I have noticed more and more the word ‘Gospel’ being substituted for other words and concepts, or attached to individuals pet causes to try and give them some kind of authoritative weightiness. Phrases like “let’s BE the gospel to people” or “let’s live out the gospel”. The gospel is not an action we take. Its not something we do. It’s not doing social justice for the oppressed. If you are not a Christian, or if you are new to the world of church and Christian religion, you may not have a clear handle on what exactly the gospel truly is. I would even go so far as to say that many who aren’t new to Christianity have had their concept and definition of the gospel skewed. That being the case, I believed it worth while to write a post explaining the biblical definition of The Gospel.
I think the best place to start is the beginning. Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” God is the creator of everything we see, and everything that is unseen. And as creator, He has authority over His creation. He sets the rules and boundaries. Admittedly, this isn’t the best example, but imagine the creator of a board game. As the creator of the game, not only do they set the objective of the game, and design its pieces, but they also establish the rules, right? As the game’s creator, they have the authority to say what is within the rules, and what is not. It is the same with God and His creation. In the garden, He told Adam and Eve that they could eat from any tree, with the exception of one. They disobeyed, and mankind fell, which means that all who came after were born with a sin nature. As the saying goes, we aren’t sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.
Further into human history, God gave His Law to Israel. Some of it was moral law, and some of it was ceremonial. The Law was given to show people that they are sinners. It is a veritable measuring stick that shows us that any deviation from the Law is falling short of perfect holiness, which God has and requires. Not only did He give the Law, but the bible tells us that He wrote it on our hearts. Hebrews 10:15-16 “The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First He says:”This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put My Laws in their hearts and inscribe them on their minds.” What that means, is that every human being born has a conscience that testifies to them whether they are doing right or wrong. “For when Gentiles* who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them,” Romans 2:14-15 *Gentiles are any people who are not Jews
The Law also explained that the shedding of blood was required for sin. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'”
Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. All of this is bad news. God is perfectly Holy and as creator He is in charge and His creation answers to Him. We are all sinners who fall short of His perfect holiness. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and the shedding of blood is required for sin. Furthermore, only the shedding of the blood of someone who lived a sinless life would be acceptable to cover our sin, and none of us are sinless. This is bad news. At this point, everyone is justly doomed to eternity outside of God’s presence.
Now we get to the Gospel. The word gospel simply means ‘good news’. You have to understand the bad news of the fix you are in as a sinner, explained above, to be able to understand the good news of the gospel.
The good news is this: God sent His son Jesus, who is fully God and fully human (Philippians 2:5-8), to live a perfect life under the Law, fulfilling the law (Matt. 5:17) and to die, willingly (John 10:17-18), on the cross a sinners death(Romans 4:25; 5:8; 1 Peter 3:18). Jesus rose on the third day from death, demonstrating His power over death as the giver and creator of life. (1 Corinthians 15:4) All who believe in Him, that He was fully God and fully man, living a sinless life and dying on the cross a sinners death, even though He had no sin in Him, will be given eternal life and forgiveness of sins.(John 14:6; Romans 10:9; John 3;15)
How is this possible, you might ask? Since Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life, under the Law, and died a sinners death, His blood is sufficient to cover sins. And when a person believes on Him, recognizing themselves as sinners and unable to save themselves, and confesses and repents (turns from) of their sin, He credits His righteousness to their account. That is known as imputation of righteousness. In exchange, their sin is attributed to Him, which He paid for on the cross, with the shedding of His innocent blood. And that blood covers their sin. When that person stands before God, God will see them as perfectly righteous; He will see Christ’s righteousness as if it were their own. Their sin will have been taken care of at the cross so they will not be required to bear it for all eternity in the lake of fire, which they would have had to do since nothing can satisfy God’s wrath other than the perfectly innocent blood shed by His Son. That’s the gift. That’s the good news! May today be the day of your salvation!
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Soli Deo Gloria!