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The Hidden Gospel


Chapter One

The Hidden Gospel, book by David W. Dyer

A "Grain Of Wheat" Ministries publication

Written by David W. Dyer


Chapter 1: The Hidden Gospel (Current Chapter)

Chapter 2: The New Life

Chapter 3: More Translation Problems

Chapter 4: True Faith

Chapter 5: Transformation


What is wrong? Why is the church today in such a low spiritual state? Why is so much of what is being preached today of so little value or even in error? Why do so few of God’s children seem to have victory over sin? Where is the true power of the gospel?

Is it possible that we have been misled? Has the devil succeeded in hiding from God’s people the very things that Jesus came to do? Is it conceivable that there is more to the gospel message than we have realized? This small book has been written to address these extremely important questions.

The second coming of Jesus is drawing very near. Many of today’s news articles are full of events which presage what the Bible has taught us about the last days. It seems as if we are the generation which will see Jesus’ return and the establishing of His kingdom here on this earth.

Therefore, it is time for the restoration of some very important understandings. It is time for the people of God to be brought back to Him and His truth in a life-changing way.

May Jesus graciously grant that this writing could used for His eternal purposes.


“For he who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going.” (Jn 12:35).

“...be very careful to keep your spiritual eyesight clear so that what you think is light in you does not turn out to be darkness.” (Lk 11:35).



The true gospel, brought to us by Jesus Christ and later proclaimed by the apostles who preached His message, was a message of power. It was a message which they claimed would radically change and transform the lives of those who were believing. It was a message which declared that people could be liberated from who and what they were.

They could be freed from their natural human tendencies to sin. They could be unchained from the dominion of evil spirits. They could even be changed “from glory to glory” into the image of Jesus Christ Himself. In short, it was a glorious, powerful message which was meant to effect a fundamental, comprehensive, revolutionary change in men and women.

Around the world today, millions of people are saying that they have been “born again.” Yet, for some reason this complete, radical change is not happening in many of their lives. Very few seem to be experiencing something as powerful and transforming as the scriptures portray. We are not seeing millions of holy people. Instead, very few of them are being radically changed from what they were before their “conversion.”

The church today is full of individuals who do not have victory over sin. Their lives are not transformed. They are very easily influenced by evil spirits. They experience very little actual “glory” in their daily lives.

While some may have some “touches” of spiritual reality during times of worship or preaching, most of the time their lives are not filled to overflowing with the presence of God. They are not really holy people. They are not knowing the “well of living water” filling them to the brim with the life which Jesus predicted.

It does not take too much research to discover that today’s church is full of sin. Adultery, fornication, lying, lust, envy, lack of love, and division are in full bloom, along with individuals hungry for power over others and those seeking money for themselves, as well as innumerable other human, sinful attributes.

What then is the problem? Where have we gone wrong? How is it that the good news which Jesus preached is “not working” in the lives of so many of those who profess to be Christians?

In this writing, we are going to be taking a look at a few things which seem to be hindering the work of God and then presenting some solutions which we believe can restore us to a life-changing relationship with Jesus.


One thing seems obvious: the devil has succeeded in diluting the gospel, thus weakening its power. Over the years since the early church, he has been successful in subtly altering the good news so that its effectiveness has been lost or greatly diminished.

One of the first things we can notice is that very few of those who “become Christians” are even expecting to experience the extensive, profound change which Jesus preached.

Taking their example from the lives of other Christians around them (which are largely unchanged) and the messages they hear from the pulpits, they have very little, if any, expectation of anything very radical happening in their lives.

In this way, the devil has had a lot of success. If no one else’s life is being revolutionized and the messages from various “men of God” don’t seem to point to this as a possibility, then no one expects much of anything to happen. Since the people then don’t expect a dramatic change or seek for it, they have been neutralized from ever experiencing it for themselves.

How has this happened? What has been changed so that the good news has been so weakened? Here we will be looking at various aspects of this problem. However, this will not be easy. So, please be patient as we carefully go over various aspects of this situation together. It will take some time to try to untangle some of the clever variations which Satan has succeeded in interweaving into God’s truth.

You see, the devil is extremely intelligent. Furthermore, he has had almost 2,000 years to work on his corruption of Jesus’ message. His subtle deviations from the truth have been instilled into Christian “theology” over centuries and, therefore, have influenced countless theologians, pastors, preachers, Bible translators, and many others.

The result is that most who are reading this book will already have planted within them, no doubt without realizing it, some wrong or slightly altered understandings of what Jesus came to do. Perhaps without realizing it, they may have accepted some partial truths.

