In the first episode of the Beginner Believer series, we lay an important foundation: the gospel, its implications, and how to understand saving faith! This episode describes why we need saving, how Jesus saves us, and where we go from here. Subscribe for the entire series!


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Welcome to Verity podcast. I’m your host, Phylicia Masonheimer, and I am here to teach you how to know what you believe, to live it boldly, and to communicate it graciously to the world around you. I believe that women are ready to go deeper in their faith than ever before and they don’t have to go to seminary to do it. I am so glad you’re here and I hope you’ll join me on this journey because every woman is a theologian.

 Hello, friends, and welcome back to Verity podcast. This is the first episode in our beginner believer series. So this series is replacing the church history series that we were doing. I had to pause that series because of the demands of our life at this stage. So, instead, we’re going to do a series of shorter episodes answering questions that beginner believers have. So whether you are a new Christian or you’re discipling a new Christian, I hope that these episodes give a concise and applicable explanation to many of the questions that you or your friends are asking in those beginning stages of the Christian life. I know that when I was a new believer, I had so many questions and I was raised in a Christian home. So I can’t even imagine for those of you who are coming to Christ later or coming to Christ without a Christian background or family, how intimidating this can feel. And especially if you’re discipling a younger believer, sometimes you don’t have the words to explain Christian beliefs because you’ve grown up in it or you’ve been in it so long that it almost feels like you don’t know how to explain those beginning steps. So wherever you are, whatever stage of life you’re in, and whatever walk of faith you’re in, I pray that this series is helpful as you navigate the basics of Christianity. And so we’re gonna start with one of the most basic but important questions, and that is, what is the gospel and why does it matter? Now, certainly, there have been much better and bigger podcasts that have talked about this exact issue. I’m going to try to talk about it in a very concise way that is clear and easily adaptable to the conversations that you’re having.

Now most of you who are listening to this have already embraced the gospel. You know that the gospel is the good news, that’s what gospel means. And so for you, this might just be in a review. Again, just putting these theological concepts in terms that are easier to explain and understand. There’s something that happens in Christianity and in the church where as we mature in faith, we can tend to use terminology that we understand, we know the meanings, but the people we’re talking to don’t know the meanings. And so when we’re talking about things like the gospel, we assume somebody knows what that means, but a lot of times, they don’t. They don’t know what the gospel is. And so we have to back way, way, way up and start with terminology and ideas that are more accessible to the people we’re talking to.

The way I describe this is as bringing it down without watering it down. We never want to water down scripture. We never want to water down truth, but we do want to bring it down to a level that’s accessible and not intimidating. The Bible was written in a different culture, in a different time, and in a different language, and then translated into English or whatever language you speak. And so when we are talking about it, there can be a little bit of misunderstanding unless we take care to define our terms. Now if you would like a resource for defining terms specifically, I have a glossary of theological terms in the Every Woman A Theologian shop. If you go to, we have both a print version and an ebook version, and that might be a handy tool if you want a resource to define terms as you are learning. But let’s start with a basic definition of the gospel.

I kind of touched on it already. The gospel is good news. That’s literally what it means, and this is the news that Jesus brought to the world to tell them that he was the fulfillment of the messianic promise. What’s the messianic promise? Well, the Jewish people were called by god to be priests or mediators between the world and god. So they were supposed to act as this example, a nation drawing people to the truth of who God was. They had a historical story rooted in real time. So there’s a historical archaeological record of their life with God, and as such, people could look to this physical nation as a place where God was doing something great. Anybody who approached God in the Old Testament through Israel, so that they learned about the living God through Israel, anybody who wanted to follow God could.

So it wasn’t like Israel is this nation that’s only they get to follow God or they’re super special and they did something great to be chosen. The Bible specifically says they were not special in and of themselves that they were chosen. God chose them to be a light to the nations and to show people the way to the living God. So they were a nation of priests pointing people to God. Now in that nation, God said to Israel, out of you will come a messiah, a savior, and he will save the world. He will put a new heart within them, and they will be able to obey my law. And Jesus was this Messiah. So Jesus arrives humbly, born in a stable, and He is this Messiah that’s promised.

