When we talk about the Gospel, I like to use Greg Gilbert’s little book called What is the Gospel? to help us understand a simple way to look at this question. Let us understand the biblical definition of the Gospel because it will help us to construct the framework of what it means to be a Christian and to compare our worldview with any other religion.  In Greg Gilbert’s book, he notes “Now that we have looked at Paul’s argument in Romans 1-4, we can see that at the heart of the proclamation of the gospel are the answers to four crucial questions:

1.  Who made us and to whom are we accountable?

2.  What is our problem?….

3.  What is God’s solution to the problem?….

4.  How do I – Myself, right here, right now – how do I come to be included in that salvation?….

We might summarize these four major points like this:  God, man, Christ, and response.”  There is no doubt that salvation provides justification, the legal declaration of our right standing before God, and then the process of sanctification begins at that point which is what flows out of our being made new in Christ. We will talk more about those in another article.

Let’s answer the 4 questions above.

  1. Who made us and to whom are we accountable?
    • The Bible tells us that God made mankind in His image.
      1. Genesis 1:26-27 – 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
    • God gave us laws to live by.
      1. In Genesis 2:15-17 we see that God gave laws to Adam in the Garden… 15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to [e]tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
      2. In Exodus 20 we find the 10 Commandments written by the hand of God given to Moses on Mt Sinai. While God had been in direct communication with a number of people up to this time in history telling them what was right and wrong, these Commandments form the foundation of the moral law given by God to mankind.
  2. What is our problem?
    • We are sinners who have broken God’s laws.
    • The Bible records the historical fall of Adam and Eve into sin when they disobeyed God’s instruction to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
      1. Genesis 3:6-7 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
    • Since this time the Bible tells us that everyone is a sinner
      1. Romans 5:12 …Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…
      2. Romans 3:23 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    • Because of this our punishment is eternal separation in torment from a perfect and holy God.
      1. Romans 6:23a …for the wages of sin is death…
      2. Revelation 21:8 … But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
  3. What is God’s solution to the problem?
    • God sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins. This plan was in place from the beginning. Nothing takes God by surprise.
      1. Garden of Eden, Seed of the Woman – Genesis 3:14-15. The Messiah (seed of the woman) would crush Satan’s (the Serpent) head.

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

2. Lamb of God – Isaiah 53:5-7 The promised Messiah would bear our sins and die for us.

5But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth

3. …Gift of God – Jesus came and died for our sins.

  • Romans 6:23b…but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • Salvation is by grace alone through faith (trust) alone in Christ alone

4. How do I – Myself, right here, right now – how do I come to be included in that salvation?

  • Romans 10:9-13 …that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

To be saved, we must realize we are a sinner before a Holy God that demands perfection. We have broken His laws and have no means of salvation on our own. But God loved (past, present and future) us and sent His Son, Jesus Christ to stand in our place and take our punishment in payment for our sins. He died on the cross and it is through His shed blood on the cross that we can find forgiveness and the penalty for our sins is paid. We then must trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation. Romans 9:13 says ….for whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. We use the words believe, faith, and trust to all mean the same thing here.

This is Good News!! We have hope! We are not doomed to an eternity in Hell under God’s wrath. His love is beyond our understanding. Trust Him today!

When you put your faith in Christ, you will spend eternity with Him. He promises in John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so, [b]I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

In case there is any doubt about what the Gospel is, Paul defines it in short for us again in I Corinthians 15:1-4 …1Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…

Where do you stand today? Have you realized that you are a sinner who has broken God’s laws? Have you repented of your sins and put your trust in Christ as your only hope of salvation? You can do nothing to earn your salvation. Turn to Christ today!

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What is the Gospel? Is it Good News?

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