There is no more important issue for humanity than the gospel of our salvation. Yet, when you ask a handful of Christians to explain the gospel rarely do you get a consistent or clear answer.
Common ideas about salvation are experiential and based on performance. These beliefs are not much different than other religions. They sound like this:
More spiritually minded people will recognize that the gospel has something to do with Jesus. We hear the salvation gospel described as “believing in Jesus”, “following Jesus”, “making Jesus Lord of your life”, “accepting Jesus”, “receiving Jesus”, or “loving Jesus”. Pretty much, anything that has to do with Jesus is a legitimate explanation of the gospel for these folks.
Even certified theologians differ about the gospel. Some think God chooses who will be saved. Others think God grants salvation in response to our behavior. Catholics believe it is a sin to presume that you are eternally saved. Now, that is confusion!
The only thing clear about the gospel in Christianity is that few people can articulate it clearly.
The Gospel of Our Salvation
It is not the gospel of salvation merely to believe in Jesus; the devils do that (Mark 1:24, James 2:19).
It is not the gospel to love Jesus with all our heart; the Muslims do that as well.
“Making Jesus Lord” is something the Mormons include in their theology, and every good Hindu “accepts” Jesus (they accept thousands of gods).
None of the beliefs above can save you from God’s rightful judgment against our sins. Paul clearly states the gospel of our salvation in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
“… Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: …” – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
It was through Christ’s death that our sin is removed and we are justified.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
We receive righteous standing with God by faith.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” – Romans 5:1
Belief in this gospel alone will save you and give you the grace of eternal life (Rom 6:23). First, we hear this gospel of grace. Second, we trust it, then we are saved: no more, no less.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…” – Ephesians 1:13
The Mystery of the Gospel
What does this have to do with the mystery of Christ and mid-Acts dispensational right division? Everything.
You can find gospel messages in the Bible before the gospel of grace surrounding the covenants, Israel, the Commandments, baptism, the Messiah, and the kingdom. Christians cause confusion when they fail to distinguish between the gospel of the kingdom and the mystery gospel of the grace of God.
No one before the revelation of the mystery of Christ understood the significant meaning of the death of Jesus to all men (Luke 18:34).
The mystery of Christ is the gospel of the grace of God. It is the preaching of the cross for salvation. No one before the revelation of the mystery understood how faith alone could justify sinners (James 2:24). The gospel of grace was kept secret from humanity (1 Cor 2:7-8).
Mid-Acts right division recognizes the difference between God’s progressive instructions in the Bible, and clarifies our understanding of the gospel for today. By separating the gospel of grace from the message of the law, covenants, kingdoms, and baptism the glorious gospel of Christ stands alone.
Resolving the confusions over tithing, tongues, and water baptism are only consequences and not the main benefit of mid-acts dispensational right division. The biggest benefit to the church of learning the mystery of Christ is clarifying the gospel of our salvation.