The gospel of our salvation
There is only one gospel through which a person can be saved and can receive eternal life. This is the gospel of sonship. The apostle Paul said that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the gospel of sonship, because it contains the power of God for salvation. The power of the Father for salvation is the capacity in His word to birth a hearer as a son of God, and to join them to the fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Rom 1:16-17. 1Jn 1:3. The righteousness of God that is in the gospel is revealed when we are born as sons of the Father, in Christ. Rom 1:17. 2Co 5:21.
Jesus Christ admonished the presbytery of the Ephesian church for leaving their ‘first love’. Rev 2:1,4. First love is not an emotion; neither is it simply a committed connection with other believers. Rather, first love is the divine nature. More specifically, it is the gospel of God through which He births a person as His son. By receiving this message, a hearer is born of God and is joined, in Christ, to the offering fellowship of Yahweh. 1Jn 1:1-3. This reveals God’s love for us and is the means by which we become partakers of the divine nature. 1Jn 3:1. 2Pe 1:2-4. We note, therefore, that the Ephesian presbytery had fallen from first love by turning from the gospel of sonship to other gospels.
Establishing this point further, the apostle John exhorted his readers to be illuminated by the word of sonship that ministered to them the love of God as the divine nature. He wrote, ‘Behold [or be illuminated concerning] what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called sons of God!’ 1Jn 3:1. John also explained that ‘everyone who loves is [a son who is] born of God and knows God’. 1Jn 4:7.
To know God is eternal life! This was the highpoint of John’s letter. He said, ‘And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.’ 1Jn 5:20. The understanding that the Son came to give us is a participation in His offering, through which the culture of God’s life can become the culture of our life. This culture is love, which we are able to express as we are delivered from our sin and self-centredness, and as Christ’s life becomes our life in the fellowship of His offering and sufferings.