Some of the concepts may be so deeply rooted that it might make the reader angry to hear someone challenging them. For others, it might be very difficult to see something different from what they have thought was true for many years. Please remember that the purpose of this writing is not to offend but to enlighten.

Consequently, I would like to urge all readers here to keep an open mind and heart. When you are finished reading, you don’t have to agree with what is being said. However, our prayer is that God could use this message to revolutionize your lives by giving you a completely new vision of what Jesus can and will do for us and in us.


One of the devil’s tactics has been to substitute partial or incomplete truths for the genuine message of the gospel. He has been crafty enough not to try to change everything. In fact, he hasn’t needed to. Instead, he has managed to water down the focus of the gospel, keeping just a little bit of the truth, so that it no longer has the power to radically transform believers.

Of the many ways Satan has succeeded in achieving his ends – perhaps the most pernicious way – is in the subtle deviations or dilutions contained in many translations of the Bible. Since many Christians believe these translations to be “the Word of God,” the subtle alterations are not noticed or questioned.

Once these translations are accepted as “truth,” then what has been written in them influences countless individuals. Furthermore, since many of these dilutions were introduced centuries ago, many modern translations continue propagating the same weakened versions of the truth since the translators themselves have been influenced by their past.

All the translations we have today were done by men. These men, as we all are, were fallible. Therefore, it is a serious mistake to imagine that any translation which we have in our hands is perfect.

Although these individuals may have had the best of intentions when doing their work, avoiding the influence of human opinion is impossible. A perfect translation is impossible because, when translating the New Testament, one discovers many Greek words with several possible translations in English. In some cases there are more than twenty possible translations of one Greek word!

Therefore, the translator must choose his word from these several possibilities. It is without doubt that he (or she) will choose words which correspond to his understanding of the gospel. Thus, they may obscure or, in some cases, even go against other possible translations.

Of course, the translation of a word will depend upon the context in which the word is used. But, this too will depend entirely on the translator’s understanding of the context.

As an example of how many ways one Greek word has been translated, we might choose the simple Greek word “EN” which, according to Thayer, means: “in, by, with, etc.”

The King James Bible translates this word like this: “about, after, against, almost, altogether, among, as, at, before, between, (here-)by (all means), for (...sake of), give self wholly to, (here-)in (-to, -wardly), mightily, (because) of, (up-)on, (open-)ly, outwardly, one, quickly, shortly, (speedi-)ly, that, there(-in, -on), through(-out), (un-)to(-ward), under, when, where(-with), while, with(-in).” Wow, that’s a lot of variety for one little word!

So it is easy to see that it is impossible for a completely perfect translation of the Bible to be done. How could anyone select the “perfect” translation every time this word EN appears? Human beings, with their own ideas and predispositions concerning the message of Jesus, cannot avoid influencing their translations.

Furthermore, it is very important for the translator of any work to understand what is being said. If they don’t, their translation cannot faithfully transmit the thoughts of the author. I have experienced this many times when having other people translate my books into Portuguese. It is a good thing that I read Portuguese because quite often, when reviewing the translations done by various people, I realized that the translator did not understand what was being said. So they just wrote down what they thought I had intended to say.

Often, this did not convey the true essence of the sentence or passage. In fact, in some cases it was exactly the opposite of what was intended. I shudder to think of having my books translated into languages which I do not speak. How will I ever know if what is being transmitted is what I intended?

In the same way, it is essential for any translator of the Bible to have revelation. He must have had God reveal His mysteries to him and, as a consequence, deeply understand the message. If not, he will put words on paper which do not transmit what God is trying to say and make the message difficult to understand or even say the wrong thing entirely. A knowledge of the Greek language is not enough.

God’s revelation is not based on facts or “knowledge.” It is necessary for the Lord to open our spiritual eyes so that we really understand His plans, His purposes, and His will. If not, our translation will be faulty.

Simply stringing “correct” words together in religious-sounding sentences will not arrive at the goal either. Although these words may be “correct,” they may not and, probably do not, transmit the intentions of the Author.

Consequently, we cannot, indeed we must not, assume that our present translations are without any subtle deviations inadvertently introduced by translators.

Therefore, as part of our search to arrive at God’s truth, it will be necessary for us to look at some common Bible verses which perhaps could have been translated in a clearer manner. We will examine the possible translations of some Greek words, seeking for a clearer or more exact translation.


