What Is The Gospel?
Pastor Bruce M. Burkett
We live a world where we are continually bombarded with bad news. In the midst of such a society, it is a refreshing thing to hear some good news. That is precisely what the gospel is. It is a word that literally means “good news.” (And it is certainly good news for those who hear it!)
Yet, the gospel is something that is often used and abused today. To some it is a prosperity gospel — they believe that God rewards increases in your faith with increases in your health and wealth. To others it is a social gospel — they believe we are all the children of God and that we should try to make the world better by social reform and politics. To another group it is a gospel of good works — they believe if you keep all the church rules, do all the sacraments and work really hard to live a good life, God will accept you and let you go to heaven.
In the midst of all these opinions about the gospel, an important question needs to be asked: What does God say the Gospel is? God tells us in the Bible exactly what the Gospel is: “1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…3 how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (I Corinthians 15:1, 3-4) The gospel is simply Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It is not about anything you do to save yourself, it is all about everything Jesus has done to save you.
Here is the question that naturally follows: Why is the Gospel of Jesus so important for you today? As we look to the Bible, we discover three reasons why the Gospel is so important for you today.
1. Christ died to pay for your sins.
The Bible makes clear that each one of us are sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Sin is anything you think, say or do that breaks God’s law. Every one of us have thought things we shouldn’t think, said things we shouldn’t say and done things that we shouldn’t do; thus, we are sinners.
The reason we sin is because we are sinful people by our very nature. Psalm 51:5 says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” No one has to teach a child how to disobey; they learn how to do it all on their own. Why? They are born with an inclination to sin.
And here is the even harder reality: you do not deserve to be rewarded for all your sins, but you deserve to be punished for them. Romans 6:23 tells us that “For the wages of sin is death.” A wage is something you earn for something you do. What we deserve for sinning against God is death. (This is not just referring to physical death either, but an eternal death separated from God for all eternity in a place called Hell — Revelation 20:14-15.)
But the Gospel (good news) is that Christ died to pay the penalty for your sins. I Corinthians 15:4 says, “Christ died for our sins.” Romans 4:25 says, “[Christ] was delivered for our offenses.” Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
On the Cross, Jesus took your sins on Himself and suffered the punishment you deserved for every one of them. Hebrews 2:9 says that Jesus “by the grace of God [has tasted] death for every man.” Now, if you accept what Jesus has done for you, you can be forgiven of all your sin. Jesus was punished for you so that you can be saved.
2. Christ was buried to put away your sins.
After Jesus died, He was buried for three days. His burial reminds us that Jesus has forever laid to rest all our sins. Psalm 103:12 puts it this way: “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”
If you were to get up one day and start walking east, how long would it take you to get to the point where you were heading west? It would never happen! The east and the west never have a point where they meet. The Gospel (good news) is that, once you trust in Jesus to pay for your sins, your sins will never have a point where they will meet up with you again!
God has given all who believe in the gospel this promise: “[Your] sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:17) Once you trust Jesus to save, God doesn’t hold your sin over your head. He chooses to forget them — He’ll never bring them up again. Once you trust in Jesus to forgive you of your sins, you are forgiven forever!
3. Christ rose again to proclaim your salvation.
Three days after Jesus died, the Bible tells us He rose again! Romans 4:25 tells us why this is so important, “[Christ] was raised again for our justification.” What does it mean to justify something? One day, my daughter came home from school with a disciplinary note that said she had been caught standing on top of the bathroom counter. When I asked her why she had done this, she told me, “I needed be up there because I couldn’t reach my shoes to tie them.” (Hmm…I think not!) What was she doing? She was trying to justify her actions. (Trying to prove she was in the right.)
Our great problem before God is that we are not righteous. Romans 3:10 puts it bluntly: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” If you tried to stand before God and justify yourself, you would fail. No matter how much good you think you have done, if you have done wrong you can’t change that fact.
This is why it is important that Jesus rose again. You see, Jesus died to pay for the sins of all those who believe in Him; but it didn’t stop there! Three days later He rose again and ascended up to
Heaven to represent us before God the Judge. Now, when your case of sin is brought before God, you have somebody in Heaven who is your Advocate. Jesus forever stands reminding the Father that your sin debt has already been paid in full! The Bible says, “1 And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation (satisfactory payment) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2)
Thank God, there is somebody in Heaven today who can save you — His name is Jesus. He already died to paid for your sin, was buried and today He stands in Heaven well-able to declare you forgiven before God if you will let Him. This is why Hebrews 7:25 says, “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.” Not only can Jesus save you, but the Bible makes clear He is the only One who can save you: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
No matter how messed up your life is, the Gospel (good news) is that Jesus can save you. Today, if you understand you are a sinner in need of being saved from punishment, and if you believe that Jesus who died for your sin, was buried and rose again can offer you that salvation, you can be saved by calling out to Jesus trusting Him alone to save you. Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
In the midst of a world filled with bad news, this is the best news that you will ever hear! God loves you, He has sacrificed His own life to save you, and He wants you to know Him and trust Him today.
If you have never trusted Jesus to save you, I hope you will listen to what the Bible says on this matter and trust in Jesus today. If you have more questions about this, feel free to reach out to your pastor or to us here at Lighthouse. We would be so blessed to help you understand the gospel!