What is the Meaning of the Gospel?
The term gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion meaning “good news,” and the verb euangelizo meaning “to bring or announce good news.” The term is used extensively in the New Testament to refer to the glorious news of salvation and victory over sin and death that God offers to all people as a gift to be received. In its widest sense, the Gospel is the sum of all that God has revealed to lost humanity in His Word, the Bible, to bring sinners into a right relationship with Himself.
The Central Theme of the Gospel
The following words of the apostle Paul clearly show that the central theme of the gospel is centered in the person of Jesus Christ:
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, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.1 CORINTHIANS 15:3-8
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament scriptures several hundred years before Christ came (cf. Psalm 16:10; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53:8-10). In fact, over 300 Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ were fulfilled. There was a divine purpose in His coming; his death was not a tragedy, but a triumph. The fact that He was buried verified His death. The empty tomb attested to His resurrection in addition to over 500 witnesses who saw him alive.
The Essential Truth of the Gospel
The Bible plainly declares that sin is inherent in every individual because of the fall (Romans 3:10-12, 23; Romans 5:12). It is sin that separates us from God who is holy and condemns us to eternal judgment. The good news is that God has provided a way of salvation for all people through the gift of His Son to the world (John 3:16). Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, voluntarily submitted himself to death by crucifixion to be our Substitute, Sin-bearer, and Saviour.
Christ’s suffering for sin satisfied God’s justice and His resurrection proved it to be so (1 Peter 3:18). On this righteous basis, God can freely offer forgiveness and justification for any sinner who accepts it as a gift on the basis of faith, not something that must be earned by penance, self-improvement or any other human effort (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5).
Does the Gospel Require a Response?
Yes! Those who respond to God’s love and grace, and believe the Gospel receive the promise of eternal life as a present possession (John 3:16). They are no longer under sin’s condemnation and are indwelt (sealed) by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22). They receive the forgiveness of sins (Ephesians 1:7), the enjoyment of all spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), and a prepared place in heaven (John 14:2-3)
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.PROVERBS 27:1
On the other hand, procrastination, indifference, or outright rejection of the Gospel is also a response (1 John 5:10). Because preparation for meeting God is made in this life only, every moment lived without accepting Christ as Saviour places the individual in a precarious and vulnerable position. A missed opportunity could be one’s last because no one has a guarantee in life .
Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation.2 Corinthians 6:2
What is Your Response to the Gospel?
God’s free gift of salvation can only be received on the basis of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
Repentance involves a simple acknowledgment that you are a sinner by nature and practice deserving of eternal judgment, genuine sorrow for offending God, and a sincere desire for forgiveness.
With such a spirit of repentance, a simple acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior will bring the assurance of forgiveness and peace with God based on God’s Word (Romans 5:1, Romans 10:8-9). This is called being saved or born again (John 3:3, Romans 10:13).
Has this been your experience?
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”“Contributing makes me feel like I’m being useful to the planet.”JOHN 3:36