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November 1, 2012

What is the Gospel?

The English word gospel comes from a Greek word that means "good news".  The Christian gospel is the good news that God, in his grace and love, sent Jesus to rescue and restore all of his broken creation.

THE GOSPEL IS COMPREHENSIVE: At Hope Presbyterian, we often talk about “the comprehensive, holistic nature of the gospel”.  Men, women, boys and girls were meant to experience harmonious relationships with God, themselves, others and the world.  However, we don’t experience this harmony because everything in the world was broken by sin and is now fractured.  But Christ came.  Through his life, death and resurrection he is restoring all things1.  Our gospel message is the “good news of the kingdom of God”2, for in Christ God’s kind and benevolent rule is being made visible on earth again.

This is the good news announced by the prophets3 and offered to everyone.  The implications of this good news are multiple and varied, affecting all of our relationships and all aspects of life.

THE GOSPEL IS PERSONAL: It is especially important that we each understand the personal implications of the gospel.

The good news begins with bad news for each of us, telling us that sin is not just ‘out there’ in the broken world, but it is also ‘in us’.  That is, our situation with God is worse than we imagine it to be.  Though we do many good things, at a heart level we are rebels and enemies of God.  (For example, consider that even our good deeds are often veiled attempts to commend ourselves and make ourselves acceptable to God. When we do this, we are in essence acting as our own gods, treating God as our equal – or worse yet – as one who should owe us something in response to our good behavior.)

God, being the gentleman that He is, allows us to behave and think this way.  But we reap what we sow and it is not good.  In trying to live apart from God, we reap all that is not God.  Since God is life, we reap death, decay and destruction.  Since God is light, we reap darkness and confusion.  Since God is good and loving, we reap evil and hate.   And because of God’s justice, we stand condemned. As the Bible states, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death.”4

But the good news is also a message of grace.  In Jesus, God shows us a surprising kindness that we could never earn or deserve.5 Jesus came into the world and became man while not ceasing to be God.  He lived the perfect, obedient, joy-filled life that we could never live.  He then died a horrific death on the cross to pay for sin, fully satisfying the debt for all of his people throughout all time.

Now, through Jesus, we can be restored to God.  By turning our rebellion and self-justifying efforts and trusting all that Christ has accomplished for us, we begin a dynamic relationship with God and join him as participants in his great rescue plan. In restoring us to himself, God also restores us to ourselves, others and his world.

Wow! This is the amazing news of the gospel. And it all comes to us – not because we are special or better than someone else – it comes to us because of God’s gracious kindness.  Is it any wonder why people throughout the centuries have sung of God’s amazing grace?

1Colossians 1:20   2Luke 4:42   3 For example Isaiah 40:9, 52:7, 61:1  4 Romans 3:32, 6:23   5 Ephesians 2:8,9

To view a helpful resource on the gosple go here...

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