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What is the Gospel? - Ryan Johnston

The gospel is more than an educational analysis. It brings new life and grows that new life, recreating it into the image of God. The gospel message is all about God and his love for humanity.

The beginnings of the gospel are found in the creation account and God’s original intent for man. The tragic turn of the gospel story is found in Genesis 3 in Adam and Eve’s rebellion against the reign of God. Throughout the Old Testament are found the results of the fall and the promises of God to resolve our great need of redemption. In the New Testament we see in the Gospels the promises of the Old Testament fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. In the Gospels we also see that he came, lived, died, rose, and ascended to the right hand of God. In the book of Acts, the gospel is proclaimed all over the world. In the letters the gospel is explained and encouraged to permeate into every area of life. In the book of Revelation the gospel is shown as the victory song of triumph.

The gospel is most clearly understood as the power and the purpose of God toward humanity in salvation. The power of God in salvation can be articulated in four words: God, sin, Jesus and faith. God created all things perfectly, but Adam and Eve chose to sin. As a result this world is broken and humanity is fallen. God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ into this world to die and rise from the dead. We can enter a relationship with him through placing our faith in Jesus and surrendering ourselves to live for him. This approach is common and would be defined as the power of the gospel and is narrow in its approach. Although narrow, it is accurate and is specifically what God has done.

The purpose of God in salvation can be articulated in four words: creation, fall, redemption and re-creation. God created all things in his image and intended peace for all his creation. Man, though, in rebellion sinned against God and chose his own way over the word of the Lord. This resulted in separation from God and the brokenness of the world. In response, God made a promise that he would make himself a people through the death, burial and resurrection of his Son. God fulfilled his promise and sent his Son to die on the cross and rise from the dead to redeem those he created in his own image. Now, through Jesus, we are able to enter into relationship with God our Creator. In this relationship he desires to re-create us and return us back to what he intended us to be. That progressively happens on earth, but one day we will be fully restored in heaven. This second approach is a fuller gospel that expresses the purpose of God in salvation.