Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
THE BEAUTY OF THE GOSPEL
The word “Gospel” shows up over 100 times in the New Testament. It’s all over the Bible because it’s the point of the Bible. “Gospel” means good news.
The word was often used in the first century in a military context. When the battle had been won, the general would send back an evangelist with “the gospel,” the good news of victory. Good news is fundamentally different from good advice. And every system of belief outside of Biblical Christianity is advice, telling us what we need to do to get to God. But the Scriptures don’t announce good advice on how we’re to reach God, but good news of what God’s done to reach down to us. We often use this definition for the Gospel:
The Gospel is the just and gracious God of the universe looking upon hopelessly sinful people and sending His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His power over sin in the resurrection so that all who have faith in Him will be reconciled to God forever.
An even more simple way to think of the good news of Jesus is in four words,
Jesus in our place.
Jesus lived a perfect life in our place. He died in our place, for our sin. On the cross our sin crushed him, and his perfect life was credited to us. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.“ Then on the third day Jesus rose from the dead, showing that God the Father was pleased with Jesus’ sacrifice. The Scriptures shout the good news of Jesus with great joy, announcing that Jesus has fought our battle and won our victory, and for all those who turn from their sin and trust Jesus, they will enjoy his victory forever. As William Tyndale once said, that really is news that “makes a man’s heart glad and makes him sing, dance, and leap for joy…”
WE NEVER OUTGROW OUR NEED
Many rightly say the gospel is for non-Christians. The gospel is the door through which every man or woman must enter to be rescued by and reconciled with God. The gospel is the door that leads to the incredibly bright future God’s prepared for all His sons and daughters! Everything in the Christian life begins the moment God breathes life into our spiritually unresponsive hearts, causing us to cry out in faith to Jesus.
The problem is that most believe the gospel is only for non-Christians. They believe the gospel is for, and only for, getting people into the Kingdom of God; and once inside, a person moves on to deeper things. However, the Scriptures show us something different.
The Gospel of Jesus is for both non-Christians and Christians.
There are two ways to see the Gospel, a narrow and broad way. The narrow way, which many are familiar with, sees the Gospel as saving us from the penalty of sin. This is a beautiful reality of the Gospel! Jesus died in our play, paying the penalty for our sin (Romans 3:23-24). The broad perspective does not say less, but more. The gospel not only saves us from the penalty of our sin, but also from the present power of sin in our lives. To put it another way, the narrow perspective sees the gospel as only for non-Christians, while the broad way sees that the gospel is for both Christians and non-Christians. The Bible gives us a very broad Gospel, covering every moment (past, present, and future) of our life with Jesus.
There’s no such thing as a Gospel graduate. The good news of Jesus isn’t just something a Christian needed in the past, it’s something they need presently. The Gospel is God’s means by which a Christian’s life is renewed and sin is overcome. The Gospel is renewing and relevant to every area of a Christian’s life. Listen to Tim Keller describe this reality.
The Gospel is not just the A-B-C of Christianity, it’s the A-Z. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom…It is the solution to each problem, the key to each closed door, the power through every barrier.
After Jesus rescues a person, they don’t move on to bigger and brighter things. Rather, we move deeper into the biggest and brightest thing, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We never out-grow our need of Jesus’ redeeming work! By God’s grace, we are learning as a church family to allow Jesus’ accomplishments on our behalf to saturate everything about us. More and more we are seeing that the Gospel didn’t just save us (past tense), but is saving us (in the present).
So church, let’s embrace our moment by moment need of Jesus.