In the Christian world, we use a lot of jargon. Jargon is just insider language that people of a specific group use to discuss things they all know about. We say things like, “Are you pre-trib, mid trib, or post trib?,” “I need an accountability partner” or very often, “We need to preach the gospel!”
We say that last one because Jesus told us to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But what did He actually mean when He said that? What, exactly, is the gospel and are we really preaching it? To be honest, I think that many Christians would be hard pressed to define the gospel. I’ll go even further. I think that many people in the body of Christ have never heard the gospel peached in its fullness the way Paul and the other apostles preached it.
The word “gospel” literally means “extremely good news.” How often have you come home from church thinking, “Wow, that was some extremely good news I heard this morning!”? What has happened is that we’ve changed the word “gospel” to mean just any teaching out of the Bible, but that’s not what Jesus meant when He said to preach the gospel. There are lots of great principles in the Bible, and I’m for teaching all of them, but it’s wrong to teach any concept out of the Bible and call it the gospel.
I could find scriptures that teach that sinners deserve to go to hell, and that it’s an eternal place of fire and torment. Those are true statements, but they aren’t good news. By themselves, they aren’t the gospel. The good news is that even though hell is real, you don’t have to go there!
Paul defined the gospel for us in Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith”
Paul says that the gospel reveals the righteousness of God—which he defines as the fact that the righteous will live by faith. What does this mean? Paul is saying that the gospel is a specific message, which reveals to people God’s strategy for making men right with Him.
The reason that this message is such good news, is that God’s way of making people right with Him isn’t what a lot of us thought. We don’t get right with God by keeping a bunch of rules. We don’t get right with Him by fasting and praying really hard. We don’t even get right with God by coming to church. We get right with God and stay right with God by faith.
What does that mean? It means that instead of trusting ourselves (self-righteousness), we just put simple trust in Jesus to make us right with God (faith-righteousness). Most people get this when it comes to getting saved initially. But we’re supposed to live every day by faith. Instead of asking God to save us, heal us, forgive us, bless us, etc. because we’ve done so many good things, or avoided so many bad things, we are supposed approach God on the basis of what Jesus did for us.
This is extremely good news, because none of us have done enough good things to deserve anything from God. Trying to earn things from God is called legalism, and it’s one of the biggest problems that many Christians face. If you’ve ever felt like you weren’t good enough to receive something from God, or if you’ve ever been afraid that God might reject you or not help you because of something you’ve done, chances are you’re in legalism. That just means you’re thinking that God is dealing with you on the basis of your performance.
I’ve got good news for you! The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is simply this: Jesus paid for and secured all the promises of God on your behalf. 2 Corinthians 1:20 says it this way: “For in Him all the promises of God are yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us!”
If you’re wondering if God will save you, forgiven you, heal you, prosper you etc. He already gave a resounding, “Yes!” on the cross 2000 years ago. This is why the gospel is so scandalous, because you didn’t earn it—in fact you weren’t even born yet! What makes you qualified to be saved, healed, delivered, have your prayers answered etc. isn’t anything you’ve done. The only thing that qualifies you is just putting simple faith in what Jesus did on the cross!
I want to encourage you to stop striving to work your way into receiving something from God, and simply relax and by faith believe that everything is already yours because of Jesus!
If you’d like more information about what the Gospel actually is, and how it affects you, I’d encourage you to listen to our series entitled What is the Gospel? at CharisKingdomChurch.com