What Is The Gospel?
The gospel is the good news that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as a substitute for sinners, God has come to reconcile individuals by His grace and renew the whole world for His glory. The Gospel is the central storyline of the Bible and of the entirety of human and world history. It is the story of redemption, the story of a just and loving God calling lost and rebellious creatures back to Himself. He has been writing this grand and glorious narrative of His goodness and grace since before time began (2 Timothy 1:9).
In the beginning, God created this world good and peaceful and offered us the opportunity of unbroken fellowship with Himself – for His glory. However, as Genesis 3 tells us, things went wrong. Through one man's disobedience, we fell from this joyful state of fellowship. Sin entered our hearts, the world became twisted and fractured, and all humans became subject to the penalty of sin: death, and eternal separation from God in hell.
The harmony and peace that creation once enjoyed were damaged by sin and broken in disrepair. Where once there had been no suffering or pain or death, now every human dies, and every human suffers innumerable pains and hardships before death. Life is no longer "the way things ought to be." All this pain and futility flows from man's arrogant yearning to be in God's place.
Even as God pronounced the curse over all creation, He held out the hope of redemption, promising that an offspring of Eve would crush the serpent and undo all that had gone wrong in the world. The prophets -- especially Isaiah -- anticipated this coming King with great, lofty, awe-inspiring visions of a time when the deserts would flower, the mountains would run with wine, lambs could lie down with lions, and all nature and all humans would look to God, walk with God, lean toward God and delight in God.
In the fullness of time, God sent His only Son, Jesus, Who came and lived a perfect, sinless life and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sin on the cross. Jesus endured God's wrath on behalf of sin. It was a dark and horrendous moment of suffering and death, yet peace, beauty and hope burst forth as Christ rose three days later from the grave. That which was broken God restored through his Son.
Through Christ, we are offered restoration and reconciliation. God takes what is broken and makes it new. He invites His children into relationship with Himself and into the newness of life found in Christ. Through repentance and faith in what Jesus did -- not by any effort of our own -- we are saved from the penalty of our sin, counted righteous in God's sight, adopted into His family, and given the Holy Spirit to empower us to walk in newness of life.
As the failure of the first Adam plunged the whole creation into corruption and decay, so the redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ, "the last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15:45) leads to the healing of the whole cosmos, making His blessings flow "far as the curse is found." The death and resurrection of Christ is the climax of God's eternal plan to unite all things -- things in heaven and earth -- in His Son (Ephesians 1:10). His design is that the entire cosmos be a united symphony, pouring forth the praises of Jesus Christ.
What God starts, He will bring to completion. The good news of the gospel will be consummated when Jesus returns to make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Those who have died believing in Christ will be raised with perfect, glorified bodies, and the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city, will come down from heaven to earth, purging all the sin and wickedness and futility of our present earthly existence.
The glory of God will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea, and the whole creation will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Christ's saving work is sufficient not only to renew individual sinners to eternal life, but to renew every inch of the universe for the display of God's honor and fame, "that he may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:28).
This is the good news that we love to celebrate at Joy Community Fellowship, the message that is of first importance (1 Corinthians 15:3). It is a gospel that is scaled to the awesome, unfathomable glory of our great God and Savior: Christ's atoning work reconciles sinners to God by His grace, and renews the whole world for His glory. That is good news!