What is the Gospel?
The Gospel of Grace
The Gospel is the “good news” about what Jesus Christ has done for us through His life, death and resurrection. Paul boiled it down to this powerful statement: “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). This is the gospel at its core:
- God created all things and it was all good.
- Man rebelled against God, and the penalty for our sin is eternal death.
- Jesus is the incarnate God (fully man & fully God) who lived a righteous life, died to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose from the dead, altogether defeating the power of sin, death and hell.
- Faith in Christ’s work on our behalf unites us to Him, and we are mercifully saved from our sins and the penalty of death, and we are graciously reconciled to eternal life with God.
This is the gospel of grace, and it is God’s power for salvation for all who believe.
This gospel is best understood in the context of the Story of God, which unfolds in four broad stages: Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration.
Creation: God created the world and everything in it by His powerful Word, and it was very good. He ruled over all Creation as the Sovereign King. As the pinnacle of His creation, He made Man and Woman to bear His image to the world by ruling over it and filling it with His glory through procreation.
Fall: Instead of trusting and obeying their Creator and King, the first humans listened to the serpent, doubted the goodness and justice of God, and chose to rebel against His Word. They were separated from the holy and just God because of their sin, and they began to fill the earth with people who followed in their rebellious ways. This is how pain, suffering, injustice, and wickedness have come to darken our world.
Redemption: God, in His mercy, did not leave us in our broken and cursed state. In love, He became a man, Jesus Christ, and entered into our suffering in order that He might redeem us (and all of creation) from the curse brought on by our sin. Though he was entirely righteous, He sacrificially paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, He was buried, and victoriously rose again. Through this work, He redeemed us from the power of sin, and removed the curse of death. Those who trust in His work are forgiven, cleansed, made new, and graciously welcomed into His eternal family, The Church.
Restoration: After the news of redemption through Christ has spread to all who will believe, Jesus will come again to restore all things to God. All who have trusted in Christ will be resurrected from the dead to eternal life with our King. All who persist in rebellion against God will be condemned to eternal death. All pain, suffering, injustice, and wickedness will be finally defeated. At this point, even Heaven and Earth will be made new. This New Heaven and the New Earth will be reunited, and God will dwell with His redeemed and resurrected people in the glorious New Creation forever.
The Mission of the Church: Make Disciples of Jesus
At our current stage in this unfolding Story, God is using the community of those who have been redeemed (the Church) to spread the good news about what Jesus has done to reconcile us to God. As disciples of Jesus, our mission is to bear God’s image to the world by living as a community of light in the midst of the pervasive darkness. We are to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God as we proclaim the gospel of His grace to the world.