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  • Ashish Roy

What is the Gospel?

Introduction

The word Gospel means “good news.” As the word was used in ancient times, it didn’t have to describe the message of salvation in Jesus Christ; it could describe any good news. But the best news ever is that we can be saved from the punishment we deserve from God because of what Jesus did for us. In broad terms, the whole of the Bible is the gospel. In a more narrow sense, the gospel is the good news concerning Christ and the way of salvation.




Bad News

Now, if there is good news, then there should be bad news. So the question arises what is the bad news?


In the Old Testament, the law was given to Israelites during the time of Moses (Moses summoned all Israel and said: Hear, Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them.

Deuteronomy 5:1 NIV). But the righteous requirement of the law was so difficult to fulfill that no one could possibly follow it perfectly.


Even though we think of ourselves as good human beings, in reality, we all are in the same spiritual boat. We all have sinned (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 NIV) against an infinite being and we all deserved eternal punishment for that, i.e, separation from God, the source of life.

In order for us to go to heaven, our sin must be removed completely or paid for. The law established the fact that cleansing from sin can only happen through the blood sacrifice of innocent life, without it there is no forgiveness (In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 NIV).


So, the bad news was that we all have sinned and were in complete rebellion against God. Humanity is in desperate need of a savior, in need of a place where they could see their depravity of sin.


What the law does is that it exposes our sins but there was no way in it to remove them completely.


Let’s put it this way; suppose your appendix bursts, so the doctor will cut you open remove it, and stitch your wound. In the same, the law cuts us open and exposes our sin but the gospel removes it and heals our wounds.


“By the Law, we see our misery. And by the Gospel, we see our remedy." ~ Edmund Calamy

Good News

As we have looked at what the bad news is, now we need to look at what the good news is.


A good description of the Gospel is found in the letter by Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV)


First, it received from divine revelation, i.e., it came from God Himself.

Second, it is of the first importance.


Also, in the Synoptic Gospels, we can see that Jesus was also preaching the gospel. Mark 1:5, Matthew 3:2, 4:17, Luke 4:43


The question that comes to mind is, “what gospel did Jesus was preaching?” He did not die yet, and neither hung on the cross for the sins of mankind, rose from the dead?


What Jesus was preaching here was the Gospel of the Kingdom. And what was that?

Jesus was preaching that the prophecies which were prophesied in the Old Testament about Him that a savior will come and save the people are now fulfilled and that savior is now in their midst. But Israel was waiting for some Messiah who would free them from the oppression of the Roman authority. They were waiting for some military leader or something but Jesus was here to save them and free them from their sins and reconcile them with the Father.


Does that mean the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles were at crossroads with each other?


Jesus was among the Israelites who knew about the Law and the prophecies. That’s why He was preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.


While on the other hand, the Apostles when started preaching to the other parts (outside of the Israel community). Those people did not know about the Law or the prophecies, so to them, they were preaching “The Person and Works of Christ.” How Jesus was born of a virgin, God incarnate came into this world, lived a sinless life, did many miracles, died on the cross, took the sins of the world on Himself, and rose from the dead on the third day, made us righteous in the presence of God; so when God sees us He sees Christ and His righteousness imputed to us through grace through faith alone, He made us sinless in the sight of God. Now whoever repents and believes in Him will be saved.


That’s the message the Apostles were teaching and all the missionaries, evangelists, and Christians preach around the world.


First, they (the apostles) tell them about the person and work of Christ and after that, they teach them about the Law and the prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled those.


It is the only gospel that has the power of God that can bring salvation. (For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

Romans 1:16 NIV).


The Holy Spirit touches the hearts of the people and brings them to repentance but only through the Gospel because it is the only thing that can bring salvation.


Our testimonies or experience is not the gospel. It can be pre-evangelism but it cannot save anyone.


“Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” not the gospel. Though it is true if used in the right context. And why I’m saying this is because if you go say this sentence to this generation, their answer will be like, “What really!! Even I love myself and planned my life in a much better way.” Problem is that people are so lost in their sins and puffed up in their pride, that they are in no need of a savior. But the Gospel has the power to convict them of their sins and bring them to repentance and shows them the need for a savior.


Signs and wonders are all fascinating but they cannot save anyone either. The purpose of the Jesus and Apostles' miracles was to affirm that they are sent from God and their message is from God. Miracles do happen today but making signs, and wonders the foundation of our faith is a real problem because it will be a faith that will be taken down with one single wind of hardship.


Conclusion

“The Gospel is this: we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we even dared to believe, yet at the same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dare hope.”

It is a message of hope. What the Gospel offers us is hope, peace, and forgiveness through the Person and Work of Christ. The Real Gospel is not offering what many people are preaching today, which is the prosperity gospel (health, wealth, and happiness).


You will suffer because suffering is inevitable in this fallen world and following Christ is not easy, it will cost you everything but there’s a promise that even amid the storm you’ll have peace, a peace that transcends all understanding.


What will you choose, suffer the affliction with the people of God or a short span of pleasure in sin?


Choose Christ and there will be peace, joy, hope, and forgiveness in abundance.


Today is the day of salvation “Repent and believe.”

It is the good news that God loves the world enough to give His only son to die for our sin. The gospel is good news because our salvation and eternal life and home in heaven are guaranteed through Christ. Only for those who Repent and Believe.


To reject the Gospel is to embrace the bad news. Condemnation before God is the result of a lack of faith in the Son of God, God’s only provision for salvation.


Jesus had done everything on the cross. He took our place on that cross and atoned for every sin we have ever committed. The work of redemption is completed and we are justified in the sight of God through Jesus but only if we wholeheartedly believe in Him and repent of our sins.


God has given a doomed world good news: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.



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