The Gospel is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for mankind’s sins and that He rose again 3 days later. That might be a simple sentence according to your English professor, but as your Theology professor, I promise, it’s 9-months pregnant with information. Instead of sharing with you what you know about the Gospel. Let me share with you some things you might not know.
1) The Gospel is even older than you think
God actually spoke to Adam and Eve right after they sinned. (Yeah, there’s not much older than that.) He essentially told them that they were condemned and then turned His attention to that ancient serpent that deceived them and said that one day a descendant of Eve would absolute wreck him – totally jack him up. That’s the Gospel – that a human (don’t forget that Jesus was human as well) would destroy Satan and his sinful empire. God got more specific as the birth of the Christ neared, but the earliest mention of the Gospel is right at the beginning.
2) If you don’t believe in sin, you can’t believe in the Gospel
The whole point of the Gospel is that humans were totally screwed because of sin. Perhaps the better term is that we all were spiritually dead because we have broken God’s laws. We live in a climate that wants to de-emphasize personal responsibility, and sin has in particular taken a back-seat to other human ideals like fairness, equality, and preference. God has drawn a line-in-the-sand and all human beings have trespassed across that line. Because we have sinned, we have to be punished by a holy God. The only punishment possible is an eternity in Hell. Jesus came to take that penalty in our place. He faced the full brunt of God’s wrath and experienced Hell on that cross. That’s the Gospel and it doesn’t make sense if there is no such thing as sin.
3) There’s nothing else quite like it
A “documentary” came out a couple years ago called Zeitgeist. It took several true facts and then a whole bunch of totally made up lies and tried to make it seem like Jesus and the Gospel are familiar tropes that keep popping up throughout time. The point being that Jesus and salvation are no different than the myriad of other religions out there. This could not be farther from the truth. Read this blog on Objectively, Jesus Is Better Than Your God if you want to find out why Jesus is just straight-up better than every other religious figure, but the Gospel is also better than any other salvific act. Jesus did all of it. We do none of it. He offers it to anyone for free. We can do nothing to earn it. The result is eternal life in heaven. NOTHING, COMES ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THAT!!!
4) The Gospel is the only way
If there was another way, Jesus would have taken it. The first time He got hit with that crazy whip, or the first nail goes into His body and there was ANY other way, Jesus would say, “Stop, Stop, Stop! I’m not going through this if being a Buddhist can also get people to heaven too. Screw this. Follow Buddha or Muhommed or whoever the heck you want.” Because Jesus didn’t do that it proves that the Gospel is the only hope for mankind. The only person that didn’t deserve to die, chose to die. He died for the sins of the world because if He loved humanity, there was no other hope that they had.
5) The Gospel hasn’t changed
There’s mention of the Gospel even earlier than this, but it’s super-clearly articulated in 1 Corinthians, which could have been written as early as 55 A.D. or just over 20 years after Christ died. In the 2,000 years since then the Gospel is still that Jesus Christ died on the cross for mankind’s sins and that He rose again 3 days later. Now we do things in church different and we can debate the values of that, but the true Gospel has not changed and will not change, for it is the only hope for humanity’s salvation.
6) The Gospel sometimes hurts people
If you are a Muslim living in the Middle East, then accepting the Gospel is going to get you kicked out of your family (or worse.) If you are a web-developer for a porn-site, or a drug dealer, or a part of some other illegal venture then you’re about to hit a serious internal conflict on your money-flow. In the short-term, I have seen the Gospel hurt marriages, dating relationships, families, and job prospects. So is it worth it? OF COURSE! There are eternal consequences at play. You’re not forcing them to believe in the Gospel, they saw the value in the Gospel. The local church has then been designed to help that person transition into their new life in Christ.
7) It is equally as important to Christians
The Gospel saves and the Gospel sustains. The Believer needs the Gospel just as much in their every day life as the first day they heard it. It keeps us in proper perspective to Christ. It reminds us of the hope, joy, and peace we have. It reminds us we are forgiven when we mess-up. The Gospel should become the reason for everything we do eventually. We get there slowly. The work He began in us, He will work to complete in us.
What do you think people might not know about the Gospel?