You’ve undoubtedly heard the word “gospel”. If you grew up in church, you might have heard it a lot. There is gospel music. In the Bible there are four gospels. In the 1950s, there was a radio program called “The Gospel Hour”.

But exactly what is the gospel?

The word itself means “good news”. So what is this good news? What is it that makes the gospel good news?

In this article, we’re going to answer the question, “What is the gospel?” In answering the question, we’ll see why the gospel is such good news.

What Is The Gospel? The Gospel Is…

The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news of the gospel can be summarized as the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

The Birth of Jesus

Jesus is the Son of God, never created, always existing. He is infinite in power, the creator and ruler of all things.

And yet Jesus came to earth, born as a frail, fragile human baby. The King of Kings took on our humanity and weakness. He was not born in a palace with servants attending Him. He was born in a stable, most likely surrounded by animals.

Philippians 2:5-7 says:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

Though He was creator and ruler of all things, He took the form of a servant with no reputation. He was fully God and fully man, completely divine and completely human. He demonstrated His divinity again and again by doing incredible, miraculous things. He healed the sick, cast out evil spirits, fed thousands with just a few scraps of food, and even raised the dead.

At the end of the book of John, after spending 21 chapters chronicling all the astounding things Jesus did, John wrote,

“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

The gospel is good news because God came to us. Almost every religion involves doing religious activities in order to work your way to God. In the gospel, we see that God takes the initiative and comes to us. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t do enough good things to get to God. So God takes decisive action and enters into our broken world to rescue us.

The Life of Jesus

Jesus lived His entire life in perfect obedience to God. Unlike every person who came before or after Him, Jesus never once sinned. He obeyed all of God’s laws to the utmost, flawlessly keeping all of God’s commandments. Though He was tempted in every way we are, He never gave into those temptations.

Hebrews 4:15 says,

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Jesus is the only person who is holy enough to stand before God on the basis of His own obedience. We have all sinned against God and disobeyed Him again and again. But not Jesus. In every thought, word, motive, and deed, He was perfect.

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The Death of Jesus

Despite His perfect obedience, Jesus died a horrific death upon a Roman cross. Crucifixion was a mode of execution reserved for the worst of criminals. The Son of God, adored by angels and ruler over all things, died a shameful, excruciating death.

Why did Jesus die? To pay the penalty for our sins. As Jesus hung on the cross, God poured out His wrath Jesus.

Jesus was our substitute. We should have experienced the wrath of God for our sins but Jesus took it for us.

Pastor Adrian Rogers said:

Sin is a moral affront against God; therefore, God is the one who must forgive sin. David said, “Against Thee, and Thee only, have I sinned.” We have a lot of psychological and theological garbage going around today where people say everyone is supposed to be affirmed: “I affirm you. You’re okay—I’m okay.”...We are sinners—by birth, by nature, by choice, by practice. We have morally struck and offended an infinitely holy God. He must punish sin, and we deserve punishment.

Jesus is the Lamb of God. In the Old Testament, the people of Israel would offer up lambs as sacrifices for their sins. The problem is that the blood of animals can’t actually atone for the sins of people. A better, perfect sacrifice was needed, and Jesus was that sacrifice.

Hebrews 10:11-13 puts it this way:

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.

Through His death on the cross, Jesus paid for all our sins. There is no wrath remaining for us, only mercy and grace. When we believe in Jesus Christ, our sins are credited to Him and His perfect righteousness is credited to us. Is there any better news than this?

The Resurrection of Jesus

The penalty for sin is death, both physical and spiritual. Because Jesus fully paid the penalty for all our sins, death no longer could hold Him. Death had no claim over Him because there were no more sins to pay for. And so God raised Jesus from the dead.

Because Jesus has risen from the dead, we can be confident that we too will rise from the dead with Him. Jesus defeated death through His own death and resurrection.

When we die, we will immediately be in His presence. When Jesus comes back to earth, we will all receive new resurrection bodies that are free from the effects of sin. We will experience no more sickness or death or pain or suffering.

In 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 we read:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

Jesus has risen from the dead, and because He is alive we no longer need to fear death. Christ has defeated death, taking away its sting.

As it says in 1 Corinthians 15:54-55:

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

The gospel is the good news that Jesus has overcome death and the grave and invites us to experience eternal life in Him.

The Ascension of Jesus

The final element of the gospel is the ascension of Jesus into heaven. After rising from the dead, Jesus spent 40 days with His disciples, teaching them about the kingdom of God. Then Jesus returned to heaven in a cloud of glory.

Acts 1:9-11 says:

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

This passage reminds of two key truths. The first is that Jesus is in heaven reigning over all things. Nothing happens that is outside of His sovereign rule and reign. He is the King of Kings and salvation is found in Him alone.

The second key truth is that Jesus is going to return in a cloud of glory. When He returns He will create a glorious new heaven and earth that is free from all sin and corruption. Satan will be finally, fully, and decisively defeated and all wickedness will be wiped away.

If we have believed the gospel we can be confident that we will be with Jesus for all eternity.

Do You Believe The Gospel?

The gospel is not just information to be received. In order to experience the glorious benefits of the gospel, you must actively embrace it. You must believe that Jesus lived a sinless life for you and died in your place. You must believe that He rose from the dead and is able to give you the eternal life that He promised.

The good news of the gospel is that you don’t have to do anything to be welcomed and accepted by God. Simply believe in Jesus Christ and receive the free gift of salvation!

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