What Is The Gospel?

The Good News of Jesus Christ

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

The PS101 training course is for those who are interested in joining Poplar Springs Baptist Church as members. It’s also for those who would like to learn what healthy church membership means and grow into mature disciples of Jesus Christ with the family of God.

1. God

It all begins with God. In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth. God created the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, to rule over the garden. God told them they could eat from any tree that they wanted to in the garden, except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Everything was perfect in the garden. They had a perfect relationship with the land. A perfect relationship with each other. A perfect relationship with God.

2. Man

Until, they chose to rebel against God and eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. And, it brought about separation between them and God. Man has always tried to bridge this separation, on his own terms and in his own strength. Whether is building a ladder of morality and trying to be good enough for God, or even in the Old Testament example when men built a tower into the Heavens trying to reach God on their own. A more contemporary example comes from 1961, when the Russians were first successful in sending a man into outer space. Upon returning, the Russian cosmonaut remarked, “We have been to space, and we didn’t find God or Heaven there.” A popular professor and author, C. S. Lewis responded to the Russian cosmonaut. He said that looking for God in outer space is kind of like Hamlet, one of the characters in Shakespeare’s plays, looking for Shakespeare in the attic of his home. Lewis said, that for Hamlet to have a relationship with Shakespeare, Shakespeare would literally have to write himself into the story. That is the Gospel.

3. Christ

The Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Gospel is the account of God writing himself into human history. Almost 2,000 years ago, the Bible says that Jesus, in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, was born of a virgin. Even as a child, he lived a perfect life. At the age of 30, he began his public ministry. He attracted followers. For three years he taught, he healed, and he made bold claims such as saying that he alone was the only way to God. The religious and political leaders did not like these teachings. They invoked a riot against Jesus. They brought about false accusations leading to a trial and to his sentencing of death by public crucifixion.

The Bible says that while Jesus hung on the cross, that God placed all of the sin of all of mankind on Jesus. Jesus hung on the cross as our substitute. God made him, who knew no sin, to become sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. They took Jesus down from the cross, and they put him in a tomb. They rolled a large stone at the entrance of the tomb so no one could get in or out. There were Roman soldiers who were posted on guard to keep people from coming to take Jesus’ body. But on the third day, according to Scripture, he rose again. After being seen by many eyewitnesses, and giving instruction to his followers, he ascended back into the Heaven, where he now sits at the right hand of God and serves as our advocate before the Father.

4. Response

So, what does this have to do with you? The Bible says that we have all sinned, and that we all fall short of God’s standard of holiness. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. There is no way to get rid of the burden of sin on our own. God calls all men everywhere to believe in Christ, repent of sins, and trust Christ to live a new life. As we look back and believe in what God has done through the crucifixion, the burial, and the resurrection, as we repent and turn from our sins, as we trust Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we have peace with God and the forgiveness of sins.

So, let’s review. It all begins with God. Because of our sin, we’re separated from God. The Gospel is the account of God writing himself into human history. Jesus died in our place for our sins and rose again on the third day. As we believe in Christ, repent from our sins, and trust Jesus for new life, we have peace with God and forgiveness of sins.

Copyright © Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

—Acts 2:21

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