Part 2. The Gospel Of
The word “grace” appears 170 times
in the English translation of the Bible, 37 of them in
the Old Testament.
Of the 133 remaining, only four are contained in
the gospels and they all refer to the Lord Jesus (Luke
2:40, John 1:14, 16, 17).
The Book of Acts contains 10 appearances, and
2 others can be found in the Book of Revelation (Rev.
1:4, Rev. 22:21) where they essentially open and
close the book. That leaves 117 references to grace in
the various Epistles.
As it's used in the New Testament,
grace is clearly a word that is meant for the Church. It
comes from the Greek word charis, which is defined as
“the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy
influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps,
strengthens, increases them in Christian faith,
knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise
of the Christian virtues.”
Much has been written about the
different approaches taken by Peter and Paul in
presenting the Gospel of Grace to their audiences.
Some claim that Peter didn't mention having our
sins forgiven by the Lord's sacrifice but instead
preached a message of repentance and baptism.
But Paul emphasized the redeeming
power of the Lord's blood, shed on the cross.
He didn't say much about baptism, claiming the
Lord hadn't sent him to baptize but to preach the gospel
(1 Cor. 1:17), and spoke even less about
repentance. From this some have concluded that Peter and
Paul preached two different gospels.
Let's take a closer look at this
We'll use Peter's first public message after the
Ascension as an example.
Remember, he was talking to the crowd on the
Temple Mount during their observance of the Feast of
Pentecost. All of them were Jews and many of them were
well versed in their scriptures.
Let's join the conversation.
“Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this
Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
When the people heard this, they were cut to the
heart and said to Peter and the other apostles,
“Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter replied, “Repent
and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus
Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts
To repent actually means to change
our mind about something.
While it can bring about a change in behavior,
none is necessary to fulfill the meaning of the word.
In the case of Peter's audience the Jews had to
change their minds about what it takes to be saved.
They had been taught that obedience to the law is
what makes one righteous and that was wrong.
Peter said it's believing in Jesus that brings
forgiveness. It's exactly what he had heard the Lord
Himself say on numerous occasions (John 3:16, John
6:28-29, John 6:38-40).
Later Peter would say, “Salvation is found in
no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven
given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts
Believing in Jesus means believing He was the Son sent
by the Father to die for the sins of the people.
He was both Lord and Christ.
Then Peter told them to be baptized
in the name of Jesus Christ.
According to my concordance, the Greek phrase
translated “in the name of” invokes every thought or
feeling that is aroused in the mind by mentioning,
hearing, or remembering the name being referenced.
It can be used to establish one's rank or
authority, and to convert a request into a command.
A servant acting
in the name of his master had the authority of the
To be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ is to recognize His authority to do what He came
to do and promised to do (to save us from our sins).
It means we believe He has such authority and has
exercised it on our behalf.
That's why John's baptism didn't bring either
salvation or the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7).
He had no authority to save us from our sins.
Only Jesus had that authority (Mark 2:6-12).
And finally Peter promised them the
There's only one way to receive the Holy Spirit
and that's to believe that the Lord's death paid the
full price for all our sins as confirmed by His
The Holy Spirit was not given to anyone until the
Lord's atoning sacrifice had been perfected in His
victory over death (John 7:37-39, John 20:19-23)
Somewhere in our past, legalistic
preachers began teaching that repentance means to change
our behavior, and with out a change in behavior there
was no repentance.
But if that was the case, the phrase “repent and
be saved” would require us to stop sinning before we
could ask God to save us.
It amazes me that some of the same preachers who
preach this also lead their congregations in singing
“Just As I Am” while issuing an altar call.
In his answer to their question,
“Brothers, what shall we do?”
Peter did not invoke the Law or their traditions,
nor did he
set forth any other pre-conditions.
He simply said, “Repent, be baptized, and receive
the Holy Spirit.”
To his Jewish listeners these few words carried
the full impact of the Gospel of Grace.
A Matter Of Perspective
I'm convinced that the whole debate
over whether Peter taught a different Gospel than Paul
can be resolved by a clearer understanding of the vastly
different perspective of their two audiences.
Peter didn't speak of the blood
because the Jews already understood the idea of shedding
innocent blood for the remission of sins.
