Additional Resources on Understanding the Gospel

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This includes a few articles, some definitions of the gospel and descriptors of the gospel found in the Bible that I think are helpful in understanding what the gospel is.

This includes a few articles, some definitions of the gospel and descriptors of the gospel found in the Bible that I think are helpful in understanding what the gospel is.

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  • 1. Additional Resources on Understanding the Gospel 1. The Gospel in All its Forms – Tim Keller 2. What was the Message of Jesus? Conclusion – Mark Roberts 3. Basic Gospel Definitions – Various Authors 4. Basic Gospel Definitions – William Anderson 5. The Gospel – Long Versions – William Anderson 6. Descriptors of the Gospel in the Bible – William Anderson The Gospel in All its Forms by Tim KellerLike God, the gospel is both one and more than that.The gospel has been described as a pool in which a toddler can wade and yet an elephant canswim. It is both simple enough to tell to a child and profound enough for the greatest minds toexplore. Indeed, even angels never tire of looking into it (1 Peter 1:12). Humans are by no meansangels, however, so rather than contemplating it, we argue about it.A generation ago evangelicals agreed on "the simple gospel": (1) God made you and wants tohave a relationship with you, (2) but your sin separates you from God. (3) Jesus took thepunishment your sins deserved, (4) so if you repent from sins and trust in him for your salvation,you will be forgiven, justified, and accepted freely by grace, and indwelt with his Spirit until you dieand go to heaven.There are today at least two major criticisms of this simple formulation. Many say that it is tooindividualistic, that Christs salvation is not so much to bring individual happiness as to bringpeace, justice, and a new creation. A second criticism is that there is no one "simple gospel"because "everything is contextual" and the Bible itself contains many gospel presentations thatexist in tension with each other.No single gospel message?Lets take the second criticism first. The belief that there is no single basic gospel outline in theBible goes back at least to the Tubingen school of biblical scholarship, which insisted Paulsgospel of justification was sharply different from Jesus gospel of the kingdom. In the 20th century,British professor C.H. Dodd countered that there was one consensus gospel message in the Bible.Then, in turn, James Dunn argued in Unity and Diversity in the New Testament (1977) that thegospel formulations in the Bible are so different that we cant come up with a single outline.Now hundreds of websites of young Christian leaders complain that the older evangelical churchspent too much time reading Romans rather than Jesus declaration that "the kingdom of God is athand." But to be true to first-century Christians own understanding of the gospel, I believe wemust side with Dodd over Dunn. Paul is emphatic that the gospel he presents is the same as theone preached by the Jerusalem apostles. "Whether it was I or they," Paul says, referring to Peterand the others, "so we preached and so you believed" (1 Cor. 15:10-11). This statement assumesa single body of gospel content.One gospel, many formsSo yes, there must be one gospel, yet there are clearly different forms in which that one gospelcan be expressed. This is the Bibles own way of speaking of the gospel, and we should stick withit. Paul is an example. After insisting there is only one gospel (Gal. 1:8), he then speaks of beingentrusted with "the gospel of the uncircumcised" as opposed to the "gospel of the circumcised"(Gal. 2:7).
  • 2. When Paul spoke to Greeks, he confronted their cultures idol of speculation and philosophy withthe "foolishness" of the cross, and then presented Christs salvation as true wisdom. When hespoke to Jews, he confronted their cultures idol of power and accomplishment with the"weakness" of the cross, and then presented the gospel as true power (1 Cor. 1:22-25).One of Pauls gospel forms was tailored to Bible-believing people who thought they would bejustified by works on judgment day, and the other to pagans. These two approaches can bediscerned in Pauls speeches in the book of Acts, some to Jews and some to pagans.There are other forms of the gospel. Readers have always noticed that the kingdom language ofthe Synoptic Gospels is virtually missing in the Gospel of John, which usually talks instead aboutreceiving eternal life. However, when we compare Mark 10:17, 23-34 , Matthew 25:34, 46, andJohn 3:5, 6 and 17, we see that "entering the kingdom of God" and "receiving eternal life" arevirtually the same thing. Reading Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:15 and John 3:3, 5 together reveal thatconversion, the new birth, and receiving the kingdom of God "as a child" are the same move.Why, then, the difference in vocabulary between the Synoptics and John? As many scholars havepointed out, John emphasizes the individual and inward spiritual aspects of being in the kingdomof God. He is at pains to show that it is not basically an earthly social-political order (John 18:36).On the other hand, when the Synoptics talk of the kingdom, they lay out the real social andbehavioral changes that the gospel brings. We see in John and the Synoptics two more forms ofthe gospel—one that stresses the individual and the other the corporate aspect to our salvation.What, then, is the one simple gospel?Simon Gathercole distills a three-point outline that both Paul and the Synoptic writers held incommon. (See "The Gospel of Paul and the Gospel of the Kingdom" in Gods Power to Save, ed.Chris Green Apollos/Inter-Varsity Press, UK, 2006.) He writes that Pauls good news was, first,that Jesus was the promised Messianic King and Son of God come to earth as a servant, inhuman form. (Rom. 1:3-4; Phil. 2:4ff.)Second, by his death and resurrection, Jesus atoned for our sin and secured our justification bygrace, not by our works (1 Cor. 15:3ff.) Third, on the cross Jesus broke the dominion of sin andevil over us (Col. 2:13-15) and at his return he will complete what he began by the renewal of theentire material creation and the resurrection of our bodies (Rom 8:18ff.)Gathercole then traces these same three aspects in the Synoptics teaching that Jesus, theMessiah, is the divine Son of God (Mark 1:1) who died as a substitutionary ransom for the many(Mark 10:45), who has conquered the demonic present age with its sin and evil (Mark 1:14-2:10)and will return to regenerate the material world (Matt. 19:28.)If I had to put this outline in a single statement, I might do it like this: Through the person and workof Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin intofellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life togetherwith him forever.One of these elements was at the heart of the older gospel messages, namely, salvation is bygrace not works. It was the last element that was usually missing, namely that grace restoresnature, as the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck put it. When the third, "eschatological" element isleft out, Christians get the impression that nothing much about this world matters. Theoretically,grasping the full outline should make Christians interested in both evangelistic conversions as wellas service to our neighbor and working for peace and justice in the world. 2
