The gospel concerns both the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. The gospel includes the truth “that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 is not merely speaking about the fact that Jesus lived, died, and rose again, considered apart from the purpose of these truths, which were accomplished to establish a righteousness for all whom Jesus represented. What is believed regarding the identity of the One who died is very important.
Regarding His identity: Jesus is identifiable only by the attributes which are predicated of Him. These attributes are included in the doctrine of who Christ is and what He did. It is the uniqueness of His Person as the God-Man Mediator that determines the efficacy of His Work. Christ’s Person can only be known in connection with His efficacious Work on behalf of those whom He represented. And it is the efficacy of His Work that determines its application.
To deny that Christ’s Work is applied to all whom He represented is to deny the efficacious nature of that Work. And to deny the efficacious nature of that Work is to deny the gospel itself since the word of the cross is the very heart of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). Clearly, the Person and Work of Jesus Christ are inextricably connected.
For centuries, unlearned and unstable men (cf. 2 Peter 3:16) who come in the name of “Christianity” have been assaulting the gospel of Christ through putting certain attributes of Jesus Christ “on the table” for debate — they console each other with a sinister kind of irenicism (cf. Jeremiah 23:16-17; 2 John 9-11) that asks, “Surely we can all be Christians together while disagreeing on whether Christ’s atonement actually atones or not?”
The Bible connects salvation with a proper understanding of who Jesus is and what He did:
“And this is everlasting life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3).
“And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given to us an understanding that we may know the true One, and we are in the true One, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and the life everlasting. Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:20-21).
“But also if our gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, so that the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your slaves for the sake of Jesus. Because it is God who said, ‘Out of darkness Light shall shine,’ who shone in our hearts to give the brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
“And when the Comforter comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father, that One will witness concerning Me” (John 15:26).
“No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day. It has been written in the Prophets, They shall all be taught of God. So then everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to Me” (John 6:44-45).
“And they shall no more teach each one their neighbor, and each one his brother, saying, Know the Lord; because all shall know Me, from the least of them to their great ones. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousnesses, and I will not at all remember their sins and their lawless deeds” (Hebrews 8:11-12).
The passages above clearly teach that as an immediate and inevitable fruit (or result) of regeneration, knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ is given. But what of those who are blinded to the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ? They are those who deny Jesus is the Christ:
“Who is the liar, except the one denying, saying that Jesus is not the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one denying the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).
“Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has been generated from God. And everyone who loves Him who begets also loves the one who has been born of Him” (1 John 5:1).
Those who affirm that Jesus is the Christ are regenerate and those who deny that Jesus is the Christ are unregenerate. What does the title — Christ — involve? Is it just a title devoid of meaning? Are those regenerate who merely profess to believe “Jesus is the Christ”? If that’s all it means then virtually every cultic group in history would be among the saved.
Obviously then, “Christ” is not an empty title or sound vocalized out of one’s mouth, but a term loaded with meaning — such as the attributes of Jesus Christ. And thus, we’re back to the truth that believing Jesus is the Christ is inseparable from believing in His true identity — who He is and what He accomplished for those He represented.
In this statement of mine, I am saying that all who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception (i.e., “Arminians”) are ipso facto, denying that Jesus is the Christ; they are of antichrist.
“Antichrist” includes not only those who explicitly deny He is the Christ, but also those who merely profess His name while simultaneously setting themselves in His place as the ultimate difference-maker between the saved and the damned. It is their work, and not His, that makes the difference between salvation and damnation; it is their efforts and not His, that make the ultimate difference between everlasting righteousness and everlasting shame and contempt.
The Arminians — just like those in 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 — preach “another Jesus” whom the apostles did not preach. They use the name “Jesus Christ” but have completely different definitions of the attributes concerning His Person and Work. Arminians explicitly deny essential attributes that Scripture attributes to Jesus Christ.
In short, Arminians are self-righteous boasters who believe that it is the effort of the sinner that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. They deny that Jesus Christ made full satisfaction for sins and that Jesus Christ accomplished and ensured salvation for all whom He represented. They trample underfoot the precious blood of Jesus Christ, treating it as something of no value. They glory and boast in themselves, for whatever one believes makes the difference between salvation and damnation is what one glories and boasts in. There is not a single one of these self-righteous boasters who is a child of God (cf. Galatians 6:14-16).