Gods, Christs or Pauls Gospel?
Bassam Zawadi wants to know whose Gospel was it that Paul preached (*). Zawadi cites references where Paul refers to the Gospel as his Gospel, the Gospel of God, and the Gospel of Christ, and asks:
So was Paul preaching his own gospel, the gospel of Jesus or the Gospel of God?
The answer is rather simple. Paul preached the Gospel revealed to him from God, a Gospel which centers on the Person and work of Christ. In other words, it is God's Gospel because it originates from him and was revealed by him.
It is the Gospel of Christ because it is about what Jesus has done in accomplishing the salvation of God's people. It is also called Christ's Gospel since it originates from God through Christ. Putting it simply, God reveals this Gospel about his Son through the mediation of his Son, since all of God's revelations, blessings, offices, gifts etc., are granted to believers on behalf of Christ:
"The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God... After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news (Gospel) of God. 'The time has come,' he said. 'The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news (Gospel)!'" Mark 1:1, 14-15
"A man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and highly respected by all the Jews living there. He stood beside me and said, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight!' And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said: 'The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard.'" Acts 22:12-15
"Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith... First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you" Romans 1:1-5, 8-9
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, ... For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospelnot with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." 1 Corinthians 1:1, 17
"I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostlesonly James, the Lord's brother. I assure you before Go that what I am writing you is no lie. Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: 'The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.' And they praised God because of me." Galatians 1:11-24
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillmentto bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined accordig to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possessionto the praise of his glory." Ephesians 1:3-14
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, ... that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service." 1 Timothy 1:1, 12
This is precisely the reason why Paul can call it the Gospel of God and of Christ in the very same chapter and context:
"to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation." Romans 15:16-20
Finally, Paul calls it his Gospel in order to differentiate it from all the other gospels which were being preached:
"I hope you will put up with a little of my foolishness; but you are already doing that. I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." 2 Corinthians 11:1-4
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" Galatians 1:6-9
All scriptural quotations taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible.
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