27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

James 1:27

vs.

“I wonder what it must have been like to be Abraham’s home teaching companion!”

So what is the gospel? Which programs, doctrines, knowledge and belief is essential and pure and which is transitory?

I think it all comes to looking at what Christ will consider important when we are called home and judged.

File:Turbat sheep and goats.jpg
Sheep and Goats

Matthew 7:21

21. Not every one that saith
unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but 
he that doeth the will of my 
Father which is in heaven

Matthew 25: 31-46

31.  When the Son of man
shall come in his glory, and all
the holy angels with him, then
shall he sit upon the throne of
his glory:

32. And before him shall be
gathered all nations:  and he 
shall separate them one from
another, as a shepherd divideth
his sheep from the goats:

33.  And he shall set the sheep
on his right hand, but the goats 
on the left.

34.  Then shall the King say
unto them on his right hand, 
Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared 
for you from the foundation of 
the world:

35.  For I was an hungred ,and 
you gave me meat:  I was thirsty 
and ye gave me drink:  I was a 
stranger, and ye took me in:

36.  Naked, and ye clothed me: 
I was sick and ye visited me: 
I was in prison and ye came 
unto me.

37.  Then shall the righteous 
answer him, saying, Lord, when 
saw we thee an hungred, and fed 
thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38.  When saw we thee a stranger, 
and took the in? or naked, and 
clothed thee?

39.  Or when saw we thee sick, 
or in prison, and came unto thee?

40.  And the King shall answer 
and say unto them, Verily I say 
unto you, Inasmuch as ye have 
done it unto the least of these my 
brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41.  Then shall he say also unto 
them on the left hand, Depart from 
me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels:

42.  For I was an hungred, and ye 
gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and 
ye gave me no drink:

43.  I was a stranger and ye took 
me not in: naked and ye clothed 
me not: sick, and in prison, and 
ye visited me not.

44.  Then shall they also answer 
him, saying Lord, when saw we 
thee an hungred, or athirst, or a 
stranger, or naked, or sick, or in 
prison, and did not minister unto 
thee?

45. Then shall he answer them, 
saying, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye did it not to one 
of the least of these, ye did it 
not to me.

46.  And then these shall go away 
unto everlasting punishment, 
but the righteous into life eternal.

A clear reading of the scriptures is that Christ will judge us not by whether we have recognized him or whether we call upon his correct name, but by whether or not we fed him, gave him drink, clothed him, visited  him, came unto him by doing that for others.

Not our doctrine — our calling Lord, Lord — but our love and kindness, our Christlike Charity, reveal whose children we are. Thus “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God,” not “blessed are the scribes and pharisees, who stand in Moses’ gate.”

File:True religion delineated; or Fleuron W029599-1.png
Wikimedia Commons excerpt from an old text on “true religion”

That is the gospel. The rest is a program and as transitory as home teaching, designed for our needs in the moment (such as the Sabbath Day which was made for man, not man for the Sabbath). It preserves us, like an iron rod through the fog, but the core of it is the Tree of Life, which is the love of Christ. I know, wordy and dense, but this is my conclusion and the essay is already long.

  • What do you think the gospel is?
  • Why do we need anything else (programs) to help us reach the truth?
  • Why?
  • What are your thoughts and additions?

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All images from Wikimedia Commons.