So when we say that Jesus is the fulfillment of messianic promise, that’s what we mean. He was the Jewish messiah, but he was for the entire world. Okay? So he’s born into the Jewish nation, but he’s not only there to save the Jews, he’s there to save everyone who puts faith in him just as Israel was pointing everyone to the living God. With this background in mind, now let’s turn to what scripture says about the gospel. First Corinthians 15 sums this up. This is what Paul says. Now I would remind you brothers of the gospel I preached to you, There’s that word. Which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved.

Pause. This gospel that he’s about to describe is what saves us. If you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received. Now here’s the gospel as Paul describes it. That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the 3rd day in accordance with the scriptures. Now he goes on to talk more in the rest of 1st Corinthians 15 about the resurrection and the importance of the resurrection, but this is a nice concise summary of what we mean when we talk about the gospel. It is the good news of Jesus’ life, ministry, death, and resurrection apply to us for our freedom.

So what is the gospel’s impact? What does the gospel do? Romans 1 16 through 17, again, Paul talking, he says, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith, for faith, as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith. So here he says that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Another word for the power of God is grace. The grace of god is power to do what we could not do on our own. So everyone who believes has access to this salvation, And notice he says to the Jew first, so that idea of the Old Testament, the nation of priests, they put faith in the living God looking forward to the Messiah and also to the Greek or to the Gentile, the non Jewish person. So we look back to the Messiah. The Old Testament Jews were looking forward and the New Testament Church is looking back, but the point in history, the saving point is Jesus Christ and that we are saved by faith, Old Testament or New.

The gospel is not new. We’ve kind of already talked about this, but in Galatians 3:8 through 9, it says, the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, in you shall all the nations be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. What he’s saying here in Galatians is that the Old Testament saints were saved by faith and so are we. So the gospel was actually preached beforehand to Abraham. He was told, in you, all the nations will be blessed and Jesus is the source of blessing to all the nations. So it was told, the gospel was told to Abraham in different terms and he said, I believe you, God. I put faith in you.

I give you my allegiance. And he was saved by faith. Same process on this side of the cross, just a different location in the chronological timeline. So let’s learn a little bit about Jesus. I’m gonna share with you some sections about Jesus, sin, salvation, repentance, and then a summary of what the gospel is in conclusion. Much of what I’m gonna share with you is taken from the constitution of the Wesleyan Church and the articles of religion in the Wesleyan Armenian tradition. Now as many of you know, there are different approaches to, how we understand salvation. There are our liturgical churches like the Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church.

You’ve got your Calvinistic Reformed churches. You have your Wesleyan Armenian churches or your Free Will Baptist, your charismatic Pentecostal churches. These are different denominations but they also have slightly different theological viewpoints. However, they unite around Jesus Christ as the one and only savior of the world. The one and only. He is God. He is man. He died on the cross.

He rose from the dead, and he bought us salvation by faith and grace. So to the degree that these churches unify around that gospel, that message, they fall within Christianity. However, there are different interpretations of how that works out. We won’t get into that here. We’ll get into that in a future episode, and I’ve talked about it in past episodes as well. But for now, what I’m going to share with you is the understanding of salvation through a Wesleyan Armenian lens. So if you are in a reformed tradition, you’re probably not going to fully agree with everything I share here, but Wesleyan Arminianism is based on scripture and has a rich tradition that is completely grounded in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you’re a parent like me, your hope is that your children will grow up to develop an unshakable faith, to be followers of Jesus Christ and live out his call in their lives in a way that brings glory to God.

But you also know that our kids live in a world that can be challenging to follow Christ faithfully. As one mom shared, I can’t teach my kids all the things they learn at summit. I homeschool them and we read a lot of great books together, but nothing compares to what they’ve internalized after attending Summit. Summit takes the best of the best of the best speakers, and they plan each session in such a way that the kids can get the most out of it. That means having downtime, having fun activities, good food, thoughtful dialogue, access to speakers, staff, connection, all of it. I tell fellow moms they must send their kids to summit. If you have a child between the ages of 16 and 22, send them to a 2 week conference in Colorado or Georgia this summer. Learn more at

Save $200 when you use the code, verity24. Register today at So let’s start with Jesus. Who was he? So Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and he was born of the Virgin Mary. So this means that he did not inherit the original sin of Adam. We’ll get to that in a second. He was truly God and he was also truly man.

