By David A. DePra
What is the gospel? — what is the true good news of God? The good news is wrapped up in a PERSON – a Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The good news is that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to do for human beings what human beings could not do for themselves. And what was that? God sent Christ to deliver us all from sin through His death on the Cross, and He sent Christ to usher in a new creation through His resurrection. He sent Christ to die and be raised so that we could be restored back to God.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He left that position in heaven and became a man. Such was the sacrifice He made to even come to this earth – Jesus was the Word of God – the only begotten Son of God – and God gave Him to us. This gift began when Jesus left the Father, and while remaining God, became a flesh and blood human being.
Christ Jesus, who existing in nature and character as God, did not consider equality with God a prize to be grasped at and retained for Himself. But He emptied Himself, and took upon himself the state of a servant, and He as God came to be in the likeness of men. (Phil 2:6-10)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
So Jesus voluntarily left His place in heaven, and became a human being. This was accomplished when He was conceived by the Spirit of God through the virgin Mary through a divine miracle. The virgin birth was essential because it means that Jesus did not begin to exist when He was conceived in Mary. No. Rather, He preexisted as God and was supernaturally transferred into Mary’s womb – now as a tiny life. This is the Immaculate Conception. This miracle conception made it possible for Him to be born as a human being, yet fully as the eternal Son of God. And since Jesus was born of a virgin, and not the product of human reproduction, it means He was not born of the fallen human race. He was born without a sin nature.
When Jesus was born of the virgin Mary into this world, that BEGAN His journey. He lived a perfectly sinless life for over 33 years. The Bible calls Him, “The Lamb of God without blemish.”
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)
For God has made Jesus to be like sin for us, even though Christ knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Cor 5:21)
Death and Resurrection
At the end of His sinless life, and at the end of the three and one-half years of ministry, Jesus offered Himself up to the Cross for us all.
And being seen and known as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus Christ did NOT die for an elect few. Jesus died for every human being that ever has, or ever will, live – and His Redemption paid for every sin that has ever been committed by every human being. Therefore, God offers Christ to ALL – no matter the sin, and no matter how old they are. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The good news is that Jesus died for ALL – and God invites all to come to Christ. But only those who do come and believe are saved.
Not only did Jesus win for us the forgiveness of God for all sin, but He also made possible for us to be DELIVERED from all bondage to sin. This is possible because Jesus did die FOR us – but He did die FOR US so that we could die and be raised to newness of life IN HIM.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death has no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he lives, he lives unto God. Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom 6:3-11)
So through His death, Jesus delivers us from all sin. But there is even more. Jesus delivers us from all the damage sin has done. Are you a person who has been hurt by your own sin or the sins of others – damaged? Jesus died to restore you. Some of those things take time. But there is redemption for everything in His Blood.
Christ in You
When a person see the Truth of the gospel and puts their faith in Jesus Christ, God gives them the gift of eternal life – yes, but more than that — God gives them Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ comes to dwell in those who receive Him – He becomes one with our human spirit. This is how we are, “planted into His death and resurrection,” – Christ dwells at one with us in spirit. But because of that, everything He has done on the Cross, and everything He is through His resurrection, is likewise given to us in Christ. Thus, Jesus Christ in us IS our salvation – He is our life. Christianity is, “Christ in us, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)
The good news of the gospel states that you and I do not need to do anything to be saved except, “Repent and believe on Christ.” That means that we must realize we are lost sinners, and desire to forsake our lives and any sin into the hands of God through Christ. Basically, it means that we cry out to God in need for salvation. It means that we come to the Cross and commit our entire trust for salvation to Jesus Christ and what He has done. We cannot earn salvation, and there is nothing we can do to KEEP saved. In fact, according to the Bible, good works are the outcome of salvation, and not the means of earning it.
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:8-10)
There are a couple of other places in the Bible where the gospel is clearly stated, either in part, or in whole:
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Tim 1:15)
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand….for I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
This is the simple gospel. For those who embrace it, what follows is everything that is found in Jesus Christ.