Untold thousands of innocent animals had shed
their blood in the previous two millennia to set the
sins of the people aside and stay the hand of judgment
Their Temple was called a house of blood because
at times blood had flowed like a river from beneath the
altar. They needed to change their minds and understand
that all those animals they sacrificed were but a
temporary substitute for the sacrifice the Messiah made
on their behalf, and while the blood of animals had set
temporarily aside the peoples' sins, the blood of Jesus
washed them clean forever (Hebrews 10:1-4, 11-14).
On the other hand, Paul didn't
speak of the need to repent because Gentiles didn't need
to change their mind about the way to salvation. They
had no way to salvation.
They needed to learn that there is a God and they
were sinners destined for His judgment. They needed to
know that this God had made a way for them to be saved
from the penalty of their sins, and that way was the
blood shed by the Lord Jesus for the remission of their
Put another way, Peter summarized
the Gospel like this.
For you know that it was not with perishable things such
as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty
way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,
but with the precious
blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
He was chosen before the
creation of the world, but was revealed in these last
times for your sake.
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the
dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are
in God (1 Peter 1 :18-21).
While Paul said it this way.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first
importance: that Christ died for our sins according to
the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised
on the third day according to the Scriptures (1
It sounds like the same gospel to
me. Please remember that although these two men
certainly had their differences in the flesh, when they
preached or wrote about the Gospel they were both under
the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, who cannot
The idea that Peter and Paul taught different
gospels is not supported in Scripture.
A New Race Of Human
Whether Jew or Gentile, here's what
the Gospel of Grace means to us.
You are all sons of God through
faith in Christ Jesus,
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ.
There is neither Jew nor
Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all
one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28).
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one
and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of
hostility, by abolishing
in his flesh the law with its commandments and
regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one
new man out of the two, thus making peace,
and in this one body to
reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by
which he put to death their hostility (Ephes.
In building His Church, God was
taking some from among the Jews and some from among the
Gentiles to create a new race of mankind.
We're saved only by His grace, through faith (Ephes.
2:8-9), for the purpose of demonstrating the
manifold wisdom of God to the heavenly beings (Ephes.
3:10-11). All the sins of our life have been
forgiven (Colossians 2:13-14) and we've been
invested with the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing
our inheritance (Ephes. 1:13-14).
We've also been given the authority to become the
very children of God (John 1:12-13) and heirs
with Christ in His inheritance (Romans 8:17).
Being in Christ, we've become a new
creation in God's eyes.
The old has gone, the new has come (2
From His perspective we're already seated with
Christ in the heavenly realms, in order that in ages yet
to come He might show the incomparable riches of His
grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus (Ephes.
2:6-7). To this end God has taken ownership of us
and accepted responsibility for making us stand ( 1
Cor. 6:19-20, 2 Cor. 1:21-22).
There's no power in Heaven or on Earth that can
do anything to change that (John 10:27-30, Romans
Soon he'll descend into the upper
atmosphere and with the voice of the archangel and the
trumpet call of God, He'll call us up to His side (1
Thes. 4:16-17) and carry us off to our mansions in
His father's house (John 14:2-3). From that time
on and forever we'll always be with Him, joint heirs
with Him in the inheritance His father has given Him (Psalm
Meanwhile, Back On
At the time of our departure the
Gospel of Grace will see its fulfillment and the pause
between the 69th and 70th Weeks of
Daniel will come to an end.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the
whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the
end will come. Matt. 24:14
By saying the Gospel of the Kingdom
will be preached in the whole world again the Lord
provided us with another confirmation that the Age of
Grace will have ended and Daniel's 70th Week
will have begun.
In the New Jerusalem, the
incredible home our Lord has been preparing for us, the
Church will be enjoying the first chapter of our eternal
life with Him, hidden away like a bride in her bridal
But on Earth Daniel's 70th
Week will bring horrific judgments as God
prepares the creation for its restoration.
Then the Times of the Gentiles will
end, the creation will be restored to its original
The Lord will assume His rightful place as King of the
whole Earth, and the Kingdom Age will begin. The New
Jerusalem will descend out of Heaven to take its place
as the source of light for the world (Rev. 21:24).
The Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Grace will
have both found their fulfillment in the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ.