The Five Principles of the Gospel by C. Matthew McMahon
We may hear preachers say, "believe the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved!" Is the "simple Gospel" contained only in that single short phrase? If we speak that kind of short phrase to an indigenous native of some foreign country, deep in the forest where they live in their off-the-grid village, and do it in his own vulgar tongue, where they hear that phrase for the very first time, are we “preaching” the Gospel in its simplicity? Will the native understand what is meant by “know Christ and him crucified,” if we speak those words and then just walk away? Or does the Gospel have content? Does the Gospel need to be explained more than merely mouthing the words “know Christ and him crucified”?
This begs the question…what are the basic principles of the Gospel that cannot be taken from Christ’s Gospel and make the Gospel not the Gospel? Sometimes, ministers confuse this question with the question of regeneration. This is not the same thing as asking, "how much of the Word of God must be quoted for the Holy Spirit to regenerate a person so that they can believe the Gospel once they come to understand the Gospel?" Issues surrounding what the Spirit uses to cause a person to be born again is an entirely different question altogether.
This work focuses on setting down and summarizing the basics of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. What is the sum and substance of God's Gospel? How would you summarize it? Is it simply John 3:16? Is it what the penitent thief said to Jesus on the cross? Is it merely Genesis 3:15? What is the biblical message (the Scriptural data) that shows forth enough of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” to make it truly "Christ’s whole blessed Gospel?"
McMahon answers this question by drawing mainly from the book of Isaiah. In distilling the Gospel down to its essentials, he covers the five principles of the Gospel, using five main verses from the "Evangelical" Prophet:
Principle 1: God exists (Isaiah 40:9).
Principle 2: that God is man’s Maker and has made humankind in his image (Isa. 54:5).
Principle 3: the bad news that all men have sinned in Adam and are under the curse of God (Isa. 24:5-6).
Principle 4: God has not left all sinners to perish under Adam’s curse, but has given sinners the righteousness of Jesus Christ as a garment to cover them (Isa. 61:10).
Principle 5: God calls and draws thirsty sinners to himself through Jesus Christ freely (Isa. 55:1-3).
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