What Is The Gospel?
Defining the “gospel”, how to respond to the gospel, and the consequences for rejecting the gospel.
The message of the gospel is “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Whoever believes this gospel, turns from their sin, and puts their faith in Jesus to save them from their just condemnation will be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to him.
There are two aspects of the gospel: the message and the response. In this post, I will cover the message first and then the response toward the end. The message of the gospel could be summed up in several ways, but this is my favorite verse that encapsulates the core content of the gospel:
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
Before moving forward, it’s best to define some core concepts in the gospel: “Christ”, “Jesus”, “came into the world”, & “to save sinners”.
Christ is not just another name for Jesus. It’s a title.
Like “President” or “Prime Minister”, “Christ” is the English translation of the Greek word ‘christos’ (Greek: xριστός) which is the equivalent of ‘messiah’ or “mashiach” (Hebrew: מָשִׁ֫יחַ). In the Hebrew Tanakh or Old Testament, the Messiah was the promised deliverer of Israel. Since Jesus is that promised deliverer, he is also the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures.
There are many definitions of this Jesus, but the true Jesus aligns with every verse in the Scriptures he authored (2 Timothy 3:16).
Jesus is the second person of the holy Trinity (John 1:1). Jesus made the world was made and apart from him nothing was made (John 1:3). He is God. But he is not only God. Jesus was also born a man through a virgin named Mary (Matthew 1:18). He lived a sinless life, was crucified, died, was buried, and rose again 3 days later (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
3. Came Into the World
Around the year 4 BC/BCE, Jesus the Christ, the God-Man, stepped into our time-and-space-bound universe. Though he is eternal – without end or beginning – Jesus humbled himself by being born a Jewish male to live in first century Palestine. He was born into lowly circumstances, probably in a cave, and placed in a manger. Despite this demeaning entrance onto our planet, he is Emmanuel, or God with Us (Matthew 1:23).
4. To Save Sinners
In his brief life, Jesus fulfilled a mission: to save people.
By saving human beings, this necessarily implies a situation requiring a rescue. Human beings are sinners (Romans 3:23). Our sin is rebellion against our Creator who implanted his expectations into our hearts (Romans 2:15). The entire direction of our lives is pointed away from God – and thus God’s wrath rests upon us (John 3:36). Because of our sin, we are estranged from God (Isaiah 59:2).
The consequences for our rebellion is more than the ire of some steely-eyed preacher. It is the eternal condemnation of our souls in hell to be separated from God, the source of all life. But God demonstrated his love toward sinners by sending his son Jesus to save people. He did this through Christ’s death (Romans 5:8).
So this is the gospel: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
But what is your response?
Will you agree with every part of this gospel? If so, then turn away from your sins and trust God to save you from the penalty and power of sin. Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). You will be saved from eternal destruction and reconciled to God who loves you.
A. First, ADMIT your sinfulness. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). To respond to the gospel, you must admit your sin. You must call out to God for forgiveness.
B. Second, BELIEVE that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to the world to save sinners like you. Believe that Jesus died in your place and rose again from the dead proving to be the Son of God. (1 Corinthians 15:3,4)
C. Third, COMMIT your life to Jesus as Lord and leader of your life. “Confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). So commit your life to Him by loving Him, surrendering to Him, and obeying Him.
But What If You Don’t Believe The Gospel?
But you may not believe this gospel.
There are many objections to this and other Biblical claims which makes it impossible to believe this saving message. This is one of the primary reasons Theolocast was created: to bring you competent answers to serious objections to the Christian faith in a way that’s easy to understand. In that way, it will help smooth the path for a genuine faith in the God who saves sinners.
As a servant of the gospel, I also must warn you of the consequences of rejecting the gospel. There is no plan B for salvation (Acts 4:12). God will only save you if you believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. No other religion, philosophy, worldview, or alternative perspective can deliver you from the wrath that will come upon the earth and upon every person outside of Christ. And that judgment lasts forever in eternal, conscious punishment in Hell.
God will judge the world – so flee to Christ to be saved.
If you don’t believe, then keep seeking. My prayer for you is that you will consider God’s claims in the Bible, examine the answers to your objections, and ultimately believe this gospel. This simple truth is the only source of freedom from the tyranny of sin. This gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).
Greg Gilbert: What Is the Gospel?
John Piper: What Is the Christian Gospel?