The Gospel Defined
The word Gospel simply means ‘good news’ and, broadly speaking, refers to the whole of Scripture; while more narrowly, refers to the good news concerning Jesus Christ and the way of salvation.
God delivers us from the penalty of our sin once and for all through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. We can have new life and be reconciled to God when we repent of our sins and turn to Jesus and confess Him as Lord.
The Gospel is the Center of the Church
Every church has a functional center, something that motivates what they do, how they do it, and how they understand who they are. Sometimes this “center” is not clearly defined and other times what is stated as the central motivation is not what really motivates church life. At Grace we aim to be a church that is centered on the Gospel. This means that the Gospel shapes the character of this church, the practices, commitments, and behavior of the church. Our desire is to be a church that brings all of life ‘in step with the gospel’ (Galatians 2:14).
The Gospel is the Center to Our Lives
The Gospel is not just the means of our salvation, but the means of our transformation. It is not simply deliverance from sin’s penalty, but release from sin’s power. The gospel is what makes us right with God (justification) and it is also what frees us to delight in God (sanctification). The Gospel is for both the unbeliever and the believer because it satisfies the unbeliever’s debt owed to God and it satisfies the believer’s inability to conquer the deadly power of sin.
Religion is about me. The Gospel is about Jesus.
Religion says that if we obey God, He will love us. The Gospel says that because God loved us through Jesus we can obey.
Religion says that the world is filled with both good and bad people. The Gospel says that the world is filled with bad people who are either repentant or unrepentant.
Religion says that you should trust in what you do as a good moral person. The Gospel says that you should trust in the perfect sinless life of Jesus because He alone is the only good and truly moral person to ever live.
The goal of religion is to get from God such things as health, wealth, insight, power, and control. The goal of the Gospel is not the gifts God gives, but rather God as the gift given to us by grace.
Religion is about what I have to do. The Gospel is about what I get to do?
Religion sees the hardships encountered in life as a form of punishment from God. The Gospel sees hardship in life as sanctifying affliction that reminds us of Jesus’ suffering and is used by God in love to make us more like Jesus.
Religion leads to an uncertainty about your standing before God because you never know if you have done enough to please God. The Gospel leads to a certainty about our standing before God because of the finished work of Jesus on our behalf on the cross.
Religion ends in either pride because I think I’m better than other people. or despair because I continually fall short of God’s commands. The Gospel ends in humble and confident joy because of the power of Jesus at work for us, in us, through us, and sometimes in spite us.