What is the gospel?
The question was asked. An awkward silence reigned in the room. My eyes nervously scanned the quiet room. Everyone at the Bible study was deep in thought. It was as if I could feel all the thoughts going through everyone’s mind; What is the gospel? Yes, we know what it is. But when the opportunity arises, do we know how to put it into words?
After the short silence, the leader of the study proceeded to share his explanation of the gospel. Then he challenged every one of us to write up our own explanation of the gospel to share during the next study. So here I am sitting down at my computer ready to type up, in my own words, what I believe the gospel is. And I thought, why not share here on my blog as well.
Why understanding the Gospel is important
First of all, I want to highlight the reason why it is important for us to know what the gospel is. We never know when we may have the opportunity to share the truth of God’s word with people. Maybe today or tomorrow God will put someone in your life and the topic of the Gospel will come up. Are you ready to share it with them? If you know what the gospel is in your heart but don’t know how to verbalize it to someone else then you might fight yourself stuck. The opportunity may come, but all you have is a sinking feeling in the gut as you can’t find your words.
Have you ever tried to tell someone about a new product or idea but you have no information or research to back it up. Rather than persuade your friend that this new product is worth investing in, they leave thinking they are better of without it because you obviously don’t have a good enough argument. Taking the time to think about what the Gospel is going to help us when that time comes for us to share it with someone who needs it. It’s so much easier to tell someone about something if you understand it and can put it into words.
My understanding of the Gospel
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
I believe that the gospel begins with the fact that we are all sinners, unable to save ourselves. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden they brought sin into the world and all of mankind is born into sin. But God was not surprised when they sinned. God had a plan for redeeming His people from the start. His plan was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Son God, humbled himself and came into the world as a human. Jesus lived the perfect sinless life that we could never live and then died the horrible death that we deserve.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12)
Jesus took all our sin upon himself when he died on the cross. And when Jesus cried out to God on the cross; “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”, He was experiencing true separation from God for sin. For three days Jesus lay dead in the grave and on the third day He rose again to life. His resurrection means that He has conquered death and paid the penalty for sin (our sin). Through the blood of Jesus, we too are able to conquer death and be set free from sin.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us..” (Romans 5:8)
I believe that even though Jesus died on the cross for all the world, there are some who will not come to know Him. We are trapped in our sin and flesh and unable to be saved until the Holy Spirit does a work in our hearts and opens our eyes to the truth. God gets all the glory in salvation and it is through faith and God’s amazing grace that we are saved.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:5-6)
I believe that God is constantly at work and sovereign over all things. He uses us, His chosen children, to spread his truth, but He ultimately is the one who saves. And Jesus will return one day and all those who are His will live forever with Him because we have been washed clean through the blood of Jesus.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
This is what I believe the gospel is.
When you think about the gospel, does your understanding ring true to mine or is it different? It’s okay if you tell it a little differently than I tell it. You may use different verses than I used or use different words than I used. But the main truth of the gospel (that Jesus Christ came to save sinners and is the only way to be saved) doesn’t change. If you are sharing the gospel it should still be the same message and the truths I shared above should be true of your understanding as well.
Understanding the gospel is essential to be effective lights for Him in this world. Now it’s your turn to take on this challenge. How would you put your understanding of the gospel into words? Write it out in your journal, or type it up on the computer. Let us always be ready to give an account of how amazing our God is and how he Has given us new life in Jesus Christ!
“…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)