what we believe
What is the Gospel?
The word gospel simply means “good news.” The central message of the Bible is the gospel or good news, about the person and work of Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 15:1–5Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: 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, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve (1 Corinthians 15:1-5, ESV)., Paul provides the most succinct summary of the gospel.
* The Gospel is the power of God and the Gospel shapes our identity and purpose.
* The gospel is called the “good news” and it is particularly good news about our sin problem.
In a nutshell, we can sum it up this way: The gospel is that God himself has come to rescue and restore creation in and through the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
Why does creation (which includes me) need rescuing? Because of sin.
Sin is living for my fame and glory instead of God’s. Sin is living life my way, for me, instead of living life, God’s way, for God. We have all sinned and really need the gospel—we desperately need Jesus to rescue us from the penalty and effects of sin, which the Bible teaches is ultimate and eternal separation from God. When we repent (change our mind about who is really God in our lives) and by faith we believe that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection has secured our rescue and restored us to a right relationship with God the Father, then this good news is true for us! And we have been sent out to proclaim this same gospel of restoration to the entire world.
UNDERSTANDING TWO GOSPEL PERSPECTIVES
We can read the Bible across the grain (thematically) and we can read it with the grain (as a story). Both are necessary and each one leads to a different way of seeing the gospel. It takes both perspectives to fully understand and engage the gospel.
1. Thematically: The Gospel Power. We understand the means of salvation.
God — eternal, all-powerful, creator of everything
Sin —mhumanity has all chosen self-rule over submission, in relationship, to God; the penalty for sin is death
Jesus — God incarnate came to die as a substitute for the penalty of humanity’s sins
Faith — by faith in what Jesus did, not by any effort of our own, we are saved from our sins
In this case, the good news is that God is completely aware of our sin problem, and in and through the work of Jesus Christ, accepts us AND changes us by the power of his Spirit. We have been saved from the penalty of sin (justification), we are being saved from the power of sin (sanctification) and we will be saved from the presence of sin. This means the same power that saved us from the penalty for sin also helps us obey God now.
This results in my understanding that … I am more broken and sinful than I ever dared believe, and at the same time I am more loved and accepted than I ever dared hope, because of Jesus.
2. As a Story: The Gospel Purpose. Here we come to know the reason for salvation.
We can look at the gospel through the lens of a story … Creation ➞ Fall ➞ Redemption ➞ Restoration
In this case, the good news is that God sent his Son to redeem the world from the effects of sin and create a new humanity. Eventually the whole world will be renewed to the way God originally created it. Rebellion, death, decay, injustice, and suffering will all be removed. When everything is restored, God will be seen by all for who he truly is—he will be glorified. (Ephesians 2:10,14-22; 2 Corinthians 5:15-21; Revelation 21)
How does this happen?
Jesus helped clarify how we accomplish the purpose of the gospel by giving us his mission: “Go and make disciples”. (Matthew 28:19). As the arts, industry, politics, families—all areas of culture—are being filled with Jesus’ disciples bringing about his gospel restoration, the earth is being filled with his glory! That is the point of the restoration of all things—that God would be glorified!
The gospel is not just about my individual happiness or God’s plan for my life. It is about God’s plan for the world. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
The people of God (the Church) then become an alternative city within a city to display, as a foretaste, what the eternal city will be like. (Jeremiah 29; Matthew 5:3-16; Luke 6:20-36; 1 Peter 2:9-12)
God, in Jesus Christ, has given us both the MESSAGE of reconciliation (gospel power) and the MINISTRY of reconciliation (gospel purpose).
Good News! When we repent of our sin and receive the new life that Jesus has offered us, we begin a journey of restoration inside and out. And not just for us—but for the entire world!
This page is adapted from our friends at Somatacoma.org