What is the Gospel?
...and where does New Beginnings fit in?
“Gospel” is a much used but often misunderstood word. The word itself means “good news”, and in the Bible refers to the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. In a sense, the whole Bible is “The Gospel”. In another sense, the whole Bible is also “The Law”, which shows people their own sin and need for personal salvation that only comes through The Gospel.
First Corinthians 15:1-11 is a core Bible passage describing The Gospel. It is certainly not the only passage, nor is the concept of Gospel limited to what we find there, but it is a passage that is vital to our understanding of The Gospel. Let’s make seven basic observations about The Gospel from this passage.
- The Gospel is a plan of God established from eternity. It is “according to the Scriptures” (v.3-4). It is a true, objective message from God.
- The Gospel is anchored in actual, true, verifiable, historical events which are essential to God’s plan of redemption (#1). Christ “died”, “was buried”, “was raised on the third day”, and “appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time” (v.3-8). These are the central events of The Gospel, while all other events and characteristics of the life and being of Jesus Christ are also The Gospel.
- The Gospel is an accomplishment that took place through these central events (#2). Christ’s death was “for our sins” (v.3). Something vital was transacted between God The Father and God The Son at The Cross, specifically that The Father accepted The Son’s death as a satisfactory, substitutionary payment in full for penalty of sin (see Romans 3:25-26). Christ’s resurrection demonstrates the truth and power of that transaction, providing the offer of justification from our sins by the living Christ ( see Romans 4:25 . . . Christ “was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification”).
- The Gospel is an offer that is free, because the work has already been accomplished (#3) and the full price has already been paid by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Gospel can only be “received” (v.1), not earned, deserved, or merited. Those who humbly receive this Gospel as a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), are “justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
- The Gospel is an application of itself by God’s grace to sinners in need (v.9-10). God The Holy Spirit enacts this saving grace within the one who will receive it (John 3:8, Titus 3:5), causing this one to have an interest in The Gospel and faith to believe it (Ephesians 2:8-9, First Peter 1:21).
- The Gospel is the power of God for salvation (v.1,10; see also Romans 1:16). When the Word of God is activated within a person by The Spirit of God, faith is created (Romans 10:17).
- The Gospel is the provision of unlimited benefits to those who truly receive it (v.1,10-11). Among these are pardon, forgiveness, justification, status as a child of God, the indwelling of the Spirit of God, assurance, repentance, power over sin and Satan, identity in the family of God, ability to understand the Word of God, opportunity to serve, the ability to love, the help of the Spirit in relationships, purpose and direction for living, the glorification of the body, and the guarantee of heaven. All of this and infinitely more can be summarized under the heading “Eternal Life” which is the present possession of the believer (John 6:47). The essence of Eternal Life is knowing (experiencing, enjoying) God personally through Jesus Christ (John 17:3, First Peter 3:18).
Do we have Good News for you? Yes! God has an eternal, true, objective plan that He has established for you. He has made this plan known through the Bible, especially in the words and events of Jesus Christ. The most verifiable and central of these events are the life, death, burial, resurrection, and post-resurrection appearances of Jesus Christ. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God The Father has provided for the full, satisfactory pardon and forgiveness of your sins. Because He has done this, the offer of salvation to you is absolutely free. If you are interested in this offer, that is God The Holy Spirit at work in you bringing you to faith and salvation. When you believe the Gospel, trusting in the true Person and Work of Jesus Christ to save you, that is the power of God in your life. Infinite, unlimited, eternal, permanent spiritual benefits become yours the instant you believe. Yes, this includes going to Heaven someday. But it begins with enjoying Eternal Life today, knowing God personally and walking with Him.
Yes, we have really Good News for you!