The First Angel Proclaims . . .
The Everlasting Gospel
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved" (John 3:16, 17).
Standing in the shadow of Calvary, Christ declared, "I lay down my life No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17, 18). Jesus died on Calvary's cross willingly. No other way could be found to redeem spiritually lost humanity while at the same time making no compromise with the holy requirements of God's law. Our redemption is solely through faith in the merits of Christ's atoning sacrifice (see John 10:1; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:24, 25; Hebrews 13:20, 21).
Tell the World
Before ascending to heaven, Christ gave the commission to His disciples, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:19, 20). "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Upon all inhabitants of the earth, the light of heaven will shine in clear, strong rays.
To His disciples Christ said, You have been witnesses of My life of self-sacrifice in behalf of the world. You have seen that all who come to Me, confessing their sins, I freely receive. Him that cometh to Me, I will in nowise cast out. All who will, may be reconciled to God, and receive everlasting life.
Christ tears away the wall of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human family. He makes no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. He teaches us to look upon every needy soul as our brother.
Teach the people, Jesus said, "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. This includes the words He spoke in person, and through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament. Human teaching is shut out. 'there is no place for tradition, for man's theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. "The law and the prophets," with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world.
The gospel is not a lifeless theory, but a living force to change the life. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts when they repent. He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth to proclaim His boundless mercy. Through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His Sons and daughters. And He richly endows His faithful witnesses with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit to accomplish their gospel labors.
The Savior longs to manifest His grace and stamp His character on the whole world. It is His purchased possession, and He desires to make men free, and pure, and holy. Though Satan works to hinder this purpose, yet through the blood shed for the world, triumphs are being achieved that bring glory to God and the Lamb. Christ will not be satisfied till the victory is complete, and "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). "The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High," and "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Daniel 7:27; Isaiah 11:9, cf. 59:19).
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
God's love for mankind, Christ's death for our sins and His resurrection from the dead form the whole basis of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 3-6). "The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.... Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:16, 17).
The gospel is anchored in Christ's atoning sacrifice. "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel ... by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you,... Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and was buried, and... rose again the third day according to the scriptures:... And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 17, cf. Acts 4:12).
Paul exalted the cross of Calvary as the gateway to salvation: "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14, cf. 2:20; 3:1-3; 5:5-8, 24,25).
Jesus declared that "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14).
HOW IS THE GOSPEL BROUGHT TO THE WORLD'S ATTENTION?
"Ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation." (Ephesians 1:13). "Faith comes by hearing; and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17).
WHAT IS THE FOCAL POINT OF THE GOSPEL'S LIVING POWER?
"Christ sent me ... to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross unto us who are saved is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:17, 18).
When the pure gospel is taught with Christlike love, God declares, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!... All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God" (Isaiah 52:7-10; see also Titus 2:11-14; Psalms 22:26, 27; 98:2-4; Isaiah 53).