Most Christians think the Gospel is the “milk” of the word, and the meat refers to maturing in one’s ability to keep commandments and obey God. However, in actuality, the Gospel is both the milk and the meat of the word. The Gospel is not just the initial message of salvation, but it encompasses everything that God has accomplished in Christ and everything that God is doing in Christ, from creation to heading up everything in the heavens and earth (Ephesians 1:9-10).
The “milk” of the word is something that the carnal Corinthians could understand. Even in their troubled state, Paul encouraged them because the testimony of Christ was confirmed in them, and they were enriched in speech and knowledge (1 Corinthians 1:5-7). However, he said they could not receive the “meat” (1 Corinthians 3:2). In Corinthians, Paul referred to the meat as matters related to the “mystery” and the “hidden wisdom,” which have to do with the inheritance that God has predestined for our glory (1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:11).
The “milk of the word” in Hebrews was defined in Hebrews 6 as having to do with the “elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ,” including matters such as eternal judgment, repentance from dead works, and faith toward God (Hebrews 6:1-2). These matters answer basic questions about how Christ accomplished salvation for us and what our eternal security is based on. However, the meat in Hebrews is related to the high priesthood of Christ, the ministry He is now performing in resurrection to supply us with Himself and bring us into the presence within the veil (Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:19-20). It is related to the heavenly and glorious things that God has appointed Christ to be to us as the Heir of great salvation and the Captain of that salvation to bring us into glory (Hebrews 2:10). It is related to the life of Christ within and His faithfulness over His house, which we are, according to Hebrews 3 (Hebrews 3:6).
The milk of the word brings us into a basic knowledge of our salvation, but the meat of the word establishes us in Christ and settles us in full assurance so that we are comfortable resting in God and depending on Him to be everything to us.
In Romans 16, Paul said, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith” (Romans 16:25-26).
Here, Paul groups the gospel into two categories—the testimony of the prophets and the revelation of the mystery. The prophets, according to Peter, inquired into the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow (1 Peter 1:10-11). This is the gospel that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 that this message saved us when we believed it. However, “according to the Scriptures” also includes the things that were revealed to Paul, which are also rooted and centered in the death and resurrection. Not only did Christ pay for our sins and deal with matters of eternal judgment, faith toward God, and repentance from dead
works, but He also accomplished so much more in His death and resurrection, and now He is in us. The Gospel according to the revelation of the mystery has to do with what Christ now brings to us based on His death and resurrection, which has become our inheritance. This is the “hidden wisdom” that Paul spoke of in 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:7) and the meat concerning the high priesthood and His heavenly service to us according to Hebrews 6 (Hebrews 6:19-20). This is the completion of the word of God, containing all the “riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27).
I. The Gospel is all-encompassing
- A. It includes everything God has accomplished in Christ (Colossians 1:19-20)
- B. It includes everything God is doing in Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10)
II. The Gospel provides the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16)
III. The Gospel is the foundation of our discipleship
- A. We continue to abide in it (John 15:4-5)
- B. We bear fruit (Colossians 1:6)
IV. The Gospel remains the foundation and essence of our faith
- A. It is the initial message of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
- B. It has ongoing transformative power (Romans 12:2)
- What Does It Mean to Live Is Christ?
- What Is True Discipleship?
- What Did Jesus Mean: Keep My Commandments?
- What Does It Mean: I Through the Law Died to the Law That I Might Live Unto God?
- What Is the Righteousness of the Law?