  • 3. Feeling the tensionMy experience is that these individual and corporate aspects of the gospel do not live in easyharmony with one another in our preaching and church bodies. In fact, many communicators todaydeliberately pit them against each other.Those pushing the kingdom-corporate versions of the gospel define sin in almost exclusivelycorporate terms, such as racism, materialism, and militarism, as violations of Gods shalom orpeace. This often obscures how offensive sin is to God himself, and it usually mutes any emphasison Gods wrath. Also, the impression can be given that the gospel is "God is working for justiceand peace in the world, and you can too."While it is true that the coming new social order is "good news" to all sufferers, to speak about thegospel in terms of doing justice blurs the fact of salvation being all of grace, not works. And that isnot the way the word gospel is used in the New Testament.Recently I studied all the places in the Greek Bible where forms of the word gospel were used,and I was overwhelmed at how often it is used to denote not a way of life—not what we do—but averbal proclamation of what Jesus has done and how an individual gets right with God. Oftenpeople who talk about the good news as mainly doing peace and justice refer to it as "the gospelof the kingdom." But to receive the kingdom as a little child (Mt. 18:3) and to believe in Christsname and be born of God (Jn. 1:12-13) is the same thing—its the way one becomes a Christian(Jn. 3:3, 5).Having said this, I must admit that so many of us who revel in the classic gospel of "grace alonethrough faith alone in Christ alone" largely ignore the eschatological implications of the gospel.Texts like Luke 4:18 and Luke 6:20-35 show the implication of the gospel that the broken-hearted,unrecognized, and oppressed now have a central place in the economy of the Christiancommunity, while the powerful and successful are humbled. Paul tells Peter that attitudes of racialand cultural superiority are "not in line" with the gospel of grace (Gal 2:14). Generosity to the poorwill flow from those who are holding fast to the gospel as their profession (2 Cor. 9:13).In Romans 2:16 Paul says that Christs return to judge the earth was part of his gospel, and if youread Psalm 96:10ff youll know why. The earth will be renewed and even the trees will be singingfor joy. And if the trees will be able to dance and sing under the cosmos-renewing power of hisKingship—what will we be able to do?If this final renewal of the material world was part of Pauls good news, we should not be surprisedto see that Jesus healed and fed while preaching the gospel as signs and foretastes of this comingkingdom (Mt. 9:35).When we realize that Jesus is going to someday destroy hunger, disease, poverty, injustice, anddeath itself, it makes Christianity what C. S. Lewis called a "fighting religion" when we areconfronted with a city slum or a cancer ward. This full version of the gospel reminds us that Godcreated both the material and the spiritual, and is going to redeem both the material and thespiritual.The things that are now wrong with the material world he wants put right. Some avoid theimportance of working for justice and peace by pointing to 2 Peter 3:10-12, which seems to saythat this material world is going to be completely burned up at the final resurrection. But that is notwhat happened to Jesus body, which retained its nail prints, and Doug Moo makes a case for theworlds transformation, not replacement, in his essay on "Nature and the New Creation: NTEschatology and the Environment" available on line athttp://www.wheaton.edu/CACE/resources/onlinearticles/MooNature.pdf. 3
  • 4. Preaching the formsYou would expect me at this point now to explain how we can perfectly integrate the variousaspects of the gospel in our preaching. I cant because I havent. But heres how I try.1. I dont put all the gospel points into any one gospel presentation. I find it instructive thatthe New Testament writers themselves seldom, if ever, pack all of the aspects of the gospelequally in any one gospel address. When studying Pauls gospel speeches in the book of Acts, itis striking how much is always left out.He always leads with some points rather than others in an effort to connect with the baselinecultural narratives of his listeners. It is almost impossible to cover all the bases of the gospel with anon-believing listener without that persons eyes glazing over.Some parts simply engage her more than others, and, to begin with, a communicator should gowith those. Eventually, of course, you have to get to all the aspects of the full gospel in anyprocess of evangelism and discipleship. But you dont have to say everything every time.2. I use both a gospel for the "circumcised" and for the "uncircumcised." Just as Paul spokeabout a gospel for the more religious (the "circumcised") and for the pagan, so Ive found that myaudience in Manhattan contains both those with moralist, religious backgrounds as well as thosewith postmodern, pluralistic worldviews.There are people from other religions (Judaism, Islam), people with strong Catholic backgrounds,as well as those raised in conservative Protestant churches. People with a religious upbringingcan grasp the idea of sin as the violation of Gods moral law. That law can be explained in such away that they realize they fall short of it. In that context, Christ and his salvation can be presentedas the only hope of pardon for guilt. This, the traditional evangelical gospel of the last generation,is a "gospel for the circumcised."However, Manhattan is also filled with postmodern listeners who consider all moral statements tobe culturally relative and socially constructed. If you try to convict them of guilt for sexual lust, theywill simply say, "You have your standards, and I have mine." If you respond with a diatribe on thedangers of relativism, your listeners will simply feel scolded and distanced. Of course, postmodernpeople must at some point be challenged about their mushy views of truth, but there is a way tomake a credible and convicting gospel presentation to them even before you get into suchapologetic issues.I take a page