One such dilution of the gospel is something we will call “the gospel of forgiveness.” Very many Christians think that Jesus’ main purpose in coming to this earth was to forgive us. They imagine that He died and rose again to satisfy the Father in such a way that He would forgive us. Their understanding of Jesus’ work on our behalf is summed up in the word “forgiveness.”

Now it is true that Jesus can and does forgive us. This is a genuine part of the gospel. In no way would this author ever wish to diminish the wonderful blessing of being forgiven by God. But this is only a part of Jesus’ message and, as we shall see, it was not the focus of, or the main purpose of, what Jesus came to do.

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, speaking to him about God’s plan for the child in Mary’s womb, he said: “Joseph, you son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son and you shall call his name JESUS, for it is he who will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:20, 21).

Now, if you think about it, this is a different message from “forgiveness.” The angel did not say that He would “forgive His people for their sins.” Here we are told that Jesus would “save” or “deliver” His people from their sins.

To “forgive” is one thing. To “save from” is another. The forgiven person will possibly keep right on sinning and, therefore, keep right on needing forgiveness. The person who is delivered from their sin has experienced something much more profound. That person actually stops sinning!

The “gospel of forgiveness” seems to assume that Christians will just go on sinning and sinning and Jesus will just continue forgiving until the day He finally comes and puts an end to this vicious cycle. On that day, it is believed, Jesus will transform us in the blink of an eye, finally and at last putting an end to our sin.

The good news of salvation, on the other hand, is that Jesus can and will actually deliver us from who and what we are. This can be happening right now, today! Through following Him, we can be being changed to be different people – people who no longer sin. This good news includes the idea of “sanctification” – which means “to be made holy.”

The concept that the “gospel of forgiveness” is the main thrust of the biblical message is reinforced by the translation of various verses in the New Testament.

For example, in Matthew 26:28 we read in the New King James Version: “For this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Most versions also say something similar.

How should we understand this word “remission?” In the margin of my New King James Version it reads: “forgiveness.”

This sentence was uttered at the peak of Jesus’ ministry. He was together with His twelve disciples eating what we call “the last supper.” This, of course, was a key event in His life, shortly before His crucifixion. So, through this translation, we are left with the impression that Jesus’ main purpose was to bring us forgiveness.

But the Greek word translated “remission” here is APHESIS which means “freedom,” “deliverance,” or “release from bondage.” Only by implication can it mean “forgiveness.”

Of course, it can be argued that “remission” is a possible “correct” translation. But does it really convey the heart of God? Is forgiveness really the main purpose for which Jesus came? Or should we really understand that He came for our deliverance from, release from bondage to, and freedom from, sin?

To me, there seems no doubt that Jesus’ mission was to accomplish a complete deliverance from sin. As we progress through this writing, I believe you also will come to understand this truth.

So we see that the words chosen in the translation of this verse have a very strong impact on how we understand what was being said.

This same Greek word is repeated in Luke 24:47. We read: “...and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (NJKV).

Once again, the time when this was uttered by our Lord – just minutes before His ascension into heaven – places this statement as one of the most important of all His pronouncements.

Consequently, following the common translation of this verse, many have been energetically preaching this gospel of forgiveness. They suppose that since this was Jesus’ final verbal communication to us, it must be the main thrust of His message. But is this really the good news which Jesus came to bring? Is this the message which we are supposed to be preaching?

Let us imagine for a moment a prisoner condemned to a lifetime of bondage. Then let us suppose that one day someone comes to him and says: “Look, you are forgiven,” but does not open up the cell where he is confined and let him out.

I’m sure that that prisoner is glad to be forgiven, but I’m even more confident that he would like someone to unlock the door and let him go! He would like to be set free, not just forgiven.

We need to be delivered from our sins, not just forgiven for doing them. Any “salvation” which does not include delivering us from who we are and what we do is incomplete. It falls drastically short of meeting our greatest need.

Again, in this verse we find that same Greek word – APHESIS – which means “to set free,” “deliver,” and “release from bondage.” By translating it “remission” or “forgiveness,” the message becomes altered and weakened.

Also, in the book of Acts chapter 5, verse 31, many of our translations reinforce for us the idea of a gospel of forgiveness. We read about Peter saying: “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (NJKV). Here again we find the same Greek word which could be better translated “freedom from” or “deliverance from” sins.

Can you see how the understanding of the translators here colors the message? Can you see how the gospel can be subtly watered down to leave out the idea that we can actually be set free from sin? Again, perhaps, grammatically speaking, “remission” or “forgiveness” could be considered a “correct” translation. But is this really transmitting what the Author was saying? Does it reflect the true revelation? Does this really express what is on God’s heart? Is it the powerful, life-changing message which Jesus came to bring? I think not.

