What is the gospel?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16 KJV

What is the gospel? The word gospel (Greek: euaggelion) literally means good news. A lot of things that are labelled as gospel are far from good news! I’ve sat in meetings and listened to “gospel presentations”, and I’ve read so-called gospel books, and a lot of it was not good news at all. They were messages of hellfire and damnation – and although it is true that there is a hell and without Christ, you will go there, that is not good news at all! These non-gospel messages put a lot of pressure on you to try harder to live right so that you can please God and be accepted by Him. Instead of introducing you to the Saviour and showing you what He did to save you and make you right with God, they introduce you to performance-based Christianity and use fear of hell and punishment as a motivator. It’s the goodness of God that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), not fear (1 John 4:18). If it’s not good news, it’s not the gospel!

The gospel is the good news of what Jesus has done for you, not what you have to do for Him.News is something that has taken place. The gospel is good news (it’s about something that has taken place), it’s not good prophecy(information about what you need to do, or about something that is going to happen). The gospel is good news!

The gospel is a specific message. It’s not just a message preached from the Bible, although the gospel is contained in the Bible. Just because someone is preaching from the Bible doesn’t mean that they are preaching the gospel. Paul called the gospel the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16) and he also referred to it as the gospel of the grace of Christ (Acts 20:24). The message of the gospel is the good news of what Jesus has done for us and it is specifically the message of God’s grace (His unmerited, unearned, undeserved favour).

The word gospel was so rarely used back when the book of Romans was written that it is communicating so much more than “a good message”, it’s referring to something extraordinary. It’s saying that this message of the grace of Christ is nearly too good to be true! The message of what Jesus has done for us does sound nearly too good to be true but thank God it is true! To the person trapped in a performance-based mindset of “I only get what I deserve”, the gospel sounds too good to be true because they feel that they surely have to do something to get something… but the gospel is the good news of God’s free gift of salvation (and everything that it includes!).

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
Luke 2:10 KJV

The angels announced the arrival of Jesus saying that they had glad tidings(good news) of great joy! The message of the gospel is the message of God’s grace and what He did for us through Jesus – it’s a happy message which brings us great joy!

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