What is the gospel?

by Rick Brentlinger
(Signal Hill, CA)

A stone cross in Cornwall, UK

A stone cross in Cornwall, UK

"Christ Jesus came into the world
to save sinners."
- 1 Timothy 1:15

The word gospel occurs 101 times in 95 verses in the King James Bible New Testament. The word gospel is never used in the Old Testament. Our English word gospel comes from the Greek word, εὐαγγέλιον, euangelion or yü-än-ge'-lē-on, meaning good news. In classical Greek, a eu-an-ge-los was a messenger who brought good news of victory (like Ahimaaz in 2 Samuel 18:19-31) so eu-an-ge-li-on became a message of victory, good news for all who believe on Jesus Christ as their Substitute, who paid the penalty for their sins.

What is the gospel good news?

We were lost sinners under the curse of the Law, unable to satisfy the justice of God by paying sin's penalty ourselves. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus became our substitute. He took our place, dying as us for us, paying the penalty for our sins, appeasing the wrath of God, Romans 1:16-18, Isaiah 53:4-6, 8, 11. God signaled us that He accepted Jesus' payment by raising Jesus from the dead.

The bleeding Lamb upon the Cross

Bore all God's wrath that day;

The guiltless for the guilty, slain,

To take my sins away. - Rick Brentlinger

"Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
- Galatians 3:13

What wondrous love is this

O my soul, O my soul?

That Christ should leave his heavenly bliss

And take upon himself the curse,

For my soul, for my soul!

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus stepped up for us, took our place and paid the sin penalty we owed by taking our sins upon Himself, thus becoming a curse for us. "The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all." - Isaiah 53:6

He paid a debt he did not owe,

I owed a debt I could not pay;

I needed someone to wash my sins away.

And now I sing a brand new song

Amazing grace the whole day long;

For Jesus paid the debt that I could never pay.

Memory Verse: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." - Romans 1:16

Upon the cross where Jesus died,

The wrath of God was satisfied;

His blood was shed for you and me,

Amazing grace has set us free! - Rick Brentlinger

The gospel demonstrates

  1. God's holiness - 1 Peter 1:16
  2. God's wrath appeased - Romans 1:16-18
  3. God's righteousness - Romans 3:26
  4. God's justice - Romans 3:26 - sins paid for
  5. God's love - Romans 5:8
  6. God's grace - Galatians 1:6
  7. God's faithfulness - 2 Timothy 2:13
  8. God's awesome power - Romans 1:16

Here is the gospel in 1 Cor 15:1-8

  1. Christ died for our sins - v. 3
  2. according to the scriptures - v. 3
  3. he was buried - v. 4
  4. he rose from the dead the third day - v. 4
  5. according to the scriptures - v. 4
  6. he was seen by 500+ eyewitnesses - vs. 5-8

Bearing shame and scoffing rude

In my place condemned he stood;

Sealed my pardon with his blood-

Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

What the biblical gospel is not

  1. Jesus loves everyone - true but that is not the gospel because it emphasizes the positive and ignores the negative
  2. all roads lead to heaven - false
  3. do your best and God will accept you - false
  4. because Jesus died, everyone is already saved - false
  5. behavior modification - does not save
  6. trying to live like Jesus - cannot save you
  7. trying to be a good person - will never satisfy God
  8. turning from all your sins - not part of the gospel

What does the biblical gospel teach us?

  1. Our sins are real and destine us for hell - Revelation 20:12-15
  2. Our need is real - we cannot save ourselves - Titus 3:5
  3. Our real sins must be paid for - Romans 3:23
  4. Jesus was our real substitute - 2 Cor 5:21
  5. Jesus' payment for our sins was real - 1 John 2:2
  6. Jesus' death was real - he was buried - Mark 15:46
  7. God's acceptance of Jesus' payment was real - 1 John 2:2
  8. God really raised him from the dead, proving that Jesus' payment was accepted by God the Father - John 2:19, Romans 8:11, 10:9
  9. Jesus' resurrection was real - he was seen by more than 500 eyewitnesses - 1 Corinthians 15:5-8

What is the gospel called?

