The Gospel (The Good News)
This is the first in a four part series on “The Gospel”. What is the Gospel? Well, the English word gospel means “good news” or “good message”. And as such it is a correct translation of the original Greek word euangelion (Strong’s #2098). The basic biblical definition of the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV) Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Here Paul, the Apostle, outlines the doctrinal significance of the Gospel as part of the historical account of the early Church. But to convey what is good about the “good news” we need to explain the meaning of these historical accounts. By His sacrifice, Christ purchased salvation. Salvation is now available to everyone who would first believe on Him. The good news of the Gospel includes Christ dying for our sins, being buried, and rising again. Jesus’ victory over sin and death enables us to have eternal life. Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines gospel as “the good tidings of the Kingdom of God and of salvation through Christ, to be received by faith on the basis of His expiatory death, His burial, resurrection, and ascension.”
The good news then is that salvation is available to all who respond in faith to Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. This faith that saves includes the application of the gospel to our lives.
How does a person go about applying the gospel of the kingdom to their lives? What should our response be to this gospel message? Can we identify on a personal level with the good news of the gospel? In Romans 6:3-5, Paul explains how a person identifies with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Saving Faith and the Gospel
What is “saving faith”? It means to accept the gospel of Jesus as the sole means of our salvation. In this part, we have learned that the gospel is Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We apply that gospel to our lives by repentance (death to sin), water baptism (burial), and the Spirit baptism (new life in Christ). This is the manner in which we identify with the redemptive work of Christ. We obey the gospel by fulfilling these commands.
In subsequent chapters, we will study each component to find that the gospel presents a comprehensive remedy for every consequence of man’s sin.
We can say with the Apostle Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).
What Must We Believe?
Mark gives a good account of the importance of believing in the 16th Chapter of Mark:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mark 16:16 (KJV)
There’s a lot of force in this command to believe and be baptized. If we “believe” the gospel then we shall be “saved”. But what does it mean to be “saved”? From the Greek word sozo, the word “saved” means to preserve or rescue from natural dangers and afflictions; save from death; from demonic possession; or preserve from eternal death. The gospel “saves” or delivers us from all the power and effects of sin. Not only do we acknowledge Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but we also experience the gospel message.
We must also believe that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Messiah; He is the God-Man, the Incarnation and the seed of the woman. Jesus told His accusers:
If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.
John 8:24 (KJV)
Throughout the New Testament we read of the importance of believing that Jesus is the Christ:
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
John 20:31 (KJV)
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 (KJV)
Faith in Jesus Christ, and obedience to God’s Word leads to eternal life. We are “begotten” from the dead through the power of the Word.
In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV)
Faith alone does not save us, but it is the channel by which God communicates His gift of life to us. We cannot save ourselves by believing, but by believing we allow God to save us. By faith we repent, submit to water baptism, receive the Holy Spirit (Ghost), and follow a lifestyle of holiness. We start by faith and we live by faith!