The Gospel

 

Described

 

The Gospel is the proclamation of God’s salvation through Jesus Christ to totally undeserving humans. This salvation involves being freed from eternal condemnation, sin, spiritual death, physical death and Satan, being given many other wonderful privileges from God through Christ and receiving a new King and Saviour.

The Gospel is Jesus Christ and what He has victoriously achieved for sinful humans He loves.

 

The Gospel is good news

 

One of the most crucial things needed in modern Pentecostal, Charismatic and Evangelical churches is a clearer understanding of what the New Testament expression “the Gospel” means. It is staggering to talk to many churchgoers to find how many of them have only a very limited understanding of what it means.

The Gospel of God is good news that is brought or told to us about God and Jesus Christ.

In ancient Greek, the word “gospel” is “euangelion” which was the message of victory which the messengers of armies would deliver to their nation after the army had won a battle against the enemy. “Euangelion” also referred to prophetic promises of some future events and messages about Roman Emperors. [1] The birth, enthronement, speeches, decrees and acts of Roman Emperors were supposed to be good news which would bring long hoped for fulfilment of people’s desires of happiness and peace. [2]

The Gospel of God is the wonderful news about God, Jesus Christ – the Supreme Ruler of all humans, His wonderful victory over sin and Satan and His obtaining of unbelievable eternal blessings for those who receive Him.

 

The Gospel relates to salvation

 

The Gospel also has to do with salvation. Ephesians 1:13 calls it “the gospel of your salvation”. Romans 1:16 says a similar thing: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” Salvation refers to being saved by God from the rule of Satan, original sin, actual sins, the flesh and from eternal punishment in hell.

2 Timothy 1:10 shows God’s marvellous Gospel has provided believers with eternal life and future immortal bodies: “but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

 

It is based totally on undeserved grace

 

The Gospel has to do with God’s grace. Acts 20:24 calls it “the gospel of the grace of God”. God’s grace refers to His kindnesses or favours or benefits He gives to humans as free gifts. Such kindnesses cannot be deserved or earned by good behaviour, good attitudes, participation in religious ceremonies or through any other means.

 

It is related to Jesus’ death, resurrection and work in us

 

The Gospel is linked totally to Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and His resulting work in and through believers. This is why Mark 1:1, Romans 15:19, 15:29, 1 Corinthians 9:12, 9:18 and other New Testament verses call it “the gospel of Jesus Christ” or “the gospel of Christ.” In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Paul concentrates on Jesus’ death and resurrection when explaining what the Gospel is.

 

Jesus is the Gospel in one sense

 

In one real sense, Jesus Christ is the Gospel Himself. This is because Jesus Christ is God’s good news to the whole human race. All the answers about this life and the next are to found in Him. Also, all solutions to all humans’ enormous problems with sin, Satan and eternal punishment are found in Jesus Christ. The New Testament expressions “the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and “the Gospel of Christ” mean Jesus is:

 

         the Originator of the Gospel.

         the Messenger God sent to reveal the Gospel.

         the One Who won the victory the Gospel proclaims.

         and the Gospel Himself.

 

But note Mark 8:35 shows the Gospel cannot be regarded as Jesus alone. Christ and the Gospel are spoken of as being different here.

In John 12:46-50, Jesus said: “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.”

In John 12:46-50 quoted above, Christ refers to His Word as the Father’s command linked to everlasting life. The Word which Jesus preached is what the Father spoke and is a command to humans. People are commanded to receive the Word of Jesus Christ which can also be called the Gospel and to believe in Him. This Word or Gospel is eternal life in the sense that the Word or Gospel reveals Christ Who is eternal life (see John 11:25, 14:6 and 1 John 5:12). In John 6:63, Jesus said: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

In 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, Paul warned strongly of receiving a false different Christ and a different gospel: “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted you may well put up with it.” Paul here reveals that if we accept a false Jesus Christ and a false Gospel, we will be deceived as seriously as Eve was at the Fall of the human race.

