What is the Gospel?
Becoming right with God.
The heart of the gospel is the good news of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us through His perfect life, his substitutionary death on the cross, and his resurrection. The gospel is called “good news” because it addresses humanity’s most serious problem: how can sinners be reconciled with God? God is holy and just, and we are not. And at the end of our lives, we are going to stand before a just and holy God, and we will be judged either on the basis of our own perfect righteousness or on the basis of the perfect righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect righteousness and obedience to God, not for His own sake, but for us sinners. He has done for us what we cannot do for ourselves. He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God, and was raised from the grave. The good news is that He now offers sinners forgiveness and reconciliation with God: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:9-10, ESV).
Here’s the summary of whole gospel story as we see it in the Bible:
1. God: God is the creator of all things (Gen. 1:1). He is perfectly holy, worthy of all worship, and will punish sin (1 John 1:5, Rev. 4:11, Rom. 2:5-8).
2. Man: All people, though created good, have become sinful by nature (Gen. 1:26-28, Ps. 51:5, Rom. 3:23). From birth, all people are alienated from God, hostile to God, and subject to the wrath of God (Eph. 2:1-3).
3. Christ: Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully man, lived a sinless life, died on the cross to bear God’s wrath in the place of sinners, and rose from the grave in order to give them eternal life (John 1:1, 1 Tim. 2:5, Heb. 7:26, Rom. 3:21-26, 2 Cor. 5:21, 1 Cor. 15:20-22).
4. Response: God calls everyone everywhere to repent of his or her sins and trust in Christ in order to be saved (Mark 1:15, Acts 20:21, Rom. 10:9-10).
(Some material adapted from The Gospel and Personal Evangelism by Mark Dever)