Our question is “What is the Gospel?”.
It is not “What is the definition of the word “gospel”.
But before we get to the question at hand, it might be helpful to get the definition out of the way.
• The word “gospel” is translated from the Greek word “εὐαγγέλιον” (evangelion).
• The prefix “εὐ” (ev) means “good” or “well”.
• The root word “ἀγγέλλω” (angelion), a verb, means “to announce” or “to bring news”.
• The word “ἄγγελος” (angelos), the noun form, comes from the same root: a “sent messenger” (angel)
• The Old English bible translators applied the archaic words “gōd” (good) + “spel” (news) to give us the word we now read as “gospel”.
By definition, when a Christian says the word “gospel”, he is simply saying “good news”. But when a Christian says “gospel”, he is not referring to ALL good news, or just ANY good news, like a pay-raise, or finding some lost keys. For a Christian, the gospel is THE good news.
The gospel is one particular message. One announcement. One headline. One subject.
Luke 2:8-20 says, “there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
What was this particular good news? The angel makes it clear. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
The angel (God’s messenger) was sent to the shepherds with a specific message.
The essential part of his joyful message is that the long-promised, long-awaited Christ (Messiah), had been born. The Jewish people were waiting for this news because it was promised long before.
What is this such good news?
Before we can know why the message is good, we have to see the bad news.
The bad news makes the new news the good news!
1. God is holy, perfect, righteous, good and just.
2. We are his creation. Therefore, we are accountable to God.
3. We have sinned, rebelling against God’s holiness, and we have stirred up his wrath.
4. God’s wrath toward sinners is appropriate due to his perfect holiness and goodness.
5. Eternal damnation in hell is an appropriate punishment, due to the perfect holiness that has been offended.
5. In his kindness, God provided a solution the to sinners; namely, salvation through Jesus Christ.
6. God’s solution is is the only acceptable way to be right with God.
7. God’s solution is applied to sinners by faith alone.
8. Saving faith is evidenced by a heart that turns from sin to a life of increasingly fruitful holiness.
Let’s summarize those points like this: God, Mankind, Jesus Christ, and Our Response.
The first thing to know about the good news of Jesus is that “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Everything starts from that point, so if you get that point wrong then everything else that follows will be wrong. Because God created everything—including us—he has the right to tell us how to live. You have to understand that in order to understand the good news about Jesus.
How would you describe God’s character? Loving and good? Compassionate and forgiving? All true. God describes himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Then God adds, “but who will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7). That explodes about 90 percent of what people today think they know about God. This loving God does not leave the guilty unpunished. To understand just how glorious and life-giving the gospel of Jesus Christ is, we have to understand that God is also holy and righteous. He is determined never to ignore or tolerate sin. Including ours!
When God created the first human beings—Adam and Eve, he intended for them to live under his righteous rule in perfect joy—obeying him and living in fellowship with him. When Adam disobeyed God, though, and ate the one fruit that God had told him not to eat, that fellowship with God was broken. Moreover, Adam and Eve had declared rebellion against God. They were denying his authority over their lives.
It’s not just Adam and Eve who are guilty of sin. The Bible says “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…none is righteous, no, not one” (Romans. 3:23,10). Yet, we often think of our sins as not much more than violations of some heavenly traffic law. So we wonder why God gets so upset about them. But sin is much more than that. It’s the rejection of God himself and his right to exercise authority over those to whom he gives life.
Once you understand sin in that light, you begin to understand why “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). That’s not just physical death, but spiritual death, a forceful separating of our sinful, rebellious selves from the presence of God forever. The Bible teaches that the final destiny for unbelieving sinners is eternal, active judgment in a place called “hell.”
This is the Bible’s sobering verdict: “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Every one of us will be held accountable to God. The Bible warns that “whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18).
The word “Christ” means “anointed one,” referring to anointing a king with oil when he is crowned. So, when we say “Jesus Christ,” we’re saying that Jesus is a King!
When Jesus began his public ministry, he told the people, “The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news!” Centuries before God had promised that he would come as a great King to rescue his people from their sins. And here was Jesus saying, “The kingdom of God is here…now! I am that great King!”
Eventually Jesus’ followers realized that his mission was to bring sinful people into that kingdom. Jesus came to die in their place, to take the punishment they deserved for their rebellion against God. As Jesus died on a cross, the awful weight of all our sins fell on his shoulders. The sentence of death God had pronounced against rebellious sinners struck. And Jesus died. For you and me!
But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus the Crucified is no longer dead. The Bible tells us that he rose from the grave. He is not just King Jesus the Crucified, but King Jesus the Crucified and Resurrected! Jesus’ rising from the grave was God’s way of saying, “What Jesus claimed about who he is and what he came to do is true!”
What does God expect us to do with the information that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s righteous wrath against our sins? He expects us to respond with repentance and faith.
To repent of our sins means to turn away from our rebellion against God. Repentance doesn’t mean we’ll bring an immediate end to our sinning. It does mean, though, that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins.
Not only that, but we also turn to God in faith. Faith is reliance. It’s a promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from your sins. “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned…he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree…the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (John 3:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
If God is ever to count us righteous, he’ll have to do it on the basis of someone else’s record, someone who’s qualified to stand in as our substitute. And that’s what happens when a person is saved by Jesus: All our sins are credited to Jesus who took the punishment for them, and the perfect righteousness of Jesus is then credited to us when we place our trust in what he has done for us! That’s what faith means—to rely on Jesus, to trust in him alone to stand in our place and win a righteous verdict from God!
Do you believe:
-that you have rebelled against God and deserve his wrath?
-that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died the death that you deserve for your sins?
-that he rose from the grave and lives to stand in your place as your Substitute and Savior?
Jesus promised us, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out”, and He prayed, “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.(John 6:37, 17:24)
If you are rebelling against God’s grace, or if you are simply unsure of your salvation,
turn from your sin,
give up your prideful hope of doing enough good deeds to please God
put your trust in Jesus alone.
Have you done enough good to please God?
Without any help from you, He has fully paid God’s demands against you by dying in your place (faith).
His cross was your punishment! His death is the only thing that can save you.
Today is the day of salvation. Call out to Him and ask that His grace and mercy be applied to your account! Then read and obey His Word, find a good church to help you grow, and rest knowing that what Jesus has done in order to save you cannot be undone!
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)
“…we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
If you’d like to talk more about this, feel free to contact one of FCL’s elders.