In Romans 1:1-4, Paul said the Gospel of God was promised in the Scriptures and related to the true Jesus Christ: “…the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.”

The Gospel promised in the Scriptures relates to the Jesus Christ Who is revealed in the various verses of Scripture interpreted in agreement with each other. It is crucial we have faith in the true Jesus Christ revealed in the written Word and not in man-made religious imitations. We must experience a commencing of a relationship with Jesus Christ. But this experience must be based on the Christ revealed in His written Word. Otherwise it will be a false cultic Christ who saves no-one.

 

We must preach the right Gospel and not false imitations

 

In the present relativistic age, few Westerners believe in absolute truth. This pagan attitude has gotten into parts of the Church. As a result, many churchgoers wrongly have adopted the careless compromising philosophy, “It does not matter which Christ you experience as long as you have a spiritual experience”. How contrary such people are to Paul – an apostle full of God’s true revelation, the Holy Spirit and His power. As stated earlier, in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 Paul rebuked the Corinthians for receiving and experiencing a false Christ and a false Gospel.

We do not follow a Muslim version of Jesus Christ, a Hindu Christ, a Bahai’ Christ, a Buddhist Christ, a spiritualist Christ, a New Age Christ, a liberal Christ, a Mormon Christ or a Christ of other cults throughout history.

 

The main wonderful benefits

 

The main marvellous benefits of the Gospel include:

 

         conversion to God through Jesus Christ.

         justification which in itself includes forgiveness of sin, pardon and being declared by God to be perfectly righteous in Christ and no longer eternally condemned.

         adoption by God as His children – Him becoming our Father.

         a perfect legal standing in Christ involving many privileges.

         reconciliation to God.

         identification with Christ.

         union with Christ.

         becoming new creations in Christ – having the righteous, holy divine nature imparted to us in Christ.

         authority in Christ over Satan and all demons.

         obtaining a wonderful inheritance in Christ.

         holiness.

         becoming God’s possession.

         becoming God’s temple.

         being sealed by the Holy Spirit.

         receiving Jesus as Lord.

         receiving freedom in Christ from guilt, the eternal spiritual death sentence imposed by God’s justice, the power of sin, Satan and conformity to the unbelieving world.

         becoming God’s slave or servant.

         total acceptance in Christ.

         God promising to never abandon or reject us.

         being renewed in the image of Jesus Christ.

         being created in Christ Jesus for good works that are acceptable to God.

         receiving the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

         beginning to participate in God’s love.

         God working everything for our good – even troubles and problems.

         being given the opportunity of being filled with the Holy Spirit.

         being able to know Jesus Christ intimately.

         commencing to abide in Christ.

         receiving Jesus Christ’s ability to resist every temptation to sin.

         receiving Jesus’ ability to do His will each day.

         being able to glorify God in our daily living.

         being able to live in the world but not of the world.

         commencing to be free of slavery to people-pleasing.

         becoming God’s disciple.

         being disciplined by our loving Heavenly Father for our good.

         having God overseeing our lives.

         healing.

         deliverance from demons.

         glorification in Christ after our physical death.

         the resurrection of our physical bodies.

         going to heaven – living in God’s Presence forever and being free from all evil, troubles and problems and being perfectly joyful and peaceful for eternity.

 

There are other things that can be added to the above list. But there are enough here above to involve a whole lifetime of Biblical meditation.

 

The Gospel is bad news for many

 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is only good news for those who receive Him as Lord and Saviour. The Gospel is bad news for those who reject Him. Romans 2:16 shows the Gospel proclaims God’s future judgement also: “In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

Mark 16:15-16 reveals the good and bad news of the Gospel: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’”

 

The Gospel is accompanied by God’s power

 

The Gospel is also charged with God’s power (see Romans 1:16). Whenever it is preached or personally shared, it is accompanied by the infinite power of God the Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 says: “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance…” Jesus Christ speaks by His Spirit through the preaching of His Gospel.

