What is the Gospel?
“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. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).
The Gospel (good news) is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). The Bible teaches that mankind by nature is spiritually dead; we are enslaved by the world, the flesh and the devil. In our sinful humanity, we find ourselves under the wrath of a holy and almighty God. Yet because of His grace and mercy, God (not willing that any should perish) sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect life (without sin), to give up that perfect life by dying on the cross as a substitute for the sins of mankind, and rising the third day for our justification.
Respond to the Gospel
To respond to the Gospel we must understand that it is good news. Because man can never come to God by his own righteousness or goodness, God sent His holy and sinless Son, Jesus to create a way for man (Isaiah 59:16). Jesus Christ died the death a man deserved to die (Romans 5:7,8). Not only did He die an undeserved death, but He conquered death by being brought back to life (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). An act of such love beckons only a response of utter devotion. This gift of salvation is available to “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13). The Bible tells us that one must “believe in his heart and confess with his mouth to be saved” (Romans 5:10). Salvation is obtained by “grace through faith – it is not your own doing, but the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Gospel is good news because Jesus creates a way for man to have a relationship with God.
Those who have been saved must “depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19). A proper response to the Gospel involves a complete submission to the instruction of Jesus and obedience to His commandments. As the resurrected Christ ascends into heaven, He instructs His followers to tell all people the good news, that God has made a way to for man to know Him, and teach them how God desires their lives to be lived (Matthew 28:19). Ultimately, God desires to have a relationship with His creation and for them to share that truth with all people.
A life changed by the Gospel is one of freedom due to the elimination of enmity between God and man. There is freedom from guilt, shame, and legalism because Jesus bore this burden for us and has given us the Holy Spirit that we may live holy lives (Romans 8:1-4). A believer lives in a community that serves to emulate Jesus in their actions and function as a family; this community is called the church (Acts 2:42-47). Each member has a unique role and gifting given directly from the Lord and is called to use said gifts to serve the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:1-31). This unified fellowship between God and His followers is how the family of God looks like.