from Kierkegaards The Sickness Unto Death and define sin as building your identity—your self-worth and happiness—on anything other than God. That is, I use the biblical definitionof sin as idolatry. That puts the emphasis not as much on "doing bad things" but on "making goodthings into ultimate things."Instead of telling them they are sinning because they are sleeping with their girlfriends orboyfriends, I tell them that they are sinning because they are looking to their romances to givetheir lives meaning, to justify and save them, to give them what they should be looking for fromGod. This idolatry leads to anxiety, obsessiveness, envy, and resentment. I have found that whenyou describe their lives in terms of idolatry, postmodern people do not give much resistance. ThenChrist and his salvation can be presented not (at this point) so much as their only hope forforgiveness, but as their only hope for freedom. This is my "gospel for the uncircumcised."3. I use both a "kingdom" and an "eternal life" gospel. I find that many of my younger listenersare struggling to make choices in a world of endless consumer options and are confused abouttheir own identities in a culture of self-creation and self-promotion. These are the people who are 4
  • 5. engaged well by the more individually-focused presentation of the gospel as free grace not works.This is a lot like the "eternal life gospel" of John. However, I have found many highly secularpeople over the age of 40 are not reached very well with any emphasis on personal problems.Many of them think they are doing very well, thank you. They are much more concerned about theproblems of the world—war, racism, poverty, and injustice. And they respond well to a synoptic-like "kingdom gospel."Instead of going into, say, one of the epistles and speaking of the gospel in terms of God, sin,Christ, and faith, I point out the story-arc of the Bible and speak of the gospel in terms of creation,fall, redemption, and restoration. We once had the world we all wanted—a world of peace andjustice, without death, disease, or conflict. But by turning from God we lost that world. Our sinunleashed forces of evil and destruction so that now "things fall apart" and everything ischaracterized by physical, social, and personal disintegration. Jesus Christ, however, came intothe world, died as a victim of injustice and as our substitute, bearing the penalty of our evil and sinon himself. This will enable him to some day judge the world and destroy all death and evil withoutdestroying us.4. I use them all and let each group overhear me preaching to the others. No one form of thegospel gives all the various aspects of the full gospel the same emphasis. If, then, you only preachone form, you are in great danger of giving your people an unbalanced diet of gospel-truth. Whatis the alternative? Dont preach just one gospel form. Thats not true to the various texts of theBible anyway. If you are preaching expositionally, different passages will convey different forms ofthe one gospel. Preach different texts and your people will hear all the points.Wont this confuse people? No, it stretches them. When one group—say, the postmodern—hearsa penetrating presentation of sin as idolatry, it opens them up to the concept of sin as grieving andoffending God. Sin as a personal affront to a perfect, holy God begins to make more sense, andwhen they hear this presented in another gospel form, it has credibility.When more traditional people with a developed understanding of moral guilt learn about thesubstitutionary atonement and forensic justification, they are comforted. But these classicdoctrines have profound implications for race relations and love for the poor, since they destroy allpride and self-justification.When more liberal people hear about the kingdom of God for the restoration of the world, it opensthem up to Christs kingship demanding obedience from them in their personal lives. In short,every gospel form, once it hits home, opens a person to the other points of the gospel made morevividly in other forms.Today there are many who doubt that there is just one gospel. That gives them the warrant toignore the gospel of atonement and justification. There are others who dont like to admit that thereare different forms to that one gospel. That smacks too much of "contextualization," a term theydislike. They cling to a single presentation that is often one-dimensional. Neither of theseapproaches is as true to the biblical material, nor as effective in actual ministry, as that whichunderstands that the Bible presents one gospel in several forms.Tim Keller is pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, New York. 5
  • 6. What was the Message of Jesus? Conclusion Mark RobertsThroughout this series on the message of Jesus I’ve attempted to answer the most common andcentral questions people have about his message. In this final post I want to review what we havelearned by summarizing my answers succinctly.What Was the Core of Jesus’ Message?The core of Jesus’ message was the proclamation of the coming of the kingdom of God: “The timeis fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark1:14-15).What is the Kingdom of God?The English phrase “kingdom of God” translates a Greek phrase from the gospels that refers notso much to the place where God rules as to the presence and power of God’s actual rule. Thekingdom or reign of God is here when God is exercising his authority on earth.How Did Jesus Proclaim the Kingdom of God?Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God in words (basic statements of fact, explanations, parables)and in works (healings, exorcisms, nature miracles, other symbolic gestures). What Jesus said, hedid. This not only illustrated the truth of his proclamation, but it also drew the people to him.Where is the Kingdom of God?Contrary to popular perceptions, the kingdom of God is not primarily in heaven or our hearts, but inall dimensions of reality. God’s reign impacts actions, thoughts, relationships, families, institutions,and governments.When is the Kingdom of God Coming?Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God as something present in his ministry, and also as somethingthat was still to come in glory. Thus the kingdom is not either present or future, but both presentand future. It is the “already and not yet kingdom.” It’s is already here, and not yet fully here. Thusit is rather like an engaged couple, a pregnant mother, or a finished but not quite yet graduateddoctoral student.How is the Kingdom of God Coming?According to Jesus, the reign of God will not come through a Jewish revolt against Rome. Thoughhe agreed with his Jewish contemporaries who looked forward to the coming of an anointeddeliverer, Jesus conceived of the work of the Messiah in radically unexpected terms. Rather thanconquering the Romans through force, Jesus, as Messiah or Son of Man, would die on a Romancross. Through this sacrificial action he would take God’s judgment upon himself, offering his lifeas a ransom for many. The new exodus, God’s new act of salvation, was taking place in Jesus,and would be culminated in his passion and resurrection.How Does the Message of Jesus Lead to Crucifixion?Throughout his ministry, Jesus consistently upset many of the religious and political leaders of theday. His proclamation of the kingdom through words and works made him a marked man, bothbecause he contradicted many of the core values of his opponents, and because he undermined 6
