Introduction

The Gospel is the Good News that Jesus came, lived, suffered, died, and was raised from the dead, in the place of sinners, so that sinners could be reconciled to God.

Perhaps you’ve done enough exploring to understand what that statement means, but maybe you haven’t.  Maybe that “simple” statement comes with many questions; Questions like “Who is Jesus?”  “Who is God?” “Who are sinners?”  “Why do they need to be reconciled to God?”  Below is a more detailed definition of The Gospel.

There is such a thing as truth and God, the creator and sustainer of all things, is its author.  His greatest truth is the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus Christ.  This gospel is an ageless anchor for hope that is always good and true behind everything else that is false and hurtful.  It is the good news of what God has done for his people through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of his only son, Jesus Christ.  In the gospel alone is found the elusive peace and happiness we all hunger for.

Reference Verses:

Psalm 26:3

Psalm 43:3

Isaiah 45:19

John 8:31-32

John 14:6

John 17:17

Acts 5:42

Acts 13:32-33

Acts 17:18

Hebrews 6:19-20

 The Bad News

This is the bad news – that we are sinful and have turned our back on the King; therefore, we are deserving of God’s justice and punishment, and we will receive, one day, the alienation from God that we have pursued.  Our lifetime of disobedience and rebellion will be rightfully rewarded with eternal damnation in hell.

But thankfully, there is more to this story…

Reference Verses:

Job 27:8-10

Proverbs 17:15

Isaiah 53:6

Isaiah 66:6

Jeremiah 17:10

Matthew 25:46

Romans 6:23

The Good News

Tim Keller has said that “we are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope.”  Though it is impossible for us to wash away our own sins or change our own hearts, or work our way to heaven, God is merciful and has decided to extend grace, which is the giving of good, undeserved gifts.

While we have disobeyed the King and rightfully deserve punishment, the good news is that God has been merciful and has sent his son, Jesus Christ, to live and die in our place.  He has lived a perfect life, died our death, suffered our punishment, and was resurrected so that we could be reborn.

Jesus was God but he was also a man.  He came and lived a perfectly righteous life.  He was always loving, always just, and always honoring to God.  Jesus had no sin to warrant punishment.  Yet, to glorify God, and out of love for us, Jesus Christ willingly died a horrible death on the cross so that his death could be instead of our death.  He was our substitute, taking all of our sin upon himself and suffering the wrath of God that we deserve.

After Jesus was murdered he was then buried in a tomb, and on the third day he rose from the dead.  He not only died and suffered in our place, but he conquered sin and death and had victory so that we could also rise from the dead of our sin.  Jesus then ascended to heaven and now sits as king over the earth, where he calls mankind to put their faith in Him.

Reference Verses:

Nehemiah 9:19

Proverbs 20:9

Ezekiel 11:19

Romans 9:14-16

Ephesians 2:4

Romans 5:8

2 Corinthians 5:14-15

1 John 2:2

Psalm 103:10-13

Mark 1:11

Luke 23:40-41

2 Corinthians 5:21

Hebrews 2:14-18

Hebrews 4:15

1 John 4:10

Matthew 11:28-30

Mark 16:9

Ephesians 2:4-7

2 Corinthians 5:17

 Who Will You Trust?

The promise of the gospel is that whoever believes this good news and places their faith (hope and trust) in Jesus will have eternal life that starts now (life with real joy, with real meaning, and with real love).  There is nothing we can do to earn this salvation – it is a free gift of God that must be humbly received.

Turn now from your sin and its deceitful promises.  Call upon Jesus to save you from your guilt, punishment, and bondage.  Start believing what Jesus has done for you.  Break the power of sin’s promises to kill and destroy by believing and trusting in the satisfying promises of God.  Begin reading the Bible to discover his truth which will set you free.  Find a Bible preaching church and begin to worship and grow with other people who treasure Jesus above all things.

 

Reference Verses:

John 3:16

Romans 10:13

Ephesians 2:8-9

Philippians 3:7

Titus 3:5

2 Peter 1:3-4

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

Saint AgustineMade for God

Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.

C.H. SpurgeonAvoid a Sugared Gospel

We are not reconciled to God through our efforts and record, as in all other religions, but through his efforts and record. Christians who trust in Christ for their acceptance with God, rather than in their own moral character, commitment, or performance, are simul iustus et peccator - simultaneously sinful yet accepted. We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time.

Timothy KellerHow are we reconciled?

For Further Study

Here are some more helps in understanding the gospel.  Read through them, but most importantly, make sure to read through the foundational Biblical texts.

“Two Ways to Live” has proven to be one of the simplest and most effective forms for communicating the Gospel.  You can also download the app for a mobile device.

R.C. Sproul’s “Ligonier” ministry has a short and helpful definition of the Gospel.

John Piper communicates the Gospel in six truths called a “Quest for Joy.”

9 Marks has proposed, in both book and pamphlet, a simple way of communicating the gospel using four key headings – “God,” “Man,” “Christ,” and “Response.”

Greg Gilbert has elaborated on these headings in a book also available in our bookstore, entitled “What is the Gospel?”

Desiring God Ministries has a small pamphlet intended to assist parents, called “Helping Children Understand the Gospel.”  This resource is also available in our church bookstore.