As a starter it is the description given to the first four books of the New Testament, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. These are the stories of Jesus, his birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection.
In Christian life and language the word Gospel is also used as a shorthand term to explain the reason for the story of Jesus. Jesus lived and died to be and the bring the Good News, or the Gospel, to mankind. What therefore is this Gospel that Jesus came to be and to proclaim?
It encompasses sin, forgiveness and eternal life in heaven. It is summarised in one of the best known verses in the bible John 3:16 “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.”
The Gospel starts with our sin. All of us have sinned and as a result are separated from God. The Gospel is needed because we have no way of restoring our relationship with God, only He could do that.
The Gospel is then about forgiveness. In the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross we have the possibility of forgiveness for our sin if we will accept him as our Lord & Saviour. Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
So, in Jesus, we are saved from our sin and the eternal consequences of our sin. We are also saved to an eternal destiny in Heaven. As those who have accepted Jesus and submitted our lives to Him as our Lord, Christians can be absolutely certain of their eternal destiny. When we die we will be with Jesus in Heaven, Halleluia!
So the gospel is about the forgiveness of sin and the certainty of eternity lived in Heaven. We know that we are forgiven and we know where we’re going.
The question I’ve started to grapple with over the past few weeks is whether what I’ve said above is it, or is there more to the Gospel than I’ve previously thought?
Next time I’ll be looking at the references to the word Gospel within the bible. After all the bible should be the first place that we turn to for our understanding.