  • 7. their popular impact. But when Jesus “cleansed” the Temple in Jerusalem, this was the laststraw. He became a clear and present danger, not only to the Pharisees in Galilee, but to thepriestly hierarchy in Jerusalem, and to the Temple, the core institution of Judaism, and to thefragile peace of Judea. Thus he threatened the social order so essential to Roman domination.The leaders in Jerusalem, both Jewish and Roman, sought to crucify Jesus, both to get him out oftheir way and to warn others not to follow in his footsteps.Closing Thoughts: How Do We Follow Jesus?If Jesus came to inaugurate the reign of God on earth, if he proclaimed this message in words andworks, and if, in the end, this message led him to the cross, then how do we who believe in Jesusfollow him today? Let me offer a few brief suggestions:1. We should seek to live each moment in the reality of the kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Thekingdom of God has come near; repent and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15). This call is stillvalid today. When we accept God’s rule over our lives, we adopt values and priorities that areradically different than those of the world. Thus we make a U-turn; we repent and live our lives in abrand new direction, pointing toward God’s kingdom.2. We live in the world as salt and light. Like Jesus, both our words and our works should proclaimthe reality of the kingdom. We talk about the good news of what God has done in Christ, invitingothers to accept this gospel and live under God’s reign. And we live out this reign each day byloving our enemies, healing the sick, confronting evil, feeding the hungry, forgiving those whowrong us, and living as a active member of the community of Jesus.3. We take up our cross and follow Jesus each day. We who live in the community of Jesus mustseek, not to dominate others, but to serve them. We live, not for our own glory, but for God, towhom belongs the kingdom, and the glory, and the power.4. We live in the present power and the future hope of the resurrection. Although I have notspoken of the resurrection in this series on the message of Jesus, were it not for the fact thatJesus was raised from the dead on Easter, none of what I’ve said would have any valuewhatsoever. The message of Jesus would have been long forgotten as wishful thinking by onemore failed Jewish messianic pretender. The resurrection of Jesus persuaded his confused andbereaved disciples that he was who he said he was, and that his paradoxical “program” for thecoming of the kingdom had in fact been the right one. We who put our trust in Jesus today haveaccess to same power that raised Jesus from dead – the Holy Spirit who dwells in and among us(Ephesians 1:17-23). Moreover, we believe that Jesus’ resurrection prefigures our own, and thatone day we will live with him in the fullness of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15). This hopesustains us as we live today in the ambiguity of the “already and not yet” kingdom. Someday thekingdom of God will come in full power; the mustard seed will be fully grown, and the victory ofGod will be complete. In that day, God will wipe away every tear and his dwelling will be hereamong us (Revelation 21). Then we will join the heavenly chorus in singing, Basic Gospel Definitions – Various AuthorsAdam SmithThe gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ was sent by God into the world to save sinnersfrom eternal damnation; Jesus Christ, a perfect and righteous man who never committed a sin,took the sins of the world upon his back and was crucified on a cross; He was raised from thedead to forever reign in glory as our Lord, that whoever believes in Him and repents of their sinswill be saved. The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jewfirst and also to the Greek (Romans 1:16). 7
  • 8. Alan HigginsIt simply is this. We are all sinners and have broken God’s laws and as a result the wrath of Godabides on us. God must punish sin because he is holy and he SHOULD punish us all and throw usALL into the lake of fire but Christ showed his love to us by taking the punishment on the crossthat should have been ours, and dying on the cross provided a way out for us so that we canreceive the forgiveness of sins and be made righteous. Simply said, we broke the law, but Jesuspaid the fine. Unless a person repents and puts their trust in Christ ALONE, they will incur God’spunishment and his wrath.allsufficientgraceThe Gospel is not the news that we’re okay. It’s not the news that God is love. It’s not the newsthat Jesus wants to be our friend. It’s not the news that he has a wonderful plan or purpose for ourlife. …the gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross as a sacrificial substitute forsinners and rose again, making a way for us to be reconciled to God. It’s the news that the Judgewill become the Father, if only we repent and believe.Andrew ErringtonThe gospel is the message that God, in his love, has acted to redeem the world by sending hisown Son to become a human being, live a wonderful, obedient life, take upon himself thejudgment of God on sin in his death, and rise bodily from the dead, ascending to glory at the righthand of God, so that all who turn to him in repentance and faith receive forgiveness of sins and lifeby being united to him through his Spirit: in Jesus Christ there is salvation.Antioch NetworkThe gospel is the good news that God’s Kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection ofJesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah, in fulfillment of the Word of God.Darrin PatrickFundamentally, the gospel is the good news that the eternal Son of God entered our sinful worldand lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father, died as a sacrifice in the place of sinners, androse triumphantly as a sign of sin’s defeat and the Father’s acceptance. In all this, the Sonestablished a righteousness for those who had no righteousness of their own. Therefore, there is‘now no condemnation’ for those who trust in Christ alone. Jesus’ death and resurrection are thepermanent placeholders for the sinner’s right standing