1-6; Col. 1:25-27).
Don’t let anyone tell you that there is only one gospel in the Bible. The recognition of these two gospels in the New Testament will go a long way toward understanding what God is doing and what he is not doing today under grace. Much of the division among Christians is caused by trying to amalgamate certain aspects of Israel’s Gospel of the Kingdom with truth for the Church today. Legalism, baptismal salvation, tongues, and sign gifts have all brought confusion and disillusionment to many churches and have divided true believers. Paul’s distinctive Gospel of the Grace of God is the divine remedy that brings clarity and encouragement to the saints of God.
4 Replies to “Is there more than one gospel in the Bible?”
I BELIEVE what you wrote even though my pastor says there is only one Gospel always making us spiritual Israel but the church does believe in faith alone but when i share these scriptures I’m dividing the church so I decided to come out but i don’t know if it is the correct thing to do I’m on my own always getting frustrated with this.
There is only one gospel for today; the gospel of the grace of God given to the Apostle Paul, read all of Galatians 1 and Galatians 2. However, there is more than one gospel in the Bible, see Galatians 2:6-9. The gospel given to Paul was the gospel of the uncircumcision also called the gospel of the grace of God.
Who is the Israel of God in Galatians 6:16
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:15-16).
It is often taught that, after Israel’s fall, the Church replaced Israel in God’s dealings with mankind, and God transferred all the promises He made to Israel to the Church. Galatians 6:16 is a verse that is used as the basis for this position and that the Body of Christ is now “the Israel of God.”
Who is “the Israel of God” that Paul referred to in Galatians 6:16? In his letter to the Galatians, Paul dealt with the issue of circumcision. Judaizers had come among the Galatian believers and imposed circumcision and the Mosaic law on this fledgling grace assembly. The Galatians allowed themselves to be influenced to mix law and grace, both doctrinally and practically, and so were putting themselves under the law.
Paul, however, recognized that they were being taught that Christ was not enough—that they must have a physical rite, works, and the law in addition to Christ and His grace. As Paul concluded the letter, he summed up his arguments by saying that it doesn’t matter whether one is circumcised or not circumcised. What matters is whether or not one is one of the “new creature[s]” that God has formed. The collective identity of these new creatures is the Church, the Body of Christ, a previously non-existent agency. Ephesians 2:15-16 tells us this about the new creation:
“Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain ONE NEW MAN, so making peace; And that He might reconcile both [Jew and Gentile] unto God in ONE BODY by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”
This new creation, the new man, is the “one Body,” the Body of Christ, made up of believing Jews and Gentiles, reconciled to each other and to God by the Cross. Even with the temporary setting aside of Israel, the raising up of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles, and the beginning of the Church, the Body of Christ, God did not take Israel’s promises and blessings and transfer them to the Church. Instead, through Paul, we learn that the Body of Christ is a “new man,” made up of new creatures with its own new, unique promises and blessings that are separate from Israel’s.
From the revelation Christ made known to him (Eph. 3:3), Paul announced something that “in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men” (Eph. 3:5): God’s new Church, the Body of Christ. The Church is distinct and separate from Israel and from God’s purpose for the earth revealed in prophecy. The Church is not defined as Israel’s replacement; rather, the Church in the dispensation of grace is a brand new thing, a new entity. Israel and the Body of Christ are two separate entities with their own distinct identities in Scripture.
The idea that the Church became spiritual Israel and that God transferred all Israel’s promises to the Church has arisen from a failure to see the dispensational shift from God’s program with Israel to His program with the Body of Christ. As we recognize the revelation of the mystery committed to Paul, there is no reason to alter prophecy or spiritualize those promises made specifically to Israel and make them applicable to the Body of Christ. We can let them stand. They mean what they say. God is faithful, and we know by faith that all God’s promises to Israel will be fulfilled exactly as God has said, in His time. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:16, “And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy.…” What rule is Paul referring to? It’s the rule in the preceding verse that “in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything” (v. 15), and that being a new creature and a member of the Body is what truly avails and means everything.
Then Paul prayed peace and mercy “on them”—that is, on those who are part of the newly created Body of Christ. However, a dividing line is drawn between “as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them,” and “upon the Israel of God.” The dividing line is between the Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ and “the Israel of God.”
If God began a new entity known as the Body of Christ, then what happened to Israel? Is Israel out of the picture forever? Is God Israel Of God Body of Christ finished with Israel? The answer is absolutely not. Paul shows that in Galatians 6:16. The Israel of God cannot refer to the Body of Christ because Galatians 3:28 teaches that in the Church,
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). There is neither Jew nor Gentile in the Body of Christ. We are all one in Christ. Thus, we know that, in Galatians 6:16, Paul is blessing two different groups of believers.
Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians during the Acts period. During that time, in addition to the Church, there was another group of saints that still existed: believing Israelites saved under the ministry of John the Baptist, the Lord, and His twelve apostles, Israelites who were part of the kingdom church and had an earthly hope.
Remnants of those believing Israelites, the true Israel of faith, were still around, and just so the Galatians (and we to this day) understand that God had not forsaken these saints, Paul pronounced a double blessing as he closed his Galatian epistle: (1) peace and mercy on the newly created Church and (2) peace and mercy upon “the Israel of God.”
