What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel?

Have you ever had someone come up to you and say “I have good news,” only to be disappointed by what they shared? Maybe it was a band coming to town that you don’t care for, or the opening of a new location of a restaurant that you don’t like. 


“Good news” can be quite subjective. What counts as good news to one might just register as news to another (if not bad news!). But when the Bible offers good news—which is what the term “gospel” means—it’s talking about news that is good for everyone, because it is news that is relevant and beneficial for all people. And to understand why, some context is key. 


Created By a Good God


The Bible begins with God creating the world. In Genesis 1–2, we witness God’s power, creativity, and wisdom on full display as He creates—from nothing!—an orderly world full of beauty and life. And, critically for us, we see His lavish generosity to the first humans, Adam and Eve, as He creates them in His likeness, calls them to rule over the world He’s made, and plants a beautiful garden paradise for them to live in. 


God not only bestows incredible dignity upon people, but He abundantly provides all that they would ever need to flourish. 


Rebelling Against a Good God


But in Genesis 3, tragedy strikes when Adam and Eve buy into the absurd lie that God is not good; that He does not have humanity’s best interests in mind and cannot be trusted. Adam and Eve rebel against God and, as a consequence, are expelled from their home in the garden. Because of their sin, they would now experience death and suffering in this world. 


And that is the world we find ourselves in, a world in which “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and where the “wages” of these sins “is death” (Romans 6:23). 


The Good News


Amazingly, however, God is not done demonstrating His lavish generosity. Before expelling Adam and Eve from the garden, He promises a future “offspring” who undo the consequences of sin (Genesis 3:15). Though things are bad, they won’t stay bad. 


The rest of the Bible shows how God fulfills this promise through Jesus, who dies on the cross and then rises again from death. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus—who is truly God and truly human—took the punishment our sins deserve, even though He Himself was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21). He did this so that when we confess our sins, turn from them, and cling to Him as our Savior and follow Him, we too may be raised from death to live with Him forever on a new earth, free of sin and death. 


Because of Jesus, those who have sinned and fall short of God’s glory may be “justified [declared right with God] freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23–24). And while “the wages of sin is death…the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). 


All We Have Ever Wanted


This is good news for everyone, because—whether people recognize it or not—the gospel provides all that we could ever desire. We all shoulder the weight of living in a broken world. Others sin against us. We get sick. We suffer. We struggle to make ends meet. This world is a hard place to live in. 


On top of that is the weight of our own guilt. We sin against others. We lose our tempers. We walk with a sense of shame over things we’ve done and can’t seem to remove it. 


But through Jesus, our guilt can be removed, such that there is “no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). In Jesus, we are not defined by our worst moments, because God has removed our sins from us as “far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12). Because of Jesus, God sees us and calls us “righteous” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 


And through Jesus, the world of pain we now live in will give way to a world in which we will dwell with God in paradise; a world free of tears, death, grief, and pain (Revelation 21:1–4). 


Acceptance with God. The undoing of all that is evil about our world. Eternal life with Him in a new, perfect world. This is not just good news; it's the best news any of us could ever hope for. They are realities freely available to all who would trust in Jesus. And for those who have already trust in Him, these are realities to be remembered and comforted by every day. 

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