He died on the cross and was buried to be a sacrifice both for the original sin and any future transgressions of humanity. So he did this to make our relationship with God right. Ever since the very beginning of time when sin entered the world and humans chose to partner with that, we have been affected by the brokenness of sin. We need reconciliation with God because God is perfect and he made the world and he wants relationship with us. But there’s this rift between us and we need that rift mended. And so Jesus came. God sent himself in human form to reconcile that rift between us. And this is the good news of the gospel because without someone reconciling us, we are separated from God, and God wants to bridge that gap.

So Jesus was God’s solution to humanity’s problem. And so the way Jesus did this was to die willingly to take the penalty for sin on Himself, but then He broke the hold and curse of sin by rising from the dead. He showed He had power over death and then ascended to heaven where he now reigns on high. So let’s talk more about sin. Since the fall, we have not been able to do what is right. Original sin is the idea that every human person has been affected by the brokenness and corruption of sin. It is reproduced naturally in all of Adam’s descendants. Why? Because imperfection will naturally come from imperfection.

You can’t have perfection and wholeness and righteousness come from unrighteousness and brokenness. Right? The imperfection of Adam is translated to all of us. We’re all born with a bent towards sin that, inevitably, we will act on when we’re old enough to choose it. So there’s a difference between having a bent towards sin and being born inherently guilty. And we won’t get into the all the nitty gritties of that right now. But essentially, everybody’s born with an inclination to do evil eventually. He can’t call upon God on his own. He can’t exercise faith for salvation on his own.

So you can’t save yourself from your own sin. We aren’t good enough to do that. But because of Jesus, the grace of God makes possible what we could not do on our own. In Wesleyanism, we call this prevenient grace. This grace is given to all people. They all are given the grace to turn towards God and enables us to turn towards Him. It means the Holy Spirit will initiate reaching out to every person, but they have to choose whether or not they will respond to Christ and His sacrifice, which leads us to salvation. So when Christ offered Himself on the cross, again, central central story of the gospel, His suffering and His death redeemed us.

It made atonement. It paid the price of sin for the whole world, both the original sin and then the sins that we choose. So there is no ground of salvation from sin except what Jesus did on the cross. You can’t save yourself. Nothing else can pay for your sins. Otherwise, we end up in this weird space where we’re like, well, if I do enough good things, I can offset the bad things. Now you’re just talking about karma. And if you make a grievous, grievous, sinful mistake in your past, you will live this constant heavy weight and burden of trying to make up for that in the future.

And what if you run out of time? What if you die before you can make up for what you did? You can see that in other religious frameworks, you have to do enough to compensate for your failures. Or even if you are a mostly good person, if you have evil thoughts, or if you lie or steal, or if you deceive in some way, any of those things are counting against you. And if you fail in even the tiniest way, there is no hope of saving yourself because you’re not wholly perfectly good. You need a savior. And in Christianity, the savior is God Himself who made Himself nothing and came in a form of a servant to lay Himself down to save us. This atonement is sufficient for all of us. It’s effective for everyone. And so this includes people who the unborn, babies who are unborn who’ve not yet have the ability to choose good or evil.

It also includes those of us who choose to follow Him. It is effective salvation for all of us who repent and exercise faith in Christ. So what’s repentance mean? Let’s talk about that. For us to actually experience God’s grace, we must respond in repentance to God’s call. So the Holy Spirit will call, pervenient grace, will initiate saying, hey, come to me. All who are weary and heavy laden, I will give you rest. He calls to individuals, but then you must actually repent and respond. And this is the command all throughout the book of Acts, all throughout the gospels.

