The Gospel – What is it?
Willing2Share believes in the Gospel of Jesus Christ but what is it? The word simply means good news, and it is best defined as the message of forgiveness for sin through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. It is essentially God’s rescue plan of redemption for those who will trust in His divine Son in order to be reconciled to a just and holy God. The essential content of this saving message is clearly laid out for us in the Bible. There are many references and some have been selected below but we encourage you to seek more.
Jesus Christ, during his years of ministry on this earth taught the good news – the gospel.
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat 4:17)
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.” And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. (Luke 4:42-44)
After Jesus had freely sacrificed himself and had been raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit He went to meet His disciples and commissioned them in what is called the Great Commission.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat. 28:18-20) See also Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:44-49; John 20:19-23 and Acts 1:8
The book of Acts records the progress of the early Church. The letters from Paul, Peter and others to various churches present the Gospel in numerous ways reminding them of what Christ has achieved, why it was necessary and what the future holds.
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord … (Rom. 1:1-4)
For 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.” (Rom. 1:16-17)
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, 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: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. (1 Cor. 15:1-5)
Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned and no one has any excuse:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom. 1:20)
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
… as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Rom. 3:10-12) See also Psalm 14:1.
… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God … (Rom. 3:23)
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isa. 64:6)
The price or consequence of sin is death:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23)
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned … (Rom. 5:12)
Christ overcame death. He died in our place. He paid the price for our sins.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:6-8)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
We receive forgiveness of sin, salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1)
… because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Rom. 10:9-10)
For”everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:13)
The gift of salvation is free and does not rely on works but belief in Christ results in good works
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. (Rom. 5:15)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)
We can rest assured this forgiveness lasts for ever because Christ lives for ever
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:1)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39)
It is a free choice but the choice has consequences
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Rev. 3:20)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18)
Who is the Gospel about?
It is clear from the preceding scriptural references that the Gospel is all about Jesus Christ. It is not about man. (1 Cor. 1:22-24) for Christ IS God (Col. 2:9) and man (John 1:14). As Christ is God it is also about God. So to sum up:
The coming of Jesus was foretold by the prophets in accordance with the perfect plan from God. Jesus willingly came from Heaven to save us, died for our sins in our place, was raised from the death by the Holy Spirit and was seen by many after his resurrection. He now sits at the right hand of God who has given him all power and authority, including the right to act as judge of all mankind. Since there is judgement to come the Gospel can also be described as a rescue operation from the wrath of God for all of those who choose to believe.
John Piper, in his book God is The Gospel says:
“My point in this book is that all the saving events and all the saving blessings of the gospel are means of getting obstacles out of the way so that we might know and enjoy God most fully. Propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, imputation, sanctification, liberation, healing, heaven, none of these are good news except for one reason: they bring us to God for our everlasting enjoyment of him. If we believe all these things have happened to us, but do not embrace them for the sake of getting to God, they have not happened to us. Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God. And people who would be happy in heaven if Christ were not there, will not be there. The gospel is not a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”