 

It must be revealed by God

 

This wonderful Gospel of Christ must be revealed by God. By His Spirit, God reveals the Gospel through believers’ personal witnessing or preaching (see Romans 10:14-17) or on rare occasions solely through His direct supernatural intervention (see Galatians 1:11-12).

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 shows Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the Gospel. Also, sin deceives and hardens human hearts against God (see Hebrews 3:12-13 and Ephesians 4:17-19). Therefore, this is why it is so essential Jesus Christ by His Spirit ministers to unbelievers when we share the Gospel with them (see 1 Thessalonians 1:5 and 1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

 

It involves accepting a new King

 

The Gospel is called by some New Testament writers “the Gospel of the Kingdom” (see Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14, Luke 4:43, 8:1 and Acts 8:12). The expression “Gospel of the Kingdom” relates to the fact a person can only truly be regarded as accepting the Gospel if they receive Jesus as the new King of their lives. This does not mean at the point of initially accepting the Gospel, the person will become perfect in character and actions like Jesus was. But it does mean the person will turn in their hearts from their known sins and from having self and not Jesus as their King. [3]

The key point to note is we cannot accept the Gospel of the Kingdom without receiving a new King.

 

Paul used relevant evangelistic methods but never amended the Gospel

 

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 shows Paul adapted himself to different sorts of people when preaching the Gospel to them. But note it is very sinful to use these verses to suggest Paul amended or deleted certain elements from the Gospel when preaching to various people.

Paul used relevant different methods when preaching to different people but never changed or deleted any key aspect of the Gospel in order to try to appeal to more of his listeners. We see this in the fact Paul always preached about Jesus the Messiah being crucified even though such a message was totally contrary to Roman and Greek political thought, the popular pagan religions and Jewish religious ideas at the time.

Romans and Greeks believed it was only the scum of society who would be crucified. Also the whole idea of a crucified God and Saviour was foolish or laughable in terms of all the Roman and Greek intellectual philosophies popular in the Roman Empire at the time. This is partly what is meant by the expression “the offense of the cross” found in Galatians 5:11. The idea of a crucified God was offensive to all contemporary political, educated and religious thought.

The idea of a crucified Saviour was offensive to Jews as well. They viewed anyone dying on a cross as being cursed by God. Deuteronomy 21:23 supported their belief. Paul refers to this verse in Galatians 3:13. He preached the offense of the cross to Jews even though it was contrary to contemporary Jewish religious thought.

Note 1 Corinthians 2:2 records Paul preached this non-contemporary Gospel to both the Greeks and Jews at Corinth: “For I am determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

Many people-pleasing compromising churchgoers want to share a diluted form of the Gospel which offends no one. Such people ignore the fact Romans 9:33 and 1 Peter 2:8 show Jesus Christ will be offensive to all who do not wish to believe in Him.

 

 

Bible Study Questions

 

  1. In ancient Greek, what did the word “gospel” mean?
  2. What does the phrase “the gospel of the grace of God” in Acts 20:24 mean?
  3. Why is Jesus Christ the Gospel in one sense?
  4. What does 2 Corinthians 11:2-4 warn us of? What practical relevance does this warning have today?
  5. What are the main wonderful benefits of the Gospel?
  6. For whom is the Gospel bad news?
  7. Through what means does God reveal His Gospel to the unsaved?
  8. Why is “the Gospel” called “the Gospel of the Kingdom” in the New Testament?
  9. Why is it wrong to amend the Gospel or preach a diluted form of it which offends no-one?


 


[1] Colin Brown (General Editor), “New Testament Theology”, Volume 2, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986, page 108.

[2] Ibid.

[3] This crucial matter is dealt with more fully in the lessons “Different gospels-easy Believism”, “Conversion”, “Faith” and “The freedom of repentance”.

 

 


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