Repent and believe. Repent and believe. Repentance is a turning around. So the ability comes from God. So the enablement, the power to turn comes from God, but the actual act, the choosing is man’s. You have to actually choose to respond to God’s grace and follow him. This is prompted by the Holy Spirit. This is so repentance is a change of mind.

It’s renouncing sin and longing for righteousness. You are sorry for the ways you’ve been living or for trying to be a good person on your own, and you want to make things right and you want to walk in new life. So in order to experience saving faith, repentance is a precursor. There has to be repentance to fully walk into that new life and lay hold of the salvation offered in Christ. So you are agreeing with God, both in your mind and in your will, to the truth of what Christ did on the cross. What does that mean? It means that you can’t just believe that Jesus existed and call that salvation. And this is where a lot of people get confused about the gospel. They wanna say, well, I believed I believed in Jesus.

I mean, I I believe he existed. He’s a historical person. And, yeah, sure. I believe he died for my sins. But they don’t show any fruit and they don’t show any life transformation. Why? Because they believed in their mind. Right? They agreed with their mind, but they did not consent with their will. This is why I believe the better term for faith is allegiance.

The word pistis, faith, and this is a great book on this by Matthew Bates called Salvation by Allegiance Alone, that when our self shifts in allegiance in response to God’s call and we say, you know what? I’m giving my allegiance to Christ now. He is the leader of my life. I am not the leader of my life anymore. He is. We consent to the truth of the gospel, and our whole self is now in reliance on the saving ability of Jesus Christ. This is how the articles of religion put it. Complete reliance by the whole person in the saving ability of Jesus Christ. So you are no longer relying on yourself, your wisdom, your effort, your good works.

You are casting yourself completely on your savior and Lord, and this saving faith is your acknowledgment of his lordship over your life. You are saying, I am no longer God. He is God. And that shift of allegiance is repentance and it is faith in the person of Jesus Christ. This is the response to the gospel. So in summary, we are only counted righteous before God on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We are justified by faith alone in him, and that faith is a shift of allegiance in response to the Holy Spirit’s call. It is not on the basis of our own works.

Regeneration, so transformation, is the work of the Holy Spirit by which a sinner, a person separate from God, becomes a child of God. And we receive this new life, this new identity through faith in Jesus. And this in turn delivers us from the power of sin, original sin and future sin. We can become more and more like Jesus as we continue to grow in the behaviors and the words and the heart attitudes and the thoughts of somebody who is like Christ. And so we experience the grace of God through faith, and it is applied to our account. The sacrifice of Jesus is applied to our account, and we stand justified before Him. So that’s a lot of information, but hopefully, that was a concise summary for you of what happens in the gospel and how to explain the gospel to someone else. If you have to summarize it very shortly, I would say, we were born separated from God.

We can’t make ourselves good enough. And if you feel tired from trying to be good enough, that’s probably why. But God, the one who is perfect, came down, made himself nothing to reconcile us to him. And when I give my allegiance to him, and I confess with my mouth and I agree with my mind and consent with my will to the truth of who Jesus was and is, and I allow him to be the king of my life, I’m saved. And this is not something that I chose to do of my own will. I’m responding to the call of the Holy Spirit in my life. I’m responding to the love of God who first loved me and drew me to salvation in him. There are a lot of different ways that you could explain it, but I think that’s a really good start.

If you’d like some verses to continue your study, obviously the ones at the beginning of this episode may be helpful, but also on justification, you can look at passages like Acts 13, Romans 1, 3, 4, and 5, Galatians 3, Ephesians 2, and Hebrews 10. To learn more about our adoption in Christ and his family, Romans 8:15, Galatians 4, and also Ephesians 1. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to email me at And if this was a helpful episode to you, please leave a review in iTunes so more people can find it. And I will catch you next time in the rest of the beginner believer series. Thank you so much for listening to this week’s episode of Verity podcast. If you enjoyed this episode would you take the time to leave us a review? It helps so many other women around the world find out about Verity and about every woman a theologian as a ministry in a shop. We appreciate you, and I hope you’ll be back next week as we continue to go deeper into God’s word and the heart of Jesus Christ.


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