The gospel is an old term that means good news. When the gospel talks about King Jesus it means better news. It means that King Jesus has come and he is actively restoring humanity within his kingdom. To join this Jesus-revolution calls for faith, allegiance. Turning our broken, sinful life to him and becoming something brand new."For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in (gives allegiance to) Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
What Are the Essential Elements of Jesus' Better News?
We all started out good and good with God.
You can look at an old, classic car that has been forgotten and know that there was a former glory. It wasn't always beaten up and rusted out. The beginning of the Bible story reminds us that we started out in a former glory with God. We are made in His image and carry his likeness. God even looked upon us and said "Very good!" (Genesis 1:24-30) But nothing good lasts and God's creation cracked to the core.
We all stand as broken before a perfect God.
Seeing our complete weakness, and our inability to do anything ourselves, God did the ultimate for us. "For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6–8).
Because there was no other way to satisfy the righteous demands of God, because of our inability to improve ourselves (much less save ourselves), because we faced a future in hell because of our sin, God, in His great love, sent His own Son to come down from heaven and to die on the cross in our place.
Paul the Apostle personalized this by saying, "[Christ] loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).
Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father.
God is perfect. Man is imperfect and sinful. The only way God could resolve this serious issue was to send His Son, Jesus, to take our place and to pay the price for our sins.
Why Jesus? Because Jesus, who was both God and man, was uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between sinful humanity and a holy God:
"All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18–19 NIV).
The gospel is not about what you or I did to please or reach God; we did everything to displease Him. The goodnews is about how God reached out to us through Jesus Christ. Quite simply, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father.
- Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
- The apostle Peter echoed Jesus' words: "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
- Paul said the same thing: "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
On that cross, some 2000 years ago, all of the sin of the world was poured upon Jesus Christ as He became the sin sacrifice for us. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The cornerstone of the gospel is Christ's death and resurrection.
Jesus' final words on the cross were "It is finished!" This can be translated several ways.
- "It is made an end of."
- "It is paid."
- "It is performed."
- "It is accomplished."
What was made an end of?
Our sins and the guilt that accompanied them.
What was paid?
The price for a relationship with God.
What was performed?
The righteous requirements of God's commands.
What was accomplished?
The work that God had given Jesus to do.
What was finished?
Satan's stronghold on humanity (see Colossians 2:14–15).
Paul puts the gospel in a nutshell: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (see 1 Corinthians 15:3–4).
Watch out for counterfeits. False gospels usually fall into one of two categories:
The watered-down gospel
- It offers God's forgiveness, telling you that all you must do is believe, without any mention of repentance.
- It presents Jesus Christ as though He were some mere additive to make one's life a little better.
- It tells you about heaven, but leaves out the message of hell.
The rule-laden or overly complex gospel
- It strips the true gospel of its simplicity and power.
- It comes laden with rules and regulations that we must keep to find forgiveness.
- It is so complex that no one can unravel it.
A Simple Summary
The gospel is the message that we are all separated from God because of our sin. The result of this sin is an emptiness, ever-present guilt, and a certain fear of death. Yet, because God loved us, in spite of our rebellion, He sent His own Son to die in our place and to bridge the gap between Him and ourselves. If you would like to talk about the gospel and its place in your life please contact us.