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What is the Gospel?

I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the Power of God for Salvation to everyone who believes. (Romans 1:16)

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. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The word Gospel literally means the “Good News.” It is actually a Good News Proclamation!

The Gospel is the Power of God for Salvation to ALL WHO BELIEVE. (Romans 1:16-17)   In the simplest terms, The Gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1-6)  that He came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) through his death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-3) and He is bringing us into a community, a family, a Kingdom made up of every tribe, nation, and tongue. (Rev 7:9)     Right from the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we learn this is is the reason Jesus came.   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 1:15-16) The long awaited and foretold King is here and he is bringing in His Kingdom, which is a Kingdom where there is truth, beauty, goodness, justice, righteousness, holiness, love and peace.  Do you want in? 

In one of the most well-known verses of Scripture, John 3:16, we read that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  That good news is that that Jesus, being fully God, became a man, and died for sinners, of whom each of us who are in Christ can say with Paul “I am the greatest.” (1 Timothy 1:15)  And yet, in Christ we aren’t called sinners, but saints (Philippians 1:1).

How the Gospel “Works”

Many people don’t believe in the concept of sin in our society anymore.  And even if they do, it is common to think that God should just forgive us. And while it is true that God is Love (1 John 4:8), God is also holy and just. (1 Peter 1:15-17)  It is this tension that we live in. God loves us, but his holiness and his justice demands that he judge sin.

In Romans 3:23 we read “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  That means each and every one of us fail to live up to God’s standard. Jesus pointed this out when saying that hating our brother is the same as murder as far as the law is concerned and lust is the same as adultery (Matthew 5).  James 2 tells us that if we fail or stumble at any one part of the law, any rule, we have broken the law.

Romans 6:23 tells us the penalty for breaking God’s law.  It says “for the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”  We who sin, which is all of us, don’t measure up to a holy and just God and we deserve death as God told Adam in the garden.

However…Romans 5:8 is where Paul talks of the hero who will save us from our predicament. It says “God demonstrates his love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  He is the new Adam.  God’s love can’t leave us in our sin and judgment. He sends his son “born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who are under the law.”  (Galatians 4:4-7)  Jesus, who is fully God, becomes fully man, and lives a life of perfect obedience. He then succeeds where the first Adam failed. (Romans 5)  Yet he pays the price that the first Adam (and all of us) deserve.

Romans 10:9-10 tells us how to have Christ’s payment apply to us.  It says “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.”   All we need is what the Bible describes as repentant faith.  It is a gift.  There is nothing we can do to earn salvation.  In fact, if we think we can, we most certainly are not saved.  But when we realize that only Christ’s work on our behalf satisfies God’s wrath, then the great exchange takes place. Christ took our sin on the cross, and he gives us his righteousness. (Philippians 3:9, 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Romans 5:1 explains then that since “we have been justified through faith, we have Peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  And not only do we have Peace with God, but we are declared to be his children. (Romans 8, Galatians 4, John 1)  And we are brought into the covenant community who anxiously awaits Christ’s return.  (1 Peter 2:9)  He is ushering in His Kingdom, and we are a part of it.  Until then we are called to shine the light of Christ to the world around us. (Matthew 5:16, Philippians 2:15)  And in the process we are little by little being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) and one day we will transformed with glorified bodies as he is. (Romans 8:17)

The beauty of the Gospel is that it not up to us, but that it is all of God. Jesus says that all that his father sends to him, will come to him, and he will not lose even one of them and he will raise them up on the last day. (John 6)  We will one day receive a new body and live forever, when Christ returns.  Romans 8 says “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”  Since this salvation is all of God, we have nothing to boast about.

All of this is why Ephesians 2 says we have been saved by grace (a free gift) through faith (how grace is received) and this is not of ourselves, but it is a gift of God.  Therefore, how can we boast!  This free gift belongs to all who receive it, by repentant Faith in Christ, in  his finished work on their behalf.

This is Gospel! This is Good News!

This is the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Praise God!

Here is a Sermon explaining more about the Gospel.

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George Sayour
George is Senior Pastor of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lexington, NC. When he's not pastoring or writing, he's fishing, kayaking and spending time with his family.
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