Published on January 18th, 2014 | by Jeff Price0
Jesus Jargon: “Gospel”
Redemption, salvation, repentance; the Christian religion is replete with it’s share of distinctive jargon. The majority of which is so unfamiliar to some that it seems that at times we Christians are speaking a foreign language. But, if Christians were to select just one term to be esteemed so significant to the Christian vernacular that we should know it’s meaning inside and out and be able to relate it to non-Christians in a competent, precise way it would undoubtedly be “the Gospel”
What is the Gospel? To the non-Christian, the term “gospel” is nothing more than a word used to emphasize the absolute verity of something of which they are speaking. They will say things like, “…and that’s the gospel truth!” or “…and you can take that as gospel!” But, this portrayal of the term falls painfully short of the true meaning t of what the term actually encompasses.
The word, “Gospel”, is translated from Koine Greek to English as “the good news”. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word gospel as “The teachings of the Christian religion” or “Any of the first four books of the Christian Bible” or – as with the previous example – “Something accepted or promoted as infallible truth.” But, what does it mean – more to the point – what should it mean to a Christian?
“Do you know, my dear unsaved hearer, what God’s estimate of the Gospel is? Do you not know that it has been the chief subject of his thoughts and acts from all eternity? He looks on it as the grandest of all his works.” – Charles Spurgeon.
All Christians would be wise to espouse Pastor Spurgeon’s sentiments on the subject of the Gospel. The Gospel held prominence in Pastor Spurgeon’s life because he understood that it is of the utmost importance to our Lord; as is evidenced by Jesus’ instructions to His disciples in Mark 16:15 to “proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation.” Furthermore, Jesus did not intend the preaching of the Gospel to cease with the death of the disciples. In Matthew 24:14, we see that our Lord had intended the Gospel to be “a testimony to all nations until the end of the world comes.”
The obvious weightiness of the Gospel should be a concern to all true followers of Christ. In 2 Timothy 4:1-2 we are told that we should be ready to preach the Gospel at any time to both reprimand and encourage others. Ephesians 6:15 speaks of the Gospel in terms of battle gear for the feet. Why the feet? Battle gear for the feet in those days consisted of shoes fitted with nails on the soles to give firm footing and “greaves” (shin guards) for protection. Being able to stand firm on the Gospel offers protection – not from pain or death, but from the fear of both. This results in a readiness and a willingness to meet attacks. In short, the Gospel will aid us in our Christian march and help us to stand firm in the day of battle. The Gospel is so crucial to this world that we are told in Galatians 1:8 that if anyone teaches a gospel different than that of the Lord’s Gospel, that person will be cursed by God. Lastly, we see in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 that the Gospel is key to salvation. By faith we are saved through God’s grace, according to Ephesians 2:8. But where does our faith come from? According to the Bible it comes from hearing the Gospel. Romans 10:17.
So, what is the Gospel? What is this “good news” that Christians have a duty to share with the world? Well, to know the good news, you have to know the bad. The bad news is that no matter how moral we think we are or try to be, no matter how much others may sing our praises about what a wonderful person we are, our sin makes us repugnant in the eyes of God. We are born into a world that is corrupted by sin. That sin corrupts us and separates us from God without exception and there is nothing we can do about it. Romans 3:23. Isaiah 64:6. Some will say, “Well, God hates the sin, but loves the sinner!” But, this is not quite true. Psalms 5:4-6 tells us that the Lord hates the deceitful man. Who among has not lied or cheated or stolen at one point in our lives? Who among us has not broken at least one of the Ten Commandments? Who among us can unequivocally say that we love God with all of our heart, soul and mind – and here’s the big one; who among us can say that we love every other person in the world as much as we love ourselves? Matthew 22:37-40. Being a good person or even being almost perfect is still not good enough. God requires perfection of you if you desire to enter into His kingdom. This leads us to a most depressing question; if God sees us all as wretched and we are separated from Him – Isaiah 59:1-4 – because we are full of sin and we are too weak to resist sin and we can do nothing about it, what hope do we have? That hope is the Gospel.
The Gospel is a love story. It tells us that even though we are all sinners – Romans 3:23 – God still considers us His children and He loves us all so much that He devised a way to unite us to Him. John 3:16. And for those of His children who have faith enough in Him to seek Him and love Him back, there is hope. Proverbs 8:17. Hebrews 11:6. Not because of anything we can do, Isaiah 64:6, not because we have a good heart, Jeremiah 17:9 and not simply because of our faith in Him, but because of His free and unmerited favor. Ephesians 2:8. Romans 6:23. However, to achieve such a demanding outcome as cleansing those who seek God of their inequities so that they can be united to Him, a price had to be paid. God, Himself, paid that price for us through sacrifice.
According to God’s law, only the sacrifice of shed blood can counteract sin. This was the reason for the animal sacrifices that were so prominent throughout the Old Testament. And even then, being that sin has contaminated everything in God’s creation – Romans 8:20-21 – the shed blood of anything in this creation is ultimately insufficient. In order to completely neutralize the curse of sin, the blood sacrificed needed to come from something in God’s creation that was utterly and undeniably perfect. So, God – being the only thing that could satisfy such a requirement – 1Peter 1:18-19 – stepped out of glory and down into this corrupt world. He lived a sinless life then willingly gave it away. John 10:18. He was mocked, beaten, tortured and murdered so that His shed blood would abolish the curse of sin. And now, those who seek after God can step out of this corrupt world and into glory to live with our Holy Father forever!
Now that we have a good grasp of what the Gospel is, we as Christians have an obligation to share it. Here is where most Christians become uneasy. They wonder, “Where do I begin? What I say?” In sharing this “good news” with those who have yet to find God, we can approach it by adhering to a simple pattern much like this:
- To those who are wise enough to see, there is no doubt there is a God. It is evident in His creation. Psalm 19:1. And it is certainly evident in the wondrous complexity of the human body. Psalm 139:13-14.
- We were made in the very image of God Genesis 1:27 for His pleasure Philippians 2:13 and He wants us with Him forever John 6:40
- In order to be with God forever, we must be sinless on the day of judgment. Hebrews 9:27, Isaiah 59:2
- God is going to judge the world in righteousness according to the moral law Ecclesiastes 12:14, Romans 2:6-8
- Can any of us say that we have never lied or cheated or stolen at one point in our lives? Jesus said if we look at a person and lust we have committed adultery in our hearts. Matthew 5:28. Jesus also said that if you have ever hated someone , you have committed murder. 1 john 3:15. There are many more sins, but with just these few, the entirety of the human race is doomed because not one of us can truthfully say he or she has not committed at least one of the sins listed here.
- The bad news is, with sins charged against us on the day of judgment we will be consigned to an eternity of torment and separation from God
- But, there is good news! The bible says God is rich in mercy – Ephesians 2:4 – so He sent His son to pay the price for all our sins. Isaiah 53:4-5. And Christ’s sacrifice makes those who accept it to be perfect in God’s sight. Hebrews 10:14
- So, God has given us His grace. All you and I need to do is have faith in God. What does that mean? It means believing in God to the point to which we have a strong desire to take action – action that turns us from our sinful ways and turns us toward God; trusting only in Him. In other words, we need a faith that leads to repentance. Luke 13:3
“Salvation is of God and no one else. It is only through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can be forgiven of our sins and be united with the Father. This is a free gift of God; something we can not earn, something we do not deserve. Such a gift should make us grateful and give us a desire to serve the Lord always.” – Dr. Charles Stanley.
The importance of the Gospel is undeniable, thus the need for Christians to know what it is and how to present it is critical. And we Christians should be able and willing to preach it to anyone who will willingly listen.