Home > Doctrine, Theology > What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

It is only through Jesus Christ that sinners can know and live for God. This truth, called the gospel, is the “good news” about who Jesus is and what he has done.  It includes his deity, incarnation, life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension into heaven, present rule as King of kings and Lord of lords and his future return to establish God’s Kingdom on earth.

Image via katieyunholmes.blogspot.com

Image via katieyunholmes.blogspot.com

God: Supremely Worthy

The Bible teaches that God is the supreme being of the universe. (Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 42:8; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 48:11; Romans 11:36) Creation declares the magnitude of his worth, the heavens display the beauty of his excellence and he alone deserves the entirety of our lives. (Psalm 8:1-4; Psalm 19:1; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 10:31) In love, this God created us to live in unhindered relationship with him and with one another as we enjoy his glory together. (Genesis 1-2; Isaiah 43:7; Isaiah 43:21)

Man: Ill-Deserving

We, however, like our first parents Adam and Eve, have refused to give God the glory that he alone deserves. We have rejected him, disobeyed his commands and turned to worship created things rather than God our Creator. (Romans 1:18-25; Romans 3:9-10, 23) We have broken friendship with God by turning away from him in sin earning his just condemnation in the eternal, conscious torments of a very real hell. (Romans 6:23a; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10)

There is absolutely nothing that we can do to earn God’s forgiveness or acceptance. No good work will get us to heaven; no amount of personal effort will bring us back into loving friendship with God. (Romans 3:20; Galatians 3:11) We are powerless to overcome sin and its effects on our own. (John 8:34; Romans 7:7-25)

Jesus: All Sufficient

God, in his loving-kindness, has, however, chosen to glorify his name by saving sinners through his Son, Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-14) He demonstrates his love for us by sending Jesus to the cross while we “were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9-10) God didn’t wait for us to get our life together, to earn his approval or to prove our worth through our good deeds. He sent Jesus to remove our sin and bring us back to him through his death and resurrection. When we were at our worst, God gave us his best.

In other words, God sent Jesus to live as our example, (Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 2:21; Hebrews 12:1-3) to die on the cross as our substitute (Romans 4:25; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 3:18) and to rise from the dead as our Lord,¹ freeing those who believe from Satan, sin, hell and death and redirecting our worship back to God. (Luke 24:1-12; 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Romans 5:9; Romans 8:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Hebrews 2:14; 1 John 3:8) The good news, then, is that ill-deserving sinners can receive forgiveness of sins and be brought back into loving relationship with God by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:11-21; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 4:9)

We are not saved by our good works, but by Jesus’ finished work. We can know, enjoy and live for God not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus has done for us. Our acceptance before God is eternally secured when we turn from sin and self-reliance to believe in and depend on Jesus alone for salvation. (Romans 3:23-25; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:1-7)

Lord of All

The gospel, then is the good news that Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and earth.  He used his authority entirely for the benefit of ill-deserving sinners by sacrificing himself in our place on the cross.  He then rose from the dead victorious over sin and death so that those who believe can freely worship in submission to and reverence for Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  We live for him because he died for us.  (2 Corinthians 5:14-15) This news, as the Apostle Paul says, is of first importance. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) If you truly want to live for God you must come to terms with the gospel. It must determine who you are and how you live.

¹Paraphrased from “The Radical Reformission: Reaching Out Without Selling Out” by Mark Driscoll.

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