Rather than this passage teaching that the Body of Christ is the Israel of God, it points out the truth that they are two separate entities. The “Israel of God” refers to believing Israelites with their earthly hope, who trusted in Jesus as their Messiah and the Son of God, confessed their sins, sold all they had, and were water baptized. Those who are new creatures comprise the Body of Christ with a heavenly hope, saved by faith alone, having trusted the gospel of the grace of God that Christ died for our sins and rose again.
Does the Bible Teach A Spiritual Israel?
Many people are taught that anyone who is saved becomes a member of Israel, but not the real Israel. Instead, they are taught, that we become part of a spiritual Israel. But is this Biblical? Is God finished with the Israel of the Old Testament?
The ‘spiritual Israel’ concept is created from a failure to understand the dispensational shift from God’s dealing with Israel to the body of Christ. Many who subscribe to the idea of spiritual Israel, most always teach that Israel was an allegory for the church today, often referred to as the true Israel.
By their own proclamation these teachers do not take the natural reading of the scripture. Instead, the promises, covenants, and even curses for Israel are allegorically applied to the church of this age.
However, the teaching of a separate spiritual Israel is not found in the Bible. To press it into the scripture, we must do three things:
• Deny the precise fulfillment of prophecy given specifically to Israel;
• Reject the significance of God’s separation of Israel from the Gentiles; and
• Ignore the teaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery
Prophecy Given to Israel
Over ninety percent of the Bible was given to and about the physical nation Israel, God’s chosen people in time past. To teach that we are the allegorical fulfillment of prophecy given to Israel would take nothing less than a gross distortion of plain words.
For example, in Isaiah chapter two the time of the ‘last days’ is described where the ‘LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains’ (Isaiah 2:2). This prophecy is specifically speaking about Judah and Jerusalem:
“The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem” – Isaiah 2:1
It is from Jerusalem that the nations will be judged by the Lord, and to ‘the house of the God of Jacob’ in Zion that many people will go (Isaiah 2:3).
To spiritualize this passage along with hundreds of other prophecies becomes unnatural. The natural meaning of entire passages is lost in order to accomodate the spiritualization. Starting with Ezekiel 40 there are 8 chapters detailing the holy city. This is pointless if it will never exist.
Who assigns the spiritual definition to the tribes, or the gates, or the arches, or the borders? Without a Biblical key to explain the spiritualization the real meaning of the words becomes construed to fit the imaginative contrivances of a thousand scholars.
This kind of spiritualization destroys the authority of the scripture and the meaning of God’s prophetic purpose for Israel.
God’s separation of Israel from the Gentiles
Numbers 23:9 says that Israel is not to be reckoned among the nations. Deuteronomy 7 plainly tells Israel why they are different from the other nations:
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” – Deuteronomy 7:6
It was to this special people that God would give the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the law, the service of God, and the promises (Romans 9:4). It was through glory of this special people that God would offer salvation to the world.
“I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.” – Isaiah 46:13
“He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.” – Psalm 98:3
It was the separation of Israel from the nations that God would use in order to bring salvation to those nations. God’s plan was not for every Gentile to become a member of Israel, but instead to receive salvation from the God of Israel.
“His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.” – Psalm 72:17
It is not only Israel that finally receives salvation it is the world. However, Israel would be ministers and priests of the Lord to that end, administering the law of God (Isaiah 61:6).
To say that the saved become part of Israel denies the purpose for which God separated Israel from among the nations.
The Jesus Christ According to the Revelation of the Mystery
Since what was revealed to Paul ‘was not made known unto the sons of men’, then no prophetic scripture, spiritualized or literal, would refer to the church today.
Contrarily, Paul announces something kept secret which was separate from Israel and separate from the purpose of prophecy, it was the subject of the body of Jesus Christ as the church (Col 1:27, 1 Cor 12:13).
Paul says that there is neither Jew nor Greek today in Christ (Gal 3:28). Since the grace of God is now offered freely on the merits of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no way for the law to bring righteousness. The righteousness of God comes by faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-24).
Instead of becoming part of Israel, Paul announces a new creature, the body of Christ.
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” – Ephesians 2:15
Out of two groups, Jews and Gentiles, Christ made a new man and agency for salvation. This special agency is what we become when we are saved today. We do not know any man after the flesh, whether it is Israel or American or European (2 Cor 5:16).
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Cor 5:17
The teaching of spiritual Israel is dangerous to a natural reading of the scripture and prevents sincere students of the word from recognizing important truths for this dispensation.
In order to understand who you are today, know that God did not write the Bible in hidden codes or ambiguous allegories. He uses plain speech, easy to understand if we will simply accept the natural reading of the text.
Have a good day,
Thank you for putting the comparisons of the two gospels in a clear and succinct article! Also, the additional article in the comments as to why the church today is not spiritual Israel. I learned this information for the first time almost three years ago and it has been a huge eye opener for me in understanding the scriptures but helping others to see it has been a challenge. I look forward to reading more from your website!