The gospel is the “good news” about the plan of God fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ. God became man in the person of Jesus; He is “God with us”. He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world. His death was for our sins and was foretold in the Old Testament (Isaiah 53:4-6, Micah 5:2). God raised Him from the dead, He ascended into heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), where He is now exalted at God’s right hand (Acts 2:33). The Holy Spirit, which is the promise of the Father, has been poured out in order to convict the world and bring eternal and abundant life into all those who believe and thus become part of the community of believers. This is the Gospel and it has profound implications for those who believe it and for those who reject it.
The message of the Gospel has the power to convict of sin. The proper response is confession and repentance. Repentance means to turn to God and agree with Him about who He is and about the sinful condition of the human heart. To believe the Gospel is to accept God’s offer of forgiveness and trust Jesus explicitly. This results in extraordinary benefits, such as right standing before God, new, abundant experience of life (John 10:10), entrance into a spiritual community of the Church (Acts 2:41-47), purpose and partnership in a great mission (Matthew 28:18-20), and eternal life.
To reject the Gospel, or to not believe in Jesus, has dire consequences, namely eternal condemnation (John 3:18).
I grew up in a Roman Catholic family, going to church every Sunday. I also went to Catholic school most of my life. I always seemed to have had a sensitivity toward spiritual matters. I thought of Jesus as my best friend. I never drank or smoked, or got involved with the wrong crowd, for which I am grateful. When I got involved in the youth group and began to attend different retreats and conferences, I started sensing a restlessness in my heart; I felt that I had to do something, or that I wasn’t right with God. I was being drawn to Him. I started listening to Christian radio and reading the Bible.
One night, when I was sleeping over at my friends house, our youth group minister invited us to a concert at Calvary Chapel. When I walked into the church I immediately noticed that everyone was smiling. There was such joy in that place! I also noticed that everyone was carrying a Bible I had never seen that before.
During the concert, I saw people singing along and lifting their hands in worship. The Holy Spirit was drawing me. It was at that event that I saw that God was real and He was trying to get my attention. When it was almost over, a man went to the stage and begin talking. Her was inviting people to accept Jesus and I was watching people come forward. Then, something happened that I have never forgot. Another man came to the stage, said something privately to the first individual and then said, “God has shown me that there are two young men here who know you need to give your lives to the Lord.” I knew this man was talking about my friend and I. Although I did not respond to that invitation that night, I went back to that church many times and begin to learn more and experience more of Christianity.
Finally, I came across the booklet “The Four Spiritual Laws” and saw the diagram of two circles representing two different lives. When I saw that there is a throne in the center of the Christian life, it all made sense to me. There is a throne in my life and Jesus needed to be on the throne. I prayed and asked Jesus to be on the throne of my life.
The Role of the Gospel in the Christian Life
Without the Gospel, there is no Christianity. The Gospel is the summary of the life and purpose of Jesus and the account of how God saves the world. When heard and understood, it brings order and a clear understanding of why life exists, who God is, and who mankind is.
The first step in the life of any Christian is to believe the Gospel; you cannot be a Christian without at least a rudimentary belief in the essence of the Gospel, that Jesus, the Messiah sent by God, died on the cross for the sin of the world, was buried, resurrected, and exalted into heaven so that anyone who believes in Him would be forgiven of their sin and have eternal life. Faith and trust in Jesus equates with salvation. The Gospel calls men and women everywhere to repent. This repentance brings life and freedom from guilt. Once a person has repented, the further effects of the Gospel are absolutely life-transforming. There is peace and joy and a realization that life now makes sense. The Spirit indwells the believer, giving him or her new power over sin and union with Christ. The person is now “in Christ” and Christ is in them. This is pervasive and changes everything about their life. They think differently, they view their vocation and relationships in a new light. They now have access to God, they have a new potential for character transformation as they allow love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control to radiate out of their life. This potential is something which they did not have before believing the Gospel. The Gospel empowers and gives victory over sin. Albeit not completely, the Christian has power to say “No” as the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin. Instead of “trying harder” the Gospel enables Christians to live the life of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Gospel also propels one into the community of faith. The Church is God’s people. All of life’s relationships are changed by the Gospel. The believer has a new family—a spiritual one. Often, believers feel and experience much more closeness to their spiritual family than the do their biological family. The Church is a place for Gospel believers to shine. They can use their gifts to advance the cause of Christ. This is huge! God has created everyone with gifts and talents and it is because of the Gospel the people can use those skills for God’s cause. The Church is also a place to grow spiritually and to be part of God’s plan for the world.
Finally, the Gospel gives hope. Christians are citizens of a new eternal kingdom. One day Jesus will come back, He will judge the world, and those who believe and trust in Him will be declared righteous and be able to enjoy eternal responsibility in a perfect, heavenly kingdom ruling and reigning with Christ.