What is the Gospel?
By Andy Parker
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you- unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,"
What is the gospel? The gospel simply means “good news.” The question that then presents itself is, “what is news?” News is the telling of an event. Christ Jesus died, was buried, and was raised the third day. This is a fact, it happened at a specific time in a specific place – this is the news that was reported. What makes this news “good” and worthy to be proclaimed throughout the ages is the meaning behind the events that actually happened.
In the beginning God created everything good. Man was created in the image of God and was obligated to obey everything that God had spoken. Adam (who was to represent mankind) disobeyed God who is infinitely perfect, holy, just, good, wise, loving, and merciful. Any sin (disobedience in nature, attitude, or action) against a just and infinite God must be punished infinitely. Because man sinned, he must pay the penalty for sin. However, God who is also rich in mercy promised our first parents that there would come a day when He Himself would come into human history and would save man from the bondage of Satan, sin, and death. This could only be accomplished by One who is fully God (infinite) and fully man, thus paying the penalty for man’s sin. Therefore, Jesus Christ came into the world (fulfilling all of the Old Testament prophesies about Him) to take upon Himself the wrath of God thereby atoning (paying) for the sins of those who believe in Him.
Upon the cross, Jesus suffered the penalty for sin and endured the wrath of God so that all who believe in Him would not have to. Therefore, God is just in that He does not wink at sin, but rather He punishes it. However, for all of those who see Christ as their Lord and Savior, God is also merciful to forgive them because Christ had paid the penalty for their sins. Thus, God is not only just, but the justifier of unrighteous sinners.
Jesus Christ died in our place paying the penalty we deserved to pay. He rose on the third day to conquer Satan, sin, and death and give the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him alone for eternal life. This is a stumbling block to some and foolishness to others, but to those who are called, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Through Christ, man is saved from any empty, vain form of religion and spirituality and is free to worship, serve, love and proclaim the one true God through Jesus Christ our Lord. This news truly is good and is to be proclaimed to every tribe, tongue and nation.
To Christ alone be the glory forever – Amen.
(The above essay was written by Andy Parker ("faithbp(at)sbcglobal.net") and is published here with his permission.)