What is the Gospel?

If you had the chance to share the gospel with a nonbeliever in a matter of minutes, would you be able to? I mean there’s so much meat within the sixty-six pieces of literature that make up the Christian bible. How do you know what’s important enough to share with them and what’s okay to leave out?

Unfortunately, over the years i’ve met countless Christians who are unable to communicate the gospel. Even worse is when I meet people who have grown up in the church, have heard the message for decades, and yet are still unable to communicate the gospel.

Some say that the gospel is that we get to go to heaven. Others claim that the gospel is that God is love. Many say that the gospel is that Jesus died for our sins.

While all these statements are factual and a part of the gospel message of Jesus, they, themselves, do not make up the entirety of the gospel of Jesus.

The Gospel as News

The word gospel meant “news” during the first century. For example, when a city’s army would ride into battle, the citizens would await a gospel that would inform them of either victory or defeat in the battle. This gospel significantly affected and changed the lives of the listeners; it demanded a response. This gospel was not something that was achieved by its’ hearers but, instead, was to be accepted and responded to by its’ hearers.

The gospel of Jesus follows this very pattern. When sharing the gospel, we are delivering the good news of Jesus that, when accepted, dramatically alters the life and worldview of its’ hearers.

There are four main points that make up the gospel: God, Man, Jesus, and Response. Without any of these four points, the message loses its’ value and power.

God | Isaiah 43:6, 7

God created the entire universe for Himself to display His glory. He created us in His image to reflect and glorify Him. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were in a perfect, harmonious relationship with God in the garden of Eden. This was not a burden for them, for in glorifying Him, humanity experienced the fullness of joy. Worshipping God is what we were created to do.

Man | Romans 3:23

In Genesis 3, our first parents chose to sin. This is not simply the disobeying of God but the seeking of satisfaction in someone or something other than God. From then on, humanity was cursed, bearing a totally depraved and sinful nature. So much so that in Psalm 51, David writes that He was “brought forth in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5).

At this point, man did not stop worshipping; we continued to worship things other than God. At the fall, it was not our action of worship that changed but the object of our worship that changed, namely God. This is what the bible defines as sin.

Because of our sinful nature, we fall incredibly short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and are, therefore, separated from Him. Since God is holy, righteous, and clean, He cannot dwell with that which is unholy, unrighteous, and unclean.

Sin has left humanity helpless and hopeless on their own. If their is to be any redemption, reconciliation, and restoration of their relationship with God, someone else will have to accomplish this.

Jesus | Ephesians 2:1-10

Jesus, Who is fully God, took on humanity as well in order to take on the sin of man. He did so by:

  • taking on humanity (John 1:14)
  • being born of a virgin (Matt 1:23, Is 7:14)
  • living in our shoes, or sandals (Heb 4:14)
  • but was without sin though tempted in every way (Heb 4:15)
  • displaying what true humanity looks like
  • being falsely accused, tried, and condemned to death on a cross
  • absorbing the penalty of God’s wrath for all believers past, present, and future
  • conquering sin, death, and the enemy through His bodily resurrection from the dead
  • appearing to many, preaching His eternal kingdom
  • ascending to His throne in Heaven
  • ushering in the new age of His Spirit

Jesus took our place. He lived the life that we were called to live but couldn’t, died the death that we deserve, and conquered our sin, death, and the enemy through His bodily resurrection from the dead.

Response | Romans 12:1 & 2

If you believe this, you have been redeemed, reconciled, and restored by the Spirit through the Son back to the Father. In the eyes of God, you are now:

  • coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
  • more than conquerors in Him (Romans 8:37)
  • sons and daughters of the heavenly Father (Isaiah 43:6)
  • a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
  • forgiven of all sin, past, present, and future (Ephesians 1:7)
  • freed from the power of sin (Rom 6:1-14)
  • being conformed into the image of Jesus (Romans 8)
  • valuable (1 Corinthian 6:20)
  • ambassadors for and representatives of Jesus (2 Cor 5:20)
  • a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12)
  • and much, much more (Gen 1:1 – Rev 22:21)

This is the greatest news that you will ever hear! Just like the gospels of the first century, this news was not achieved by you but is to be received and responded to by you. This news changes everything. Your desires, your passions, your goals, your dreams, your worldview, your identity; everything is affected by this incredible news!

Concluding Tips

When sharing the gospel with others, there can be an enormous amount of pressure involved, especially if the opportunity arises to share it with a nonbeliever friend of yours’ that you’ve been praying for for God-knows-how-long. Here are few reminders that i’ve found encouraging and empowering for myself when sharing the gospel with nonbelievers:

  1. The gospel not only saves you but also empowers you to share it with others.
  2. Your job is not to save people; that’s God’s job. Instead, your role is to simply to be faithful in sharing the gospel to those around you; God will handle the rest.
  3. People need to hear this message. Without it, they will be eternally separated from God and left wandering helpless and hopeless in this incredibly difficult and chaotic world.
  4. Be sure to preach the gospel to yourself daily. All too often, we forget that which we become familiar with. Continue to remind yourself of the glory and greatness of God in redeeming sinners through His Son Jesus by the power of His Spirit.

Dear brothers and sisters, you are coheirs with Christ, more than conquerors in Him, sons and daughters of the heavenly Father, a new creation, forgiven of all of your sin past, present and future, freed from the power of sin, being conformed into the image of Jesus, valuable, ambassadors for and representatives of Jesus, a member of the body of Christ, and so much more. Go forth and preach this gospel to those around you that more people may come to know and love God through Jesus by the power of His Spirit!

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11 thoughts on “What is the Gospel?

  1. What great encouragement for all who take seriously the command to spread the good news of the Gospel! I think it’s also important to note that, before speaking, everyone should take pause and invite the Holy Spirit to command their tongue and soften the heart of the hearer. Sometimes those who are not good speakers, or those with introvert dispositions, can botch even the most rehearsed approach and come across as delivering some canned message that the unbeliever dismisses as unauthentic. We should rely on the Lord to help us say exactly what He wants us to say. I’ve had a few times when I planned to say one thing, but through the conversation and while inwardly praying for God to “be here, be here, do this, do this!” I’ve said another, and that turned out to be exactly what spoke to that person. So it’s definitely necessary to be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have, and to also rely on the Spirit to guide and direct us. Great post!

    1. Great point, siss! Thanks for the response and encouragement. I really appreciate it! It’s key to rely on the Spirit to work in and through various circumstances and conversations rather than simply approaching each person with a robotic-like message. Thanks again for the reminder!

  2. You are “right-on” brother. To many Christians want to limit the gospel to John 3:16. But scripture is filled with good news from Genesis to Revelation and back again.
    When defining the Gospel I like to start with this phrase, “It is the Gospel of Grace.”

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