What is the Gospel?
Usually when asked what the gospel is, people answer that it is the “good news of Jesus Christ” and that he “died and was raised for our sins.” While this is true, we want to offer a more robust explanation:
- God is the perfect, holy and just creator of the universe and He created us for His glory.
- It is the function and responsibility of every person to live for the glory of God.
- Yet, out of our stubborn and rebellious hearts, we have failed to glorify God as we ought.
- Because God is perfectly just, He must punish us for our failure to bring Him glory. Therefore, all of us are subject to eternal condemnation by God.
- But because God is also merciful, He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to rescue us sinners by dying in our place on the cross and resurrecting from the dead.
- It is not enough to merely assent that this happened; we must repent and trust in Christ.
But the gospel is larger than that…
When Jesus preached the gospel, He did not merely preach the good news is coming but that the good news had come. The good news was not just something that was going to occur in the future (His death and resurrection), but the good news is that Christ is here.
When we look at history, we see that the Jews were waiting for their king to arrive and break them free from the bondage they were suffering. But when King Jesus arrived and set them free, He did not do so by military conquest, but by being murdered and rising from the dead.
The ends of His actions were even more unexpected and glorious than any imagined: First, the Jews are free now and forever to reign with their king. Second, Jesus is revealed not just as the king of the Jews but the king of all creation.
Therefore, the good news is not for a specific ethnicity to delight in, but for all creation to celebrate. Now, all can experience the joy of seeing their Enthroned King bring the blessings of restoration and renewal.
Simply, the good news is not just what Jesus accomplished but who He is. Jesus is the good news. The King is here and we can re-enter His love and rule.
What Does it Mean to Live in Response to the Gospel?
Jesus came from heaven to earth and engaged culture with the desire to make the Father known. He came to tell the world that the King is here and that we can enjoy His sovereign rule. Those whom the Father allows to respond are born again as God’s children. The response to this reality is a total reorientation of one’s life according to the person of Jesus.
Being saved from your sins was exactly what Jesus meant, but He also meant so much more — a total surrender to His rule and His ways. Jesus taught that under His rule, our life indeed is no longer our own. This is what God assumes and requires to all those who profess to follow Jesus. This understanding and affirmation of the gospel is the backdrop of Christian obedience.
It is important that we understand obedience not as the world does but as Jesus does. It is not a life focused on duty and performance. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s love or achieve salvation. Nobody can boast about earning God’s favor, as it is an undeserved gift. Our works should only be motivated by the love and salvation God has already given us through Jesus. Jesus advocates good works, assuming they are done with the right motivation. When our actions are motivated by the love of God, then our works flow through the gift given to us by God—not as an attempt to earn it. The strength to do works comes from God, and the praise for these works goes to God. When we understand how much Christ loves us, we are enabled to fully partake in the ministry that God has for us.
With this desired motivation, Jesus sends us into this world with the purpose of telling the redemptive story about who God is and what He has done for his creation and how all people can experience relationship with their creator. By worshipping Jesus and making worshippers for Jesus, we fulfill our destinies as God’s creation.
Believing the gospel is, simply, believing that Jesus is King of all creation, and specifically, of your life. Living in response to the reality of the gospel, therefore, is continuously submitting every aspect of your life under the kingly rule of Christ. This reality is the groundwork for what we are hoping to accomplish in our binder.
The Gospel Narrative
GOD – Creator. Holy. Perfect. Just.
CREATION – Man. Image-bearer. Possesses dignity, value, purpose.
SIN – Man rebelled against God.
JUSTICE – Our guilt (sinning against God) deserves punishment (Hell).
MERCY – God demonstrates His love by sending Jesus Christ.
JESUS – Lived a perfect life without sin (something we could not do).
ATONEMENT – Jesus died taking on our sins and absorbing God’s wrath in our place. Sin was wiped out and death was extinguished.
VICTORY – Jesus rose from the dead, victoriously conquering death, restoring righteousness to us and raising up our lives.
ALIVE – Christ is alive and reigning right now as King.
RESPONSE – We must repent from our sins and trust in Christ.
COMMISSION – Jesus has sent us as missionaries to proclaim the gospel.
SANCTIFICATION – Christ is continually changing our affections so that God becomes our source of ultimate joy.