The gospel is the good news that the only true God, (Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 6:4; 2 Samuel 7:22; Isaiah 44:6; John 17:3; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2:5) the just (Genesis 18:25; Proverbs 17:15) and gracious (Titus 2:11; Ephesians 2:8 ) Creator of the universe, (Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 43:15) has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women (Romans 3:12, 23; Ephesians 2:1-3) and sent His Son Jesus, (Luke 1:31-35; John 1:14; 3:16) God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14; Hebrews 1:3) to bear God’s wrath against sin through His own substitutionary death on the cross (Romans 3:21-26; 1 John 2:2) and to show His power over sin and death in resurrection from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Revelation 1:17-18) so that everyone who turns from their sin (Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38) and their own desires (Luke 9:23-24; Galatians 2:20) and trusts in Jesus alone as Savior (Acts 2:36; John 3:16) and Lord (Romans 10:9-10; Philippians 2:9-11) will be reconciled to God (Romans 5:1, 9-11; Colossians 1:19-23.) forever (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:11-21:8).
The gospel is good news about God. It presupposes everything the Bible teaches about the only true God, and it is therefore unintelligible apart from biblical testimony to the character and activity of God. In particular, the gospel is rooted in the holiness of God and His righteous hatred against sin, and the love of God and His undeserved grace and mercy toward sinners. In order to be faithful to Scripture, gospel presentations must be God-centered, with His nature and His actions at the heart of the message.
The problem the gospel addresses is humanity’s sinful rebellion against God. Because God is holy and just, human rebellion rightly provokes His wrath and necessarily deserves eternal condemnation. While it is true that the gospel ministers to the consequences of sin in human life, in order to be faithful to Scripture, gospel presentations must identify the guilty rebellion of human sin as the root of our problem. Further, the gospel reveals the infinite severity of our problem, for an everlasting hell awaits every sinner who dies in this state of guilty rebellion against God.
The gospel centers around Jesus Christ. It is the good news that in Jesus, God the Son took on full humanity and became one of us while remaining fully God. It is the good news that in Jesus, the kingly rule of God has broken into human history. It is the good news that Jesus lived a life of perfect, sinless obedience—the life we should have lived—and then died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and to bear the wrath we deserve for our rebellion against God. Both in His life and in His death, Jesus traded places with us and served as our substitute. Further, the gospel is the good news that Jesus triumphed over sin and death in His glorious resurrection. It is the good news that He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father, and that even now He intercedes for His people. The gospel is the good news that Jesus will come again in glory, and that His kingdom will have no end. In order to be faithful to Scripture, then, gospel presentations must be explicit about the identity of Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, and Son of God, and about His sinless life, atoning death, and victorious resurrection as the only hope for the salvation for sinners.
The gospel is a call to repentance and faith. It is not just news; it is a royal summons for traitors against God to lay down their rebellion and return to Him through faith in Jesus. The gospel clearly declares there is no other way for sinners to be saved, and it categorically denies that sinners can earn their salvation by anything they do themselves. Consequently, in order to be faithful to Scripture, gospel presentations must challenge hearers to repent and believe the good news of Jesus, confessing Him as Lord.
God grants amazing treasures to those who embrace the gospel. Their sins are forgiven, and they stand before God not only completely justified in His sight, but also clothed in the very righteousness of Christ. They have been reconciled to God. They have been adopted by God and they are alive in Christ, having been born again by the Holy Spirit. They now possess the Holy Spirit as a down payment and foretaste of their inheritance in Christ. They are a part of the body of Christ, the church. They are kept by the power of God in salvation until they see Him face to face. They will one day be free from sin as they live with God forever in infinite joy and glory. These treasures, and not earthly health or prosperity, are the true gifts of the gospel, and gospel presentations must be clear about this if they are to be faithful to Scripture.