before the holy God.Darryl DashThe Gospel is about what God has accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ.This is big news. It involves rescue from judgment for sin and a restored relationship with God,and his restoration of creation.David PlattThe just and gracious God of the universe looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent His Son,Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to bear His wrath against sin on the cross and to show His powerover sin in the resurrection so that all who have faith in Him will be reconciled to God forever.Ed StetzerThe gospel is the good news that God, who is more holy than we can imagine, looked upon withcompassion, people, who are more sinful than we would possibly admit, and sent Jesus intohistory to establish his Kingdom and reconcile people and the world to himself. Jesus, whose loveis more extravagant than we can measure, came to sacrificially die for us so that, by His death andresurrection, we might gain through His grace what the Bible defines as new and eternal life. 8
  • 9. Graeme GoldsworthyThe gospel is the word about Jesus Christ and what he did for us in order to restore us to a rightrelationship with God.Jason SalamunWhat is the Gospel? The word gospel simply means “good news.” The central message of theBible is the gospel, or good news, about the person and work of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians15:1–4, Paul provides the most succinct summary of the gospel: the man Jesus is also God, orChrist, and died on a cross in our place, paying the penalty for our sins; three days later He rose toconquer sin and death and give the gift of salvation to all who believe in Him alone for eternal life.Jeff PurswellThe gospel is good news concerning Jesus and what he did to accomplish salvation for sinners.Joe ThornThe gospel is the good news of God’s redemptive work through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrectionto save sinners, establish a Kingdom, and renew all creation.John StottThe Biblical gospel of atonement is the good news of God satisfying himself by substituting himselffor us. The concept of substitution may be said then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation…For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God; while the essence of salvation is Godsubstituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only Goddeserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties whichbelong to man alone”Mark DeverThe good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. Butwe sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived aperfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself thepunishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from thedead, showing that God accepted Christs sacrifice and that Gods wrath against us has beenexhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. Ifwe repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.Michael SpencerThe good news of the kingdom is that the King died to save us.Mike BirdThe gospel is the good news that Gods Kingdom has come in the life, death, and resurrection ofJesus of Nazareth, the Lord and Messiah, in fulfillment of Israels Scriptures. The gospel evokesfaith, repentance and discipleship – its accompanying effects include the forgiveness of sins,justification, reconciliation, adoption, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.N. T. WrightThe gospel is the royal announcement that the crucified and risen Jesus, who died for our sins androse again according to the Scriptures, has been enthroned as the true Lord of the world. Whenthis gospel is preached, God calls people to salvation, out of sheer grace, leading them torepentance and faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord.Rick McKinleyThe Gospel is a royal announcement that the worlds’ King has come to us in Jesus and he isgoing to reconcile all things to himself on earth and in heaven. 9
  • 10. Rob WilkersonThat man needed to be made right with God before God comes to judge the world. And the onlyway to be made right with God is through a righteousness that is opposite our self-righteousnessThat kind of of righteousness belongs to God who is, however, willing to credit it to us who dontdeserve it. Meanwhile, our self-righteousness and the punishment it so richly deserves wascredited to Jesus Christ who didnt deserve any of it. On the cross, Jesus suffered the unmitigatedwrath of God to the last drop, so that those who desire to repent and live a life of faith followingJesus will be found in His group and therefore recipients of Gods eternal blessings rather thaneternal wrath.Robert A. GuelichThe “gospel” then is the message that God acted in and through Jesus Messiah, God’s anointedone, to effect God’s promise of shalom, salvation, God’s reign.’Scott ThomasThe Good News is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in His image to know him. Butwe sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In His great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived aperfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law himself and taking on himself thepunishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in him. He rose again from thedead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has beenexhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. Ifwe repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are bornagain into a new life, an eternal life with God.Sovereign Grace MinistriesJesus Christ is the gospel. The good news is revealed in his birth, life, death, resurrection, andascension. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel, his resurrection is the power of thegospel, and his ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary andpropitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice andappeases his holy wrath. It also demonstrates his mysterious love and reveals his amazing grace.Thabiti AnyabwileThe gospel or good news of Jesus Christ is that God the Father, who is holy and righteous in allhis ways, is angry with sinners and will punish sin. Man, who disobeys the rule of God, is alienatedfrom the love of God and in danger of an eternal and agonizing condemnation at the hands ofGod. But God, who is also rich in mercy, because of his great love, sent his eternal Son born bythe virgin Mary, to die as a ransom and a substitute for the sins of rebellious people. And now,through the perfect obedience of the Son of God and his willing death on the cross as payment forour sins, all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ, following him as Savior and Lord, will besaved from the wrath of God to come, declared just in his sight, have eternal life, and receive theSpirit of God as a foretaste of the glories of heaven with God himself.Tim Chester and Steve Timmis (from their book Total Church)"God made humanity to know him and to rule over his good creation. But humanity rejected God,and ever since we have lived in rebellion against him and in conflict with each other. But Godchose Abraham and his family to be the beginning of a new humanity. He rescued this peoplefrom slavery and made a covenant through which they could relate to him and display his glory tothe world. When they persistently rejected God, he promised a remnant who would continue thepromise of a people who know God. He promised a new covenant bringing forgiveness for sin andhis Law written on their hearts. Ultimately Jesus was that faithful remnant. He died for his peopleto redeem Gods new humanity. And he rose as the first among many who would enjoy new life ina new creation. God is now gathering his people through the mission of the church and willpresent them, drawn from all nations, as the perfected bride of his Son." 10