Something which reinforces the “gospel of forgiveness” understanding is the very common notion that once we receive Jesus, all our sins are forgiven – the ones in the past, the ones in the present, and even the ones in the future. This idea seems to be almost universally accepted in today’s church. Yet it is not true.

Of course, Jesus can forgive any and all sins, yet the teaching that He has already done so does not hold up under careful examination. For example, Jesus taught us: “But if you do not forgive men their trespasses {sins}, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses {sins}” (Mt 6:15 NJKV). How could it be possible that our Father wouldn’t forgive us if Jesus had already forgiven us? This is just not logical.

Also, Jesus said to the disciples: “Whoever’s sins you forgive, they are forgiven them. Whoever’s sins you retain, they are retained” (Jn 20:23). How is it possible that someone’s sins would be “retained” if they had already been forgiven by Jesus? Obviously this cannot be true.

The popular translation of one verse in Colossians is commonly used to justify this “everything’s already forgiven” doctrine. In the New King James Version, for example, it reads: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col 2:13 NKJV).

But, in the Greek text, this word “forgiven” does not appear. Although forgiveness can be implied, it is not stated. Instead, the Greek word used here primarily means “to grant as a favor,” or “to be gracious.” It can also mean “to rescue.” So this verse could be translated “... graciously rescuing us from the whole of our sins.”

Do you see how this kind of translation is different? Can you understand how this is actually a different message entirely? As we mentioned before, to be rescued from sin is much more powerful and complete than just to be forgiven for sin.


In the past several centuries of the Christian Church, there seems to have been a strong emphasis on forgiveness based on “the blood of Jesus.” Many famous hymns were written and many messages preached about this subject.

Today, many Christians are rejoicing in God’s grace and Jesus’ forgiveness. This is certainly not wrong. Obviously, we all desperately need to be forgiven. Without God’s gracious and merciful forgiveness, we would be without hope.

It is clear that forgiveness is part of the gospel message. It is an essential experience for every believer. For example, we read in 1 John 2:12, “I write to you little children because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake.” Also, James 5:15 states, “And the prayer of faith will heal the one who is sick and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

Yet the Greek word for “forgiveness” used in these verses and the rest of the New Testament is not APHESIS, which we have seen means “to liberate.” Instead, it is APHIEMI which means “to discharge,” “to let go,” or “to disregard.” This is another word entirely. It is this Greek word which appears frequently in the four gospels where Jesus uses it in His teachings to us about forgiveness.

But when speaking about the blood of Jesus, is forgiveness really the central message? Are we supposed to believe that this is the main purpose for which Jesus died? Or is there an even more important truth revealed which should be our focus?

The “forgiveness” emphasis appears to be supported by such verses as Ephesians 1:7 where we read: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace...” (NJKV), and Colossians 1:14 where we are taught “...in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (NKJV).

But here again the word translated “forgiveness” in the NJKV is the Greek word APHESIS which literally means: “freedom” or “release from bondage or imprisonment.” Only by implication can it mean “forgiveness.” This gives these two verses an entirely different meaning.

Now let’s take another look at these two verses we just read. With our new translation, a different picture emerges. We read: “It is in Him that we have our release by ransom through his blood, even the release from bondage to our sins according to the liberality of his grace...” (Eph 1:7).

And: “It is in him that we have our release by ransom – the liberation from our sins – through his shedding his blood” (Col 1:14).

So we see that these two important verses are also not really speaking about forgiveness. They, too, are not referring to being forgiven for sin but to being set free from the bondage to sin which enslaves us. This is a liberation which we all desperately need to experience for ourselves.

Strangely, God forgave people in the Old Testament times. Jesus also forgave several sinners before His death on the cross (Mt 9:2; Lk 7:48). Although it is possible that these instances of forgiveness were based upon “looking forward to Jesus’ death,” this is not clearly stated.

In contrast to this, it is significant that no one was ever “saved from their sins” and transformed into Christ’s image before Jesus’ death and resurrection. No one was ever delivered from sin before Jesus was crucified.

Although forgiveness seems to have been available before the cross, deliverance from sin was not. This, therefore, reinforces the thought that this powerful, liberating work was the central purpose for Jesus’ work on the cross. Our deliverance from sin thus stands out as the principle reason for which Christ died.