  1. The gospel of God - Rom 1:1 - God is the source of the gospel. He did all the work to make it possible for us to be saved, while we were still his enemies, Rom 5:10.

  2. The gospel of Christ - Rom 1:16 - Jesus dying on the cross for our sins is the focus of the gospel, not joining a church or getting baptized or trying to clean up your life.

  3. The gospel of the grace of God - Acts 20:24 - The gospel leaves no room for human works. Getting saved is all about God's incredible free gift of grace, not something we can earn.

  4. The gospel of peace - Eph 6:15 - Salvation brings us peace with God, Rom 5:1, through our Lord Jesus Christ because when we believe the gospel we are justified by faith.

  5. My gospel - Rom 16:25 - The gospel we preach started with Paul and is for the church age. It is distinctively different than other gospels, like (a) the gospel of the kingdom which was preached during the earthly ministry of Christ and (b) the everlasting gospel which will be preached in the tribulation and (c) the false gospels of religious pretenders.

    How do we access the gospel?

    1. John 3:18 - believe and you are not condemned
    2. John 5:24 - believe and have everlasting life
    3. John 6:47 - believe and have everlasting life
    4. Acts 16:30-31 - believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

    Getting saved is always by grace alone
    through faith alone in the
    Lord Jesus Christ alone!

    We reject false gospels

    1. Acts 15:1 - the false gospel of adding works of the law like circumcision
    2. Galatians 1:6-10 - the false gospel of law-keeping brings damnation
    3. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 - the false gospel of Satan who blinds people to the glorious gospel of Christ, telling them they can get saved just by being a good person.
    4. A watered down false gospel focuses on getting rid of guilt or having a better life or Jesus as a prosperity gospel genie who grants all your wishes. A watered down false gospel talks about heaven (positive) but never mentions hell (negative).
    5. A legalistic false gospel focuses on things you must do like: turn from all your sins or get baptized in water or make Jesus Lord of your life or prove you got saved by doing good works. Good works should happen after you get saved but they are not part of the gospel. Good works are not part of getting saved. Rather, they are a result of getting saved.

    Jesus' gospel is exclusive

    1. John 14:6 - Jesus' gospel is the ONLY way to heaven
    2. Acts 4:12 - Jesus' name is the ONLY name which saves
    3. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 - God reconciled the world ONLY through Jesus
    4. 1 Timothy 2:5 - there is ONLY one God and one Mediator and that is Christ Jesus

    How to witness for Jesus.

    Jesus said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." - John 6:47

    Study Questions

    1. Is the gospel whatever anyone thinks it is or is the gospel a defined set of facts?

    2. Does the gospel contain both positive and negative truth?

    3. If we leave out the negative truth, that our sins were so horrific that Jesus had to die, suffering God's wrath to pay the penalty, have we truly shared the gospel?

    4. Is the gospel the power of God unto salvation or is it just another religious story?

    5. Who is the center of the gospel, Jesus or human beings?

    6. Is there any gospel apart from Jesus?

    7. In which Bible verses is the gospel found?

    8. Have you believed the gospel and trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin?

    9. Will you learn to share the gospel with people who need it?

    Yes, God saves homosexuals!

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    Photo by Jim Champion via Wikimedia Commons, Stone Cross on Ridge Hill in Cornwall, UK - Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 license.

    This page revised Nov 1, 2016

Comments for What is the gospel?

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Apr 23, 2014
Lexington, KY
by: Rory

Umm, gotta tell you guys, I'm surprised at this page about the gospel on a gay website. Kinda mind blowin' to me that gay peeps got it right.

Imma use some of this to teach others, if that's okay.

Rick's comment: Hi Rory - thanks for visiting our website. I hope you'll keep reading this website because we have lots of good information, and yes, you're welcome to use our material to teach God's truth to others.

"And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." - 2 Timothy 2:2

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