  • 11. Tim KellerThrough the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing usfrom judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we canenjoy our new life together with him forever.Trevor BurkeThat God the Father would desire and determine to redeem and adopt disobedient sons to Himselfand welcome them into His household is the essence of the Gospel.Tullian TchividijanThe Gospel is the good news that the determining factor in my relationship with God is not my pastor my present however good or bad it might be, but Christ’s past and His present.Unknown AuthorsThe Gospel is news about what Jesus has done. We subtly distort the Gospel when we make itabout us. The Gospel is more than “God loves you as you are.” It is God saves you as you are.The Gospel is news about Him not about us. It is the description of what he has done. We are thebeneficiaries, but God is the One who has acted to save us. We should dwell often on his personand work and less on ourselves.The Gospel is about God and what he has done in order that we will be saved from wrath. It is notabout our sense of purpose in life or our sense of meaning. It is not about our psychologicalproblems – our “issues” as we say. It is about something far deeper – it is called sin. It is not aboutour needs – it is about our standing before the God who is the Creator and Judge of all. It is not atherapy, it is a blood sacrifice. It is not moral advice for the well meaning, it is resurrection of thedead.The Gospel is about the gracious work of God to rescue rebels from his righteous judgment andmake them reflections of his glory once again.The gospel, in a nutshell, is that God has come to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Hesent His Son Jesus to pay for our sins because we cannot pay for them ourselves. He validatedthis payment with the resurrection of Jesus, and we can now have peace with God through Jesus.I have been thinking on Jesus present ministry at Gods right hand. Sad to say, I have almostcompletely neglected this theme in all my years as a Christian. Reading Hebrews has helped mesee that the Gospel is about the PERSON and WORK of Christ -- and the fruit of his death is hisexaltation as the God-man, Savior, Messiah, and Lord. My Savior stands at Gods right hand forme. But what does that mean?The Gospel is fundamentally a message that God has undertaken to accomplish by himself alonewhat the combined sweat and labor of the entire race of mankind has been unable to do -- torescue us from the evil within us and its consequences.“The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the person and work of Christ. Thisincludes his incarnation in which he took to himself full (yet sinless) human nature; his sinless lifewhich fulfilled the perfect law of God; his substitutionary death which paid the penalty for man’s sinand satisfied the righteous wrath of God; his resurrection demonstrating God’s satisfaction with hissacrifice; and his glorification and ascension to the right hand of the Father where he now reignsand intercedes for the church.” 11
  • 12. Basic Gospel Definitions - WilliamFocus on Jesus1. Why we need Jesus2. What Jesus did for us3. How we receive salvation through JesusMain Points from Man’s Perspective1. We have a problem - separation from God due to sin- consequences: judgment, hell and wrath2. We need a solution - Jesus is the only solution3. How we acquire the solution for ourselves - repentance and faithOther Considerations 1. God must be desired. It is not sufficient to want to escape punishment and have a heaven devoid of God. 2. One must recognize in some degree his or her own sinfulness, separation from God, and position as being worthy of God’s just judgment. 3. One must hope only in Christ as his or her own means of being saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to Him. 4. One must repent of his sin, and based on God’s gift of faith, pursue righteousness.Short DefinitionsThe Gospel is the good news about what God has done for us through Jesus.The gospel is the good news of what God has done in Jesus for our salvation.The gospel is the good news of what God has done through His Son Jesus Christ to restore Hisreign and rule over all creation and bring reconciliation to all those who repent and place their trustin Jesus.The gospel is the good news that God has fulfilled His promise to restore His reign and rule overall of creation and make reconciliation possible through the life, death and resurrection of His Son,Jesus if we repent and put our trust in Jesus.The gospel is the good news that we can be restored in our relationship with God now and foreverby turning from our sin to Jesus and placing our faith in Him so that we receive His perfectrighteousness and have the penalty for our sin paid for through His sacrifice on the cross.The gospel is the good news that, though we deserve judgment and hell, God has provided a wayfor us sinners to be restored to Himself, now and forever, through His Son Jesus, if we turn in ourhearts from sin to Jesus and receive by faith what He did on the cross for our sin.The gospel is the good news that God has provided the way for us to be restored in ourrelationship with Him and experience life with Him, now and forever in His eternal kingdom,through His Son, if we turn from sin to God and place our faith in Jesus.The gospel is the good news that through the sinless life, the sacrificial death on the cross and theresurrection of His Son Jesus, the Father has fulfilled His promise to restore His reign and ruleover all creation and to reconciled and adopt us into His family, if we turn from our rebellious sinback to God and embrace Jesus, putting our trust in Him and all that He did for us so we could bemade right with God. 12
