What is the Gospel?
The Bible leaves us in no doubt about what the Gospel is: one of the clearest descriptions is in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” We are also told that the Gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
The gospel is “the good, glad and merry tidings which make the heart to sing and the feet to dance”. This is how the great Christian preacher William Tyndale described it, and that’s how GNU sees God’s greatest revelation to the world.
When sin entered the world through disobedience, God could not change the law or its penalty. “Your sins have caused a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). But God could—and did—take the punishment himself, so that we might not be judged guilty: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
News describes something that has already happened. The Good News of the Gospel tells us about what God has done for us in Jesus Christ.
It is the free offer of forgiveness, acceptance and eternal life. The heart of the Gospel is that only through Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross can we escape our guilt.
When we accept his sacrifice by faith, we are perfect in God’s sight, and we have the gift of eternal life. “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NIV). No wonder we want to sing and dance for joy!
We undermine the Gospel by thinking that anything we do can save us or make God love us more. The Bible describes how people who have accepted salvation will want to act, but this is always in the context that once we have been saved and give ourselves over to God’s leading, the Holy Spirit will produce good works in our lives, in his own time and in his own way.
The foundation of the Gospel is God’s love for a lost and broken world. When we understand and experience that love, we will love God, and others more, as we have been loved.
Paul writes, “I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love, and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself…” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
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