What is the 'Gospel' or 'Good News'?

What Is The Gospel?

What is soon obvious to all people is that we are going to die after a span of life that may be short or long(ish), but we are going to die! And interestingly this death is innate to the human condition. The bible says we inherit death from Adam because Adam sinned. It's something he brought on the whole human race regardless of how we individually live.

Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death was passed on to all men, because all sinned.{in Adam}...

Our lives may be short(ish) but man has a yearning to live forever and it is possible but not by our own efforts. Just in case anyone might think that while Adam blew it they would be able to live a sinless life we have the record of the nation of Israel which lived under this option and no-one came up to the standard of living a perfect life!

So how can we get from this normal human state where we will die, to the state where we will live forever? Someone had to pay the penalty for sin but only a sinless person could do so! If ALL have sinned who can pay the penalty? We're all due to die. Someone who has committed NO sins is required and they have to volunteer to die, agreeing that their death can be used to cover your sins and mine. If they were sinless then by dying for us, ALL humanity could be saved!

Fortunately; Jesus Christ, who was and is God came down to earth as a man, lived a sinless life and voluntarily died for us so that we might live. This offering on the part of our Lord Jesus Christ led to the need for the Gospel message. People had to be told!

Gospel is an old English word which comes from 'good spell' and spell means tidings or news, so 'good tidings' or 'good news'. And the 'good news' being referred to in the bible is very specific.

So what is it?

Is the good news a call for us to change our ways and be better people so God will let us live on? Is it some good advice for us to keep? Is it a call to give up bad habits we may have and to develop good ones? Is that the Gospel?

Notice what Paul says...

1Co 15:1-4 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

From this we can see a few things... The Gospel is not good advice to be kept! It's not a better government. It's not good laws to guide you to live a better life! In fact the law was given to show people the need for the Gospel, as you'll see in a separate article! No, the Gospel is good news to be believed.

You can do or have all those things (better laws, good advice, etc) and not believe the Gospel, and so you will never be saved! No, the 'Good News' is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Good News is that what you required in order to be able to live eternally has been provided by Jesus Christ.

Let's look at some of the different ways the Gospel is referred to in the bible.

The Gospel (There is only one!) is 'The Gospel of God'.
It is not anything that man has made. It's the creation of God. It came out of his love for us. That is why he sent his son to die for us.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God gave his son as a ransom for us, a voluntary sacrifice, so that we believing and trusting in him to be the replacement for us in death, should not perish but go on to everlasting life.

Rom 1:1-6 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

The Gospel is called 'The Gospel of His Son'.
It is the good news about God's son. Jesus did not just talk about the Gospel. He, Jesus is the central theme of the Gospel.

Rom 1:9-12 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-- that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

1 Cor. 1:23,24 "We preach Christ crucified... the power of God, and the wisdom of God"

Paul preached about what Christ had done for us as his primary message, because without believing and accepting this sacrifice we have no hope!

The Gospel is also called 'The Gospel of Jesus Christ'.

Mar 1:1-3 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"

What did Peter preach about in the first sermon after Christ's death and resurrection? Jesus, who is the gospel.

Act 2:32-33 “This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it. Then, raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear.”

He preached Jesus! Jesus has died for our sins, and further he has been raised back up to eternal life. He is the proof of what God will do for us. He has also poured out his Spirit on us to empower us to live lives in keeping with our new eternal hope. To live righteously in other words!

The Gospel is "The Gospel Of The Grace Of God".
We can add nothing to what God does through Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel of Grace. Unmerited pardon granted to us by God on the basis of the death of his son Jesus for us. Grace freely given to us undeserving sinners. Grace which teaches us to say NO to all ungodly things.

Act 20:24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Tit 2:11-13“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, educating us to deny impiety and worldly desires and to live soberly, righteously, and piously in the present age”

Christ died for us and rose from the dead. That's the simple message of the Gospel. Without his death as an atonement for our sins we would have no hope. There's nothing we can add to that sacrifice that will improve our standing before God. Jesus Christ is all.

1Co 15:1-4 (Message bible) “Friends, let me go over the Message with you one final time--this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved. (I'm assuming, now, that your belief was the real thing and not a passing fancy, that you're in this for good and holding fast.) The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says;”

Paul tells us quite simply and clearly, this is the Gospel; - That Jesus died for our sins, exactly as scripture said he would; That he was buried; and that he rose again on the third day, exactly like the scripture said. Simple, straightforward. Can anyone have difficulty in understanding it? Unfortunately, yes!

Mark 16:15,16 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Not all will accept it. To some it's too simple. They want a part for themselves perhaps. They feel that they have to do something tangible! Surely God expects something of them in recompense for giving them eternal life? But if you have to do something tangible for it, is it a gift? If YOU have to do something tangible to be saved, 'who's your savior'?

It's not about us and what we do. Sin has been dealt with totally by Jesus alone and we have to believe and accept what he has done for us. Then sin will no longer be an issue. Believing in Jesus and living after the spirit will become our focus. We will have no consciousness of sin. {See Forgive Us Our Sins}

The Gospel is very simple and it's all about Jesus. But even so some just don't see it! Paul says in (2 Cor. 4:3),

2 cor 4:3 "If our Gospel is hid, it is hidden to those that are lost".

But Jesus came to save the lost. He said -
"The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel!"

Only to that extent do you have to do anything to gain eternal life. You have to believe. Having believed and accepted Jesus Christ as your savior, you'll then embark on a new life. A lifetime of listening to Jesus and following him. But that is your natural follow-up to having already received salvation and eternal life.

1Jn 5:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.



For more on salvation Click Here.
For more on why what we do counts Click Here.
For more on which law for Christians Click Here.
For the list of articles Click Here.