  • 13. The gospel is the good news of God’s saving activity in the person and work of Christ. Thisincludes his incarnation in which he took to himself full (yet sinless) human nature; his sinless lifewhich fulfilled the perfect law of God; his substitutionary death which paid the penalty for man’s sinand satisfied the righteous wrath of God; his resurrection demonstrating God’s satisfaction with hissacrifice; and his glorification and ascension to the right hand of the Father where he now reignsand intercedes for the church.The gospel is the good news that Jesus has overcome Satan, sin, death and hell and restored thereign and rule of God over all creation through His sinless life and payment for our sin on thecross. Though we are separated from our Creator because of our sin we can now, through Jesus,be reconciled to God and become His children forever, if we turn back to God from our rebellionand rejection of Him and place our trust in Jesus, embracing Him as our savior and king.The essence or “heart” of the gospel is the good news about Jesus and all that He did for us, allthat he is doing and all that he will do. By the will of the Father, Jesus became a human being andlived a sinless life which fulfilled the perfect law of God. Then Jesus obediently went to the crossand suffered the wrath of the Father for every sin ever committed. After His death on the cross,Jesus was buried and rose again three days later, proving that Jesus was indeed sinless and thatGod’s wrath was satisfied for all sins. After 40 days of showing Himself to many people andteaching many things, He ascended to heaven where the Father exalted Him to the highest placeand where, at the right hand of the Father, He reigns and intercedes for the church. In the futureHe will return to set up His kingdom on the earth and eventually He will recreate and restore theheavens and earth to what God had intended from the beginning.Longer DefinitionThe Gospel is the good news that God, in His great love, has provided a way for us and all the restof His creation to be reconciled and restored to Himself. Without this provision, all we have to lookforward to is judgment day, when God will judge all that we did. We will be found guilty of sin and,most importantly, of rejecting His provision for our sin. As a result we will be sent to hell where wewill experience the full wrath of God for our sin. God’s provision for our sin is through His Son,Jesus Christ, who became a human being and lived a perfect sinless life, then sacrificially died ona cross for our sins, after which He was resurrected to new life and is now at the right hand of theFather waiting to return to set up his eternal kingdom. All those who have accepted God’sprovision in Jesus will be adopted by God as His children and will be with Jesus forever and ever.We need Jesus because we have sin against God. We rejected our Creator and have denied HimHis rightful place in our lives. Instead we have turned in our hearts from Him to be our own gods,to seek our own significance, purpose and happiness apart from Him. Because God is holy andjust, sin cannot be in His presence. So we are separated from Him and have only judgment, helland His wrath for our sin waiting for us after we die.But because of His great love and desire for relationship with us, God sent His Son Jesus in orderto provide a way for us to be restored to Himself and become His children, now and forever, in Hiseternal kingdom. Jesus lived a sinless life then went to the cross where the Father placed all of oursin upon Him. Because of our sin Jesus was separated from the Father for the first time in all ofeternity and then He experienced the wrath of God for every sin then He died. Since Jesus had nosin of His own, after He had paid the penalty for every sin, He rose from the dead proving He wasthe Son of God and that He had overcome sin making salvation possible for us.In order for us to receive salvation we need to recognize that we have sinned against God. Thatwe have rejected and rebelled against our Creator to be our own gods. We need to confess it toourselves and to God and then we need to turn in our hearts from sin back to God. Then we needto put our faith in Jesus and all that He did for us and embrace Him as our savior and king and livelife accordingly. 13
  • 14. The Gospel – Long Versions – WilliamVersion 1We are separated from God, the one who created us, because we have rejected Him and are inrebellion against Him. We have denied Him his rightful place in our hearts and lives. Instead, wehave chosen to be our own gods and have looked to created things to find meaning, purpose andhappiness, rather than looking to our Creator. This is called sin and from it flows all the “sins” wedo.After we die physically, there will come a day when we will have to stand before Jesus and give anaccount of our sin against God. Everything we ever thought or did will be revealed on that day andwe will be without excuse. He will even show us the times He tried to reach out in love to provideHimself as the way for us to be reconciled to God but that we rejected His offer.Since God is holy beyond our comprehension, sin cannot exist in His presence. Therefore, we willbe found guilty and cast into hell, the lake of fire, where we will experience the wrath of Godforever. There we will be separated from God forever, with no hope of ever being reconciled andrestored to Him.But there is good news, the greatest news ever! God does not want anyone to be sent to hell so,He sent His Son to provide a way for us to be reconciled and restored to Himself, by having oursin taken care of. Jesus came and lived a sinless life, then went obediently to the cross where theFather placed all the sins of the world on Him. As a result, Jesus was separated from His Fatherfor the first time in all of eternity and then He experienced the full wrath, the full punishment forevery sin. After Jesus paid the price for every sin, He rose again to life as proof that He wasindeed the Son of God and had fully satisfied the wrath of God for our sin.To receive God’s provision for our sin and be reconciled and restored to Him and become Hischildren, we need to recognize in our hearts that we have rejected Him and rebelled against Himand confess it with our mouths. Then, we need to turn from sin to God and place our trust in Jesusand all He did for us and commit ourselves totally to Him. As we place our faith in Jesus, we mustalso give Him his rightful place in our hearts and lives as our King, always following and obeyingHim, while we look forward to the day He will return and restore His kingdom here on the earthforever.Version 2The Gospel for us begins with the fact that we are separated from God due to our sin ofdisobeying Him and not giving Him His rightful place in our lives and hearts. Instead we havechosen to be our own gods and to do what we want regardless of what God says.We were created for