What is the Gospel?

by Matt Slick

The gospel is the singularly most important communication of God to man. In Jesus, who is God the Son, we have the revelation of God’s love and sacrifice that saves us from God's righteous judgment upon sinners.

If you are not a Christian and want to know how to be forgiven of your sins and follow Christ or are just curious to know what the Christian gospel is, then this is for you.

The Bible tells us what the gospel is in 1 Cor. 15:1-4,

"Now I make known to you brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which 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 according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . . "

The Bible says that we are all sinners (Rom. 3:23). This means that we have all offended God. We have all broken His law. Therefore, we are guilty of having sinned. Because of this, we are separated from God (Isaiah 59:2), are dead in our sins (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:3), cannot please God (Rom. 3:10-11), and will suffer damnation (2 Thess. 1:9). The only way to escape this judgment is by receiving Christ--by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 2:24).

Since we are sinners, we are incapable of removing the guilt of our sinfulness through our own efforts. Gal. 2:21 says, " . . . if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly." The Law is the do’s and don’t’s of moral behavior. In other words, we can’t become righteous by what we do. Why? Because we are dead in our sins (Eph. 2:3).

This means that since we cannot remove our own sins, God must do it.

Jesus, who is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14; 8:58; Col. 2:9), bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24). He died in our place. He paid the penalty of breaking the Law of God that should have fallen upon us. He satisfied the law of God the Father by dying on the cross.

It is only through Jesus that we can escape the penalty that God will execute upon all who have broken his holy and perfect law. Do you want to be saved from the righteous judgment of God? If so, if you want to become a Christian and follow God, then you must realize that you have sinned against God and are under his judgment. You must look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did in order for you to be forgiven of your sentence and be saved from the judgment of God. This is accomplished by faith alone in what Jesus has done. You cannot add any human works to what Jesus has done.

Count the cost

Jesus said, "For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14:28). Jesus tells us to count the cost. The cost of becoming a Christian can be quite high sometimes. In some parts of the world it can cost you your life. Here in America, it is not nearly as dangerous. Nevertheless, if you become a Christian, God will take it very seriously. He will work in your heart and in your life to change you and make you more like him. Sometimes this is an easy journey, and other times it can be difficult. But, this is what it means to become a Christian--to have God work in your life and to continue to work in your life after you have been saved.

Receive Christ

If you desire to receive Christ, we offer the following prayer as an example. It is not a formula, but it is a representation of what it means to trust in Christ.

"Lord Jesus. I come to you and confess that I am a sinner, that I have lied, thought evil in my heart, and broken your law. Please forgive me of my sins. I trust in what you have done on the cross, and I receive you. I believe that you have died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead for my sins. Please cleanse me of my sin and be the Lord of my life. I trust you completely for the forgiveness of my sins and put no trust in my own efforts of righteousness. Lord Jesus, please save me as I receive you and believe what you did on the cross is the only way to be saved from the righteous judgment of God the Father."

If you have prayed the prayer truthfully and faithfully, then you have obeyed Christ and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15). You've done so because God has granted that you come to Christ (John 6:65), worked belief in you (John 6:29), and granted that you believe (Phil. 1:29).

Now tell others about your commitment to Jesus. The Bible says, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation" (Rom. 10:9-10).

In Jesus,

Matt Slick

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List of some scriptures referenced above:

  • Isaiah 59:2, "Your sins have caused a separation between you and your God . . . "
  • John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
  • John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
  • John 8:58, "Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am."
  • John 14:6, "Jesus *said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
  • Acts 4:12, "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."
  • Romans 3:10-11, "as it is written,’ There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God . . . ’"
  • Romans 3:23, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
  • Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
  • Romans 10:9-10, "if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
  • Ephesians 2:3, "Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."
  • Colossians 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,"
  • 2 Thess. 1:9, "And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,"
  • 1 Pet. 2:24, "and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed."

 

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