Did you notice the phrase “release by ransom” in the previous verses? Many, if not most versions, translate this as “redeemed.” This is a nice, religious sounding word, but what does this Greek word really mean?

In Jesus’ day, when wars were fought and through other circumstances, sometimes people of wealth, value, or influence were captured. Since they or their families had money, they were held for ransom instead of merely kept as slaves. They were held prisoners until this ransom price was paid.

Such a ransom was not paid to forgive these people. This is very significant. Forgiveness had nothing to do with it! It was paid to set them free from their bondage of captivity or slavery. The Greek word which is used in these verses is APOLUTROSIS which literally means: “the act of ransoming,” or “paying a ransom in full.”

Although ransoming people captured in war is not common today, in many countries the need for paying ransoms still exists. This is necessary in the case of people who are kidnapped. The kidnapped person is often held in some secret prison, sometimes under horrible conditions, until someone pays their ransom.

Even though the word “redeem” has a similar meaning, its main use today seems to be in religious or commercial circles and it no longer conveys to us the serious nature of this action.

As a youth, my familiarity with the word “redeem” was to trade in a coupon at the grocery store to get a small discount on some product or other. I never heard it used in the very serious context which fits with the scripture.

Jesus’ did not pay the ransom price to merely forgive us. He paid the highest price to release us from the bondage in which we were held.

So what is this bondage from which we are supposed to be delivered since most of us are not in physical prisons?

It is our slavery to sin. It is our inescapable tendency to sin by doing things which are against God’s nature. This is something from which we cannot deliver ourselves. Outside of Jesus, there is no way to freedom.

It is also a slavery to the whims and influences of evil spirits, especially Satan and his hordes of principalities and powers who are cruelly ruling over this earth. These are the bondages from which Jesus died to rescue us. He did not sacrifice Himself merely to forgive us. Our need was much, much greater than that.

Jesus paid the highest possible price to effect this ransom. He gave His own life. Not only did He die, but He died in a most gruesome way, being tortured and crucified. This awesome, terrible price was necessary to set us free.

So, once again, the decision of the translators concerning what word to use and how to translate these verses has a profound effect on the meaning which is conveyed. How the translators have understood the gospel message has governed their choice of words. Consequently, the message which we have received through our modern translations emphasizes forgiveness but seems to minimize the idea of deliverance.

But now we are seeing that there is a deeper, more powerful gospel message “hidden” in the scriptures. It is truly better “good news” than the news about God’s forgiveness!

Although in no way would we ever want to diminish the value of Jesus’ forgiveness for what we do and have done, it should never be a replacement for His even more astounding work of rescuing us from what we are.

This is what we really need. We need to be saved! We need to be rescued, not only from what we do which is wrong, but even more from what we are which is what produces this sinful behavior. Although we certainly do need forgiveness for our sins, we have an even more desperate need to be delivered from our sin. This distinction is extremely important.


You see, one of the major problems with the “everything’s already forgiven” message is that, perhaps without meaning to, it leads people into sin. Although (I hope) no one would openly teach this, it is a logical conclusion. People can and do reason in the following way: If God has already forgiven all my sins, then it doesn’t matter very much if I sin once in a while.

Since it is very hard, if not impossible, to avoid sin and since sin often seems so attractive and even pleasurable, what harm is there in a “little” sin or an occasional sin? How could one sin more or less make any difference since “they are all already forgiven?”

If we do not expect to be perfected – that is really delivered from sin – and many others seem to be sinning with impunity, why should we be any different? If God has already pre-forgiven us for everything and anything, it is easy to see that this produces a less serious attitude toward sin.

Although certainly most agree that they shouldn’t sin, most also seem to believe that it doesn’t make a lot of difference to God or even that living without sinning is impossible.

The sad condition of today’s church testifies to the prevalence of this kind of “forgiveness” gospel. It is a result of a message which has been diluted and, therefore, robbed of its power. This lamentable situation seems to be, at least in part, the product of an inadequate translation of the scriptures.

Throughout hundreds of years, believers have been rejoicing in their forgiveness, but not enjoying a full deliverance. Generations of Christians have been being forgiven but have remained in bondage to their sinful nature.

Often, their expectations have not been that they will be perfected in this lifetime. Instead, this has remained for them as a future hope of something which will happen after they die or are raptured.

End of Chapter 1

Read other chapters online:

Chapter 1: The Hidden Gospel (Current Chapter)

Chapter 2: The New Life

Chapter 3: More Translation Problems

Chapter 4: True Faith

Chapter 5: Transformation

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