The gospel is one topic that all Christians must understand and explain carefully. The gospel is simple, yet it has been distorted by many. The apostle Paul wrote the Galatians, “I am astonished that you are…turning to a different gospel-not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ” (English Standard Version Gal. 1:6-7). Paul says that there is one gospel and that the man who preaches any other is to be “accursed” (Gal. 1:8-9). The question remains; what is this gospel?
The gospel is more than just a better life. It is more than giving one freedom, although an abundant life and freedom are part of the effects of the gospel (John 10:10; Gal. 5:1). These are great gifts and blessings of the gospel but they are not the gospel. The gospel is that Jesus Christ came to this earth and took on the form of man, all the while remaining fully God, and died in mankind’s place as the penal substitutionary atonement for all (1 Cor. 15:3-4).
If we just say that Jesus came to save us from sins, it is not enough if people believe that sins are just isolated mistakes things that are not that bad but maybe just taboo. All must see that sin is completely wicked utterly horrible. This must be done so they can see the beauty of Christ’s completed work and His promise of eternal life to those who believe.
The apostle Paul’s statements in first Corinthians would be meaningless to those who do not view sins as anything more than isolated mistakes. If mankind is to fully understand why the sins of man need redeeming, they must understand the wretchedness of humanity’s heart.
The gospel is that mankind is so wicked that all deserve death (Rom. 6:23). Even though mankind deserves death there was a man who came and died, not for the righteous, but for the unrighteous while still in their sins (Rom. 5:6-8). The gospel is God restoring lost and sinful humanity to a relationship with Him.
Ever since the fall in Genesis three, God has been working out His purpose to save lost humanity. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). The plan has been to redeem mankind into a truly loving relationship with God. which was the original purpose. Jesus Christ, the offspring of the woman, came and bruised the head of the serpent, Satan when he was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
The gospel is that Jesus Christ “was made to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus Christ who was in the form of God emptied himself and became a servant in the likeness of man and was obedient to the point of death for mankind to have salvation (Phil. 2:5-8). Jesus came suffered and died, while still fully God, so mankind does not have to suffer and die.
Jesus said as much when He said “the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life”, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…” (John 4:14; 11:25-26). That is the gospel. Jesus suffered in the place of all mankind and offers this freely to all who will believe (John 6:47).