WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
Simply put, the word ‘Gospel’ means Good News
In fact, it is the greatest news in all of history and it centers around what God has done to save people through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is NOT about...
Personal health, wealth and happiness...
There is a common heresy (false teaching) today called the Prosperity Gospel which many famous and popular televangelists promote. It promises physical health and healing, material prosperity and positive emotional well-being in this life if we only tip our hats to Jesus (and usually give some monetary donation to their ministry). This is NOT the Gospel.
The Bible never promises us a care-free life of material success in this age. All of Jesus' apostles suffered and died. Even Jesus himself tells us to expect suffering and persecution in this life:
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Oftentimes God uses suffering and trials in the Christian's life to produce a character that will last (see Romans 5:3-5 & James 1:2-4). The way of the Christian walk is the way of the Cross (see Matthew 10:38 & Luke 9:23) - which often can be the way of suffering in this life.
We can sometimes believe a version of the 'prosperity gospel' in subtler ways when we come to Jesus the purpose of self-actualization, therapy, realizing our personal goals or other benefits of this life, rather than coming for Jesus himself! People sometimes come in hopes that God will fix their marriage, or provide a spouse, or to find a loving community.
All these things are good things, but they are not the ultimate and primary reason we come to Jesus. The Gospel does not promise us to give us these things - it promises to give us Jesus... and that is much better news!
The Gospel is NOT about...
Trying harder to do better...
The second common error about the Gospel is thinking that it is a list of do's and don'ts - a moral checklist of what we must do to earn salvation or to please God. This view is commonly called 'moralism' and it is the most popular form of religion today.
Every other religion in the world is based on some form of moralism - a set of rules, principles or values by which its adherents believe will bring ultimate happiness, flourishing and salvation. Basically, the fundamental assumption is that we just need to be taught what to do and then we try our best in hopes that God will be pleased with us.
Another more subtle form of this error is the message of self-help or self-actualization which says that religion and faith exist to help you be the best you. All you need is the right motivation, tips, tools and determination with hard work. In this narrative, Jesus becomes your life coach or just another accessory to help make your life better.
However, this is NOT the biblical Gospel.
The Bible is not primarily another religious book of do's and don'ts giving us moral advice. To be sure, there is a lot in it about morality, but that is not its primary message to us! Jesus is not just a good life mentor and preaching is not just motivational pep-talks. Jesus Christ is the Sovereign Lord of all who has conquered sin and death and commands our undivided allegiance to His good and loving rule in our lives.
Essentially, it boils down to this:
The Gospel is GOOD NEWS, not good advice.
Good advice leads to trying hard to follow it. Good news must simply be believed. And that is freeing!
What it is NOT
There are many voices in our culture today saying the Gospel is this and that. However, not every opinion on the Gospel is biblically correct. So, before we jump into what it is, we need to clarify what it is not.
So why is the Gospel "Good News"?
Because the Gospel answers two big questions:
What is God’s plan to redeem our broken world? (This is the Cosmic Story of the Gospel)
How can I be redeemed or saved? (This is the Personal Story of the Gospel)
1. THE COSMIC STORY OF THE GOSPEL
What is God’s plan to redeem our broken world?
The implications of the Gospel are massive – involving the restoration of all of God’s good creation. It's an epic story of universal significance that is too good not to be true!
This is the Gospel story in the whole of Creation!
The Cosmic Story of God's plan to redeem our broken world can be put into four main points:
Click the button below to find out more about the Cosmic Story of the Gospel...