Defining the Gospel

If you read Christian blogs, you will know that a current hot topic is defining what the term ‘gospel’ entails. I’ve read many definitions, but here’s one that ressonates with me.

“God created man in His image to glorify Him
Mankind rebelled against God in sