May 14, 2008

Christ Gospel Church on the Good News: Part One

(Christ Gospel Church is an international sect with affiliate churches in half a dozen African countries and shortwave broadcasts to many others. You can read the previous posts in this series here: What Does Christ Gospel Church Teach?, Christ Gospel Church on Scripture, Christ Gospel Church on Mankind, Christ Gospel Church on God, Christ Gospel Church on the Lord Jesus Christ: Part One and Part Two)

V. The Good News

As one can already see, CGC extends hope for mankind. Several of CGC's articles of faith are dedicated to this important aspect of their beliefs. Through understanding mankind's need as well as the degrees of reward, their understanding of the gospel message is made clear.

A. The Need of Mankind

Believe, Repent, and Accept God's Gift of Salvation
All human beings are born sinners. Sin entered the world through the disobedience of mankind. Before they sinned, these disobedient creatures were known as Adam-male and Adam-female (Genesis 5:2; Romans 5:12).

Every person is a sinner by birth and by deed (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10; Isaiah 53:6; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3). Because God says in His Word that the penalty for sin is eternal Death in Hell and the Lake of Fire (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:12-15), all men are in need of a Saviour and the experience of Salvation through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ, God's spotless Lamb (Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28; John 3:17,18).

Salvation is received through confession and repentance of one's sins (Romans 19:8,9) and through believing on the LORD Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). Salvation is not earned by man's good works; it is a Gift from God, which man receives by having faith in the shed Blood of the LORD Jesus Christ, Who died in man's place on Calvary's Cross (Titus 2:11; 3:5-7).

The evidence of Salvation is the outward demonstration of the inward Working of God's Grace in the heart, which produces a separated, godly, holy life (Titus 2:12). [1]
While God covered Adam-male and Adam-female with his glory, he gave them the ability to choose whether or not to follow him. Hicks states, "Present man, Adam-male and Adam-female, had to decide either to obey or disobey God's Will, which came to them wrapped up, as it were, in His Word."[2] Following the serpent's deceit in the garden, mankind once again chose to follow Lucifer, which brought error and death.[3] This corrupt state continues in all humanity. "Upon acceptance of the Serpent's corrupted will, Adam-male and Adam-female became totally depraved in their threefold beings. This same depraved condition has been passed on to every human being."[4] Hicks summarizes the death of man since the fall: "Death is a true witness of man's threefold being. The Scriptures prove that a sinner's being separates in a threefold manner at Death. The body goes to the grave; the soul goes to Hell; and the spirit is left to roam in a state of unrest after having ascended to God."[5] Every human being is a sinner whose soul deserves to go to hell.

Hicks teaches that there are three tests of mankind. "In each period or age of existence, God has tested the spirits and souls of mankind with Light. First, they were tested as Seeds in the spiritual realm in Eternity-Past; then, they were tested as Seeds in Present Time in a perfect body in the Garden of Eden. Now, in Present Time, . . . man is tested a third time, and this time his test is in both the spiritual realm and the natural realm."[6] Individuals have failed one or two of the previous tests, but their choice regarding the third and final test will ultimately determine their eternal destiny.

The only way for humanity to escape damnation in the lake of fire is to be saved through Jesus' atonement. Hicks lays out three necessary steps for salvation: "First, a person must believe there is a God; second, he must repent of his sin; and, third, he must accept the Gift of Salvation that the LORD God so freely bestows on those who believe on Him and repent of their sin."[7] This provision of salvation is seen as a transaction. "We are saved by taking the necessary steps toward Salvation, in obedience to the Word of God. Once we have done our part, God certainly will do His Part. God plainly declares in His Word that every soul who trusts in His Son is forgiven, saved, and becomes a possessor of Eternal Life."[8]

After being saved, Christians are to continue to grow in their faith. "God's Infallible Word continues to generate faith in our heart so that we can continue progressing in our believing in our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God's Word encourages us to persevere to the end of life's journey with a strong, steadfast faith in Jesus Christ."[9] The Christian life should be one marked by holiness and devotion to God. And until Jesus' returns, at death a true believer only faces a twofold separation. "At Death, the threefold being of a believer, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament Dispensations, was and is separated in a twofold way. The spirit and the soul of the Old Testament believer went to Paradise, while the spirit and soul of the New Testament believer goes immediately into heaven."[10]

[1]Articles of Faith, 4-5.
[2]Hicks, Confirming Our Faith in what the Bible Teaches about Mankind, 128.
[3]Ibid, 128-136.
[4]Ibid, 144-145.
[5]Ibid, 55.
[6]Ibid, 150.
[7]B. R. Hicks, Believe, Repent, and Accept God's Gift of Salvation (Jeffersonville, IN: Christ Gospel Press, 1997), 44.
[8]Ibid, 68.
[9]Ibid, 69.
[10]Hicks, Confirming Our Faith in what the Bible Teaches about Mankind, 55.