What is the Gospel? Seems like an easy question with an easy answer, but when asked to put it into words, are we able to? Are we able to clearly present the Gospel in such a way that a non-Christian would fully understand it?
The Enemy of Truth
There is no greater truth for us to be able to articulate, nor a greater truth to always have at the forefront of our minds. Since the beginning of the world, the enemy has tried to twist God’s Word, the most infamous example being the serpent asking Eve in the Garden, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” (Gen. 3:1). Then, in verse 4, then serpent directly contradicts God and manipulates Eve to eat the fruit.
The enemy has always attacked God’s Word. It seems like most Christians at least partially understand this. But what must be noted is how subtly the enemy will attack it. I think the greatest weapon against faith in Christ is not atheism, even though we always like talking about that one “atheist friend” that we have…The greatest weapon against faith in Christ are Christians who misrepresent the Gospel, or those who think they are born again but actually aren’t at all, and therefore don’t truly understand the Gospel themselves.
More than Acknowledging
I was one of these people for several years, until I heard a preacher give a message on Matthew 7:21-23. In the first part of this passage, Jesus states, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…” That was enough for me to ask lots of questions. I thought all we had to do was believe in Jesus? Call Him my Lord, and I’m good to go. If I “accept” Him as my Savior, I’ve done what I need to do, right?
The problem with “accepting Jesus” is that it’s nowhere to be found in Scripture. I understand what is meant by it by well-meaning sharers of the Gospel…but it can be very misleading. To “accept” seems synonymous with to “acknowledge.” But acknowledging who Jesus is doesn’t save you, for even Satan Himself would “acknowledge” that Jesus is God…”the demons believe, and shudder” (James 2:19).
What is the Gospel?
What is the Gospel, then, according to Scripture? It seems clear, throughout the New Testament, that these four core parts of the Gospel are always present in any presentation of the gospel, either explicitly or implicitly:
- God is our Creator, and we are accountable to Him (Gen. 1:1, 26-27; Ex. 34:6-7).
- Man has rejected Christ, and rebelled against God, and deserve eternal death (Rom. 3:10, 23; Rom. 6:23).
- Jesus died on the Cross, bearing our sin, and rose again defeating death (Jn 1:14; 2 Cor. 5:21; Isa. 53:6).
- If you repent (turn from your sin), and place your faith in Christ (believe), you are saved from your sin and from eternal death (Mk 1:15; Acts 20:21).
They’re not always in this order, nor are they always explicit (Number 1 was only implied in the passage we looked at this past Sunday- Acts 2:14-41), but these four truths seem to best sum up the Gospel, and are present at most explanations of the Gospel in the New Testament.
Does it really matter?
Does this matter? Are we being picky in pushing certain language in sharing the Gospel over others? No, we’re being biblical. The Gospel is the “power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), which is exactly why the Gospel is, and always will be, under attack. We must be clear, and we must be faithful in testifying in such a way that people will not be confused. He has saved us! Will you let Him use you to save others?