Getting the gospel right is critical. The word “gospel” comes from the Greek word euangelion, which literally means “good news”. It is good news because it contains the message of God’s salvation to sinful man. It contains the declaration of deliverance from sin. If we are going to get the gospel right, it is essential that we understand the necessary components of the gospel message.
A Right Understanding of God
Who is God? God is the creator of the “heavens and the earth” (), He makes everything in the universe work (), and He rules over the entire universe (). The Bible says that there is one God (Is. 44:6). Though there is only one God, He exists in three Persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (). God is holy in all His perfections () and all humanity owes Him their complete love and obedience.
A Right Understanding of Sin
Sin is any thought or act that does not conform to the Word of God. To sin is to miss the mark of God’s standard and it is the committing of an actual transgression. Every person is a sinner () and every person must be judged and punished by God ().
A Right Understanding of Man
All people are made in the likeness of God (), however this similitude has been marred by sin. All people are sinful () and dead in their trespasses and sins (). For this reason, we are estranged from God (; ) and in need of reconciliation. In our sinful condition we are unable in and of ourselves to earn or obtain salvation. We are in need of a righteousness outside of ourselves ().
A Right Understanding of Christ
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God (; ). At the Divinely appointed time in history, He was sent into the world “born of woman, born under the law” () so as to save sinners (). Jesus Christ is without sin and was a substitute for sinners ().
A Right Understanding of the Cross
The cross has become a religious symbol for many. Sadly, this is only a symbol and a religious add-on to their lives. We need to know and remember that there is a deep and profound meaning when we think of the cross of Christ. In the first century the cross was the place where painful and gruesome public execution occurred. The horrific event of the Lord Jesus Christ being crucified on the cross was not an event that captured the Lord by surprise (Acts 2:23). At the cross the Lord Jesus Christ suffered for sins as a substitute for sinners (1 Pet. 3:18). This is how salvation for sinners was secured.
A Right Understanding of Grace
On what basis does God save sinners? The glorious gift of salvation comes to the sinner by grace (). Grace is the undeserved gift of God’s favour and goodness in providing salvation. Such grace is truly amazing.
A Right Understanding of Repentance
Repentance is something that is ignored or redefined by many when it comes to preaching the gospel. Despite such practices, the Word of God remains clear. Repentance was a part of Christ’s preaching (; ) and the apostolic preaching (). Repentance refers to the God given ability to recognise our sin, to detest it and turn from it as we embrace Christ in faith.
A Right Understanding of Faith
Saving faith does not trust in or rely on one’s own achievements; instead, the object of trust and reliance is the Lord Jesus Christ. Genuine saving faith is the recognition that we have nothing to offer God in-order to be forgiven of our sin and be saved. Faith is God’s appointed means in-order for us to receive salvation. Therefore, faith is coming to God on the grounds of grace – having nothing to offer – and trusting and adhering to Christ as Lord.
A Right Understanding of Works
We cannot be saved by means of our works. In fact, our best works in the sight of God are filthy rags (cf. Is. 64:6). The only works that save a sinner are the works of Jesus Christ. But once an individual embraces the gospel (by faith in Jesus Christ) their life will be followed by works (). These works are the natural outflow of the child of God. In the words of Martin Luther, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”
1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
6 “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.
3 Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases.
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
5:1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.
19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent,
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.