Home > Church life, General > What is the gospel?

What is the gospel?

What is the gospel?

When I posted a version of this article over a year ago on my now-defunct blog, I kept seeing these Facebook posts from friends who, every so often, referred to “applying” or “remembering” or “resting in” the Gospel.

Reformed pastors, authors, bloggers, etc. are fond of using gospel in every verbal sense. The thing is, they do so to the point where it becomes another form of Christianese.

Last time I checked, Christianese never did anything worthwhile for anyone; in my mind, therefore, the verbage almost waters down the true, bonafide, 200-proof gospel. You don’t know if it has more to do with having a master’s degree in theology than with Jesus or what.

So, what is the gospel?

Now I would remind you, brothers,1 of the gospel gI preached to you, which you received, hin which you stand, 2and by which iyou are being saved, if you jhold fast to the word I preached to you—kunless you believed in vain.3 For lI delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died mfor our sins nin accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised oon the third day pin accordance with the Scriptures, – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV)

One detailed, long explanation reflecting a Reformed point of view comes from an article by Iain Murray in a 2000 issue of the Founders Journal.

Reformed guys sure like to write, don’t they 🙂

What concerns me the most is that, in all of the explanations from my Reformed brothers and sisters of what the gospel is and does and how it changes everything, that the core of the concept is being overlooked: the Gospel as good news.

The gospel at its core is not overly complicated, and Jesus never spoke as if He was trying to earn his Masters of Divinity from the Jewish priests.

It’s simple, really: we are damned by a Holy God for our sins. God’s only Son made a way for us to be forgiven for our sins and have them covered for all eternity by dying as a sacrifice on our behalf. If we only confess our sins, repent of them, and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, we will be reconciled to God.

Sometimes, simple is best.

I like Steve Brown’s definition:

What’s the Gospel? People are screwed up. If they go to Jesus, he will fix them, forgive them, love them and never let them go.


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  1. TonyP.
    August 16, 2010 at 11:40 am

    The simplicity is what makes it so hard, I think. We want hoops and hurdles.

  2. Captain Kevin
    August 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Thank you, Steve Brown! Thank you, Brian! Amen and Amen!

  3. LoriAnne
    August 17, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I would invite you to take a deeper look at Paul’s gospel. Doesn’t he take us beyond beyond being reconciled to God? Praise God for redemption and reconciliation! But these are only doors into into “Christ IN us, the hope of GLORY!” The Gospel Paul preached is the gospel of the Son revealed IN us by a risen and glorified Savior (Gal. 1:16); so that every man could be presented complete IN Christ (Col. 1:28). Paul does not teach about a gospel revealed TO us, but IN us. Paul speaks of the Spirit of adoption and sonship — this goes far beyond reconciliation. We are heirs with God and joint-heirs with Christ!! The blessings of the Spirit of God link us with the Lord who now resides in heaven — waiting for us to join Him as an heir! This is the mystery Paul speaks about. I don’t agree that this is a ‘simple gospel’ — there is a simple gospel to get us started as spiritual infants, but God the Father wants to take us on to maturity; we need to understand what Paul says about union with His Son– Paul’s gospel is the gospel of the Church. Look for this in His Epistles — read carefully and prayerfully — and you will see it!

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