God’s good pleasure, to have a loving relationship with Him. But for love toexist there needs to be the ability to choose to love or not, so God gave us the ability to choose.Sadly, we chose to reject God and to disobey Him, just like Satan did in eternity past. His pridewas his downfall as he was the most glorious of all that God created. Instead of appreciating whatGod had done for him he decided in his heart that he should be worshipped like the Most High.Tragically, we have fallen in his footsteps of wanting to be our own gods.Imagine this from God’s perspective! Before anything existed God was. He is spirit, invisible andeternal, without beginning and without end. Even though He exists outside of time He is presenteverywhere through all time and space. He is infinite in knowledge and wisdom and His ways arebeyond our ability to understand. He is all-powerful and able to do anything and everything that Hewills to do that is in harmony with His nature. He is beautiful, true, good and perfect in every waynever changing. 14
  • 15. By His will all things that exist were created. He is sovereign over His entire creation and does asHe pleases at all times. He alone is the source and giver of life, full of goodness to all that He hascreated. As He alone is life and the source of life, He is also love and the source of love. God isone in nature but exist in three divine persons- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For love to exist thereneeds to be relationship and in the Trinity there has always been perfect harmony and love.God is holy, righteous and just; He lives in unapproachable light, the light of His majesty andsplendor. He is jealous for His glory for He alone is glorious. Sin cannot exist in His presence. Hehates sin and because of His nature He brings judgment against it and destroys it by His righteousangry wrath.While God is holy, righteous and just He is also infinite in love, mercy, grace, kindness,compassion, faithfulness, and patience. In humility He seeks to see His creation become all thatHe intended it to be.What we deserve for our rejection and rebellion against God is judgment and hell. Everyone of usis guilty with no exception. We can’t blame others; we are responsible for the choices we havemade in our lives. This is indeed bad news.The bad news even gets worse! There is nothing we can do ourselves to restore our relationshipwith God. We can’t be good enough or do enough good things or be religious enough to earn ourway to Him.Because of that, what awaits us after the Lord Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom, is a daywhere we will have to stand before Him and give an account of our lives. We will be judged for ourdisobedience to God and for our rejection of Jesus which is God’s only provision for our sin. Hewill show us all the times He tried to reach out to us with His great love and how we rejected it andinstead hardened our hearts towards Him. Then He will tell us to leave Him and go to Hell wherewe will be separated from Him forever and where we will receive the full wrath of His judgment forour sin. There we will also spend all of eternity living with the knowledge that we rejected Jesus,the Father’s great expression of love for us.But there is good news, the greatest, most awesome news ever! God loves us and does not wantany of us to go to Hell. That is why He has provided a way for us to be restored in our relationshipwith Him through His Son.He sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life and to die on a cross. While on the cross God placedthe sin of the entire world upon Him and then poured out His wrath on His own Son for every sin.By this Jesus paid the price for every sin. On the cross He died then was buried and three dayslater He rose from the dead proving He was without any sin of His own and that God’s wrath wasfully satisfied for sin.Those that recognize their sin against God and confess it to Him and then turn in their hearts fromtheir disobedient rebellious ways and turn to Jesus, receiving by faith what He did on the cross fortheir sin and making Him their Lord, will be forgiven of their sin and God will send His Holy Spirit tolive within them making them spiritually alive and His children to be with Him forever.Some day soon Jesus is going to return and set up His kingdom here on the earth where He willrule in righteousness and truth. When He comes, all those who have turned from their sin andplaced their faith in Jesus, will be with Him and will rule with Him in His glorious kingdom. At thetime of His coming all those that are His will be transformed in the blink of an eye to be like Him,without sin and immortal. We will have physical bodies, yet they will also be spiritual bodies. 15
  • 16. Eventually all of the creation will burn in a blazing fire then God will create a new heaven andearth. At that time the new Jerusalem will come down from heaven from God. God will live withmen, He will be their God and they will be His people. He will wipe every tear and there will be nomore death or mourning or crying or pain. He will restore all things and make them new.Everything will be as God had originally intended from the very beginning. To the praise of Hisglory and grace! Descriptors of the Gospel in the BibleGospel 1. of God - Mark 1:14, Romans 1:1, Romans 15:16, 1 Thessalonians 2:2,8,9, 1 Peter 4:17 2. Gods - 2 Corinthians 11:7 3. of the blessed God - 1 Timothy 1:11 4. of the grace of God - Acts 20:24 5. of Jesus Christ Son of God - Mark 1:1 6. of Christ - Romans 15:19; 1 Cor 9:12; 2 Cor 2:12, 9:13, 10:14; Gal 1:7, Phil 1:27, 1 Thess 3:2 7. of our Lord Jesus - 2 Thessalonians 1:8 8. of His Son - Romans 1:9 9. of the glory of Christ - 2 Corinthians 4:4 10. of the kingdom - Matthew 4:23, 9:35, 24:14 11. of peace - Ephesians 6:15 12. of your salvation - Ephesians 1:13 13. not mans - Galatians 1:11 14. word of the gospel - Acts 15:7Good News 1. of a great joy - Luke 2:10 2. of peace through Jesus Christ - Acts 10:36 3. kingdom of God - Luke 4:43, 8:1, 16:16; Acts 8:12 4. about Jesus - Acts 8:35Other Descriptors Found in the Bible 1. eternal - Revelation 14:6 2. glorious - 1 Timothy 1:11 3. law of liberty - James 1:25, 2:12 4. message of reconciliation - 2 Corinthians 5:19 5. message of salvation - Acts 13:26 6. mystery of Christ - Colossians 4:3 7. power of God for salvation - Romans 1:16 8. wisdom of God – 1 Corinthians 1:24 9. word of the cross – 1 Corinthians 1:18 10. word of faith - Romans 10:8 11. word of life - Philippians 2:16 12. word of truth - Ephesians 1:13 13. word of the truth - Colossians 1:15 14. word of God - Acts 6:7, 8:14, 11:1, 12:24, 13:46, 17:13; Col 1:25, 1 Thes 2:13, 1 Peter 1:23 15. word of Christ - Romans 10:17, Colossians 3:16 16. word of the Lord - Acts 8:25,13:48-49;15:35-36;16:32;19:10,20; 1Thes 1:8; 2Thes 3:1;1Pe 1:25 16