There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. There is no greater message to be shared than that which we call the gospel. But as important as the gospel is, it is often given to huge distortions or over simplifications.
So, the first task in learning the gospel is to be sure we know what the gospel is.
Some people think they’re preaching the gospel when proclaim: “Come to Christ so you can have a purpose to your life.” Or “Christ will give you meaning to your life.” Or “Christ will help you achieve your goals in life.”
All of those things can be true, and they’re all important, but they miss what the heart of the gospel is all about.
We define the gospel this way, “The gospel is God’s plan to reconcile sinners to Himself for His glory and their good.”
The gospel is called the “good news” because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. At the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His sake but for the sake of His people.
He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. When you do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
This was, is and will remain God’s plan to reconcile sinners to Himself.
Let’s be sure that when we’re talking about the gospel, we understand that the good news is all about what God did in Christ to reconcile us to Himself. Everything else is secondary to this greatest need!