By Pastor Greg Wilson


The “gospel” as proclaimed in many so-called evangelical churches today is a gospel that little resembles the one preached by John the Baptist, our Lord, or the apostles. Today’s gospel is little more than an offer of escape for those who wish to avoid the punishment of an eternal hell. The sinner is told to walk an aisle and to repeat a prayer after a counselor at which time he is declared to be a child of God.


The gospel found in Scripture is a far different affair. James, in his epistle, warns that mere intellectual assent to the facts does not avail to salvation (James 2:19). He notes that the demons are well acquainted with the truths concerning God—but this knowledge does not save them. The Biblical gospel rather points those to Christ who have already been brought to see the awfulness of their sins and their dire need of a Savior by the regenerating Spirit of God. To such God grants the twin graces of repentance and faith.


Repentance is more than realizing that we are lost, though that is a part of it. It is more than being sorry for our sins, though that too is a part of it. Repentance occurs when the Lord causes us to change our minds about our sins and come to view them as God views them. We come to loathe our sins and earnestly desire to forsake them. We no longer make excuses for them or desire to continue in them. True evangelical repentance is always evidenced by a resulting change in behavior. John the Baptist demanded that the Pharisees bring forth “fruits meet for repentance” before he would baptize them (Matthew 3:8). Fruit invariably follows repentance. This fruit can only be produced by the regenerating Spirit of God and not by mere human effort. The “gospel” preached by many today contains no repentance, and thus we hear of such anomalies as “born again” sexual perverts, fornicators, pornographers, strippers, night club singers, brewers, rock stars, etc. The Bible clearly establishes that the genuine new birth—the one that comes from above—will bring about changed lives (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Without repentance, there is no genuine faith (Matthew 21:32) and there can be no salvation (Luke 13:3).


Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this modern false gospel is that it inoculates people against the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They have the idea that since they walked an aisle, or prayed a prayer after someone, or gave intellectual assent to the truths concerning Jesus Christ that they are now saved and heaven-bound; though there has never been any change or even a desire for change in their lives. When confronted with the true gospel they give it no heed, and respond: “Oh, I already did that.” Some preacher managed to add another chalk mark to his statistics and another sinner has been made “twofold more the child of hell” (Matthew 23:15).


The Biblical gospel calls God’s elect to repent from their sins and trust in the atoning death of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15). These twin graces are granted by God alone, they cannot be manufactured by mere human effort or manipulation.