What Is the Gospel? *
There are major themes in the Bible such as God, faith, the kingdom, hell, the Gospel, etc. Well, the word “Gospel” is something mentioned often by Christ & the Apostles. And if 20 people were asked what the Gospel is, we would get 20 different answers.
Basically Gospel means good news. It reveals penetrating truth from Divine quarters about: 1) God & His nature, 2) about man, 3) about how J.C. fits into the picture, then 4) OUR response. Since the Apostle Paul is the “brains” of the New Testament, his inspired letters of Scripture are helpful in this analysis of the Gospel.
1). The clearest “nutshell” glimpse of God’s nature is way back in the time of Moses where God is said to be compassionate & gracious & patient & one to forgive. But He does not leave the guilty unpunished. Sin has to be dealt with. Exodus 34:6-7 (God is not like a lazy janitor who sweeps dirt under rugs, furniture, etc.) We are accountable to Him – “we are created, we are made, therefore we are owned”. Greg Gilbert
2). Paul explains clearly (by Divine inspiration) that all humans, Jews & others have rebelled. Going back to the BEGINNING we (in Adam) rejected God’s authority & declared our independence – a conspiracy against the King. (Lucifer’s fall was similar – see link 195 “Why Is There Evil?”)
3). God’s “good news” solution to humanity’s fatal sin problem is the sacrificial suffering, death & resurrection of Jesus Christ. No other savior dies for our sin problem, then rises from the dead. The resurrection seals & verifies the sacrifice of Christ, and the Apostles were energized by this. Then we have the doctrine of substitution. G. Gilbert put it this way; “when we put our faith in Jesus, we are relying on him to stand as our substitute before God, in both his perfect life and his penalty–paying death for us on the cross . . . we are trusting that God will substitute Jesus’ record for ours, and declare us to be righteous (Romans 3:22) . . . it is only the fully human, fully Divine Son of God who can save us.”
4). OUR response/action is to repent from sin, & believe in Jesus. This is what the Apostles (starting with Peter) called people to do. And Christ & the Apostles used the word “saved”. So from what?? From sin & it’s consequences which are separation from God & His goodies in life & eternity. See “What is Saved?” link 39 (And a lot of folks – even in the church – are not saved according to J.C. . . . “I never knew you.” Matthew 7:21-23.) The following refs. may be appropriate for this essay:
- Exodus 34:6-7 “The Lord passed before him, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (God’s nature)
- Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
- Romans 4:24-25 “It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 “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 (Peter), then to the twelve.”
It appears that people often want a “center” or “focus” in religion (or Christianity) that is something other than the death of Jesus on the cross in the place of us sinners. But Paul makes it clear there is not another way. “As we have said before, so now I say again, If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:9 And I should apologize if some of my other gospel-notes don’t make this clear enough . . . Choose Jesus, and His Gospel, They are “Alive”. See also “Liberal Theology” link 161.
* This essay is based on a recent book by one Greg Gilbert – same title. He did a great job worthy to be condensed.
Many other titles: www.gospelnotes.net – Link 0 is Index * * F. J. Stone * *