Jesus and his disciples did not say anybody would die for our sins.
The gospel preached in the churches today is false. It is different from the one Jesus preached. Today’s gospel is about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. But since Jesus and his disciples preached the gospel before his death, that cannot be the true gospel.
The gospel preached today is Paul’s gospel: “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). That gospel says: “Rejoice: Jesus died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). But Jesus and his disciples did not say anybody would die for our sins. They preached a gospel which said: “Repent: the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15).
Paul never heard Jesus preach. Therefore, he displays unpardonable ignorance about Jesus’ doctrine. Bereft of references to Jesus’ teachings, Paul’s epistles focus exclusively on his crucifixion (1 Corinthians 2:2). But the good news of the true gospel is not about Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is about the great reward God has prepared in heaven for the righteous as consolation for the vicissitudes of life (Matthew 5:11-12).
Life or death
Paul says: “If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty” (1 Corinthians 15:14). However, Jesus does not make his resurrection central to the gospel. In one of his stories, which Paul apparently knew nothing about, Abraham says: “‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead'” (Luke 16:31). Even before Calvary, Zacchaeus received the gospel and Jesus acknowledged his salvation (Luke 19:8-10).
The gospel is a call to emulate the exemplary life of Jesus. Jesus came that we may have abundant life (John 10:10). Therefore, those who followed him originally did so because of his life. But thanks to Paul, many who follow Jesus now do so because of bogus claims about his death.
Jesus says: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Only those who do the will of God will inherit his kingdom, and not those who believe Jesus died for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).
Two different gospels
Christians must reject Paul’s gospel and embrace only the gospel Jesus preached. John warns: “Whoever does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him” (2 John 1:9-10).
The gospel of the kingdom says eternal life is costly and not God’s gift (Luke 14:25-33; Romans 6:23). It is about calling sinners to repentance (Matthew 9:13); and not about the “grace of God that brings salvation” (Titus 2:11). It is about believers thirsting for righteousness (Matthew 5:6); and not about God justifying the ungodly (Romans 4:5).
It is about hating our life in this world (John 12:25); and not about becoming rich through Jesus’ impoverishment (2 Corinthians 8:9). It is about becoming God’s children by doing God’s works (Matthew 5:44-45); and not about faith without works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
In Jesus’ gospel, atonement for sins is our responsibility; we choose to be saved (Matthew 16:24-25). But in Paul’s gospel, atonement is God’s responsibility; we are predestined to salvation (Romans 8:29-30). With Jesus, we carry our crosses (Mark 8:34). With Paul, Jesus carries them for everybody (Galatians 6:14).
With Jesus, forgiveness comes through repentance and the readiness to forgive others (Matthew 6:14-15). With Paul, it comes through the redemptive blood of Jesus by which all sinners have been forgiven all trespasses (Colossians 1:14; 2:13).
With Jesus, freedom from sin comes as we abide in his word of truth (John 8:31-32). But with Paul, Christians are automatically free from sin because we died with Christ (Romans 6:6-7).
Some maintain Paul’s gospel is a post-resurrection dispensational replacement for Jesus’ gospel. However, Jesus said the gospel of the kingdom will be preached as a witness to all nations until the very end (Matthew 24:14). Jesus did not introduce Paul’s doctrine of blood-atonement on his resurrection. His directive remained that “repentance and forgiveness of sins” should be preached in his name” (Luke 24:47).
In Acts, Peter never preaches sacrifice, propitiation or blood-atonement. He never associates Jesus’ death with the remission of sins (Acts 2:37-38). He said the righteousness of God comes by works (Acts 10:34-35). However, Paul insists God imputes righteousness discretionally apart from works (Romans 4:5-6).
In effect, Paul’s gospel is false. It merely tests those who would embrace Jesus’ true gospel. The true gospel empties the churches while the false gospel fills them. The one offers a narrow gate and a difficult way that leads to life; while the other offers a wide gate and a broad way that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).