What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Whenever I ask this question I get numerous responses. Some say to preach the gospel is to proclaim the word of God found in the Holy Scriptures. Others say that the gospel is the message that Christ gives us power to overcome our sins. More refined theologians might tell you that the gospel is that Jesus showed us how to overcome the evil in the world by living a life of love, tolerance, and patient forgiveness toward our fellow human beings.
The answers given to this question are as numerous as the number of different theological viewpoints in the world. It is not surprising that non-Christian people are weary of stepping into a church building. For many, joining a church is similar to joining a political party based on theological ideology rather than finding a place to worship.
The only true answer to this question is found in the Bible. The book of Romans is a great place to search for a biblical answer. It is the only place in the New Testament where the apostle Paul explained the fullness of the gospel from a theological standpoint. To give a basic answer to our question all we need to do is analyze the main idea found in the introduction to the book of Romans.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last just as it is written: `The righteous will live by faith'” (Romans 1: 16-17, NIV).
What can we learn from these two verses written by the Apostle Paul?
First, we should note that the word gospel (euaggelion) means good news. The gospel is a positive message to the world that is meant to bring rest to the weary, comfort to the afflicted, and grace and peace to the guilty and frustrated.
Secondly, the gospel is the power of God. It is a message that allows the power of God to flow into our lives through the Holy Spirit. It is a message that enlightens our minds, transforms the way we view God, and allows the love of God to flow through us to bring light into a world of darkness.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18, NIV). The gospel, the power of God, is the message of the Cross that Christ bore the wrath of God’s justice for our sins that we might be the objects of God’s mercy.
Thirdly, the gospel brings salvation to everyone who believes. It is the message of God’s plan to save humanity from the curse of sin and death. Salvation is offered to all who believe and find assurance in God’s plan of salvation. God achieved salvation for us in Jesus Christ, and our part is to believe and receive what God has accomplished.
Finally, the gospel is about righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. Those who believe in Jesus are accepted by God as righteous. The righteousness of Jesus Christ covers our wickedness and sin, our imperfection is covered by His perfection, and his purity covers our filth. The only possible way for us to enter into the presence of God is to be clothed in the sinless perfection of the one and only begotten Son of God. Those who are clothed in the spotless purity of Jesus have the verdict of the final judgment. We are righteous because we are clothed in His righteousness. We are righteous through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a short introduction to the Gospel, but it is the best answer to the question. What is the Gospel? The gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for all who receive the gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Jesus, who died for their sins, have the verdict of the final judgement and the assurance of eternal life.
This is good news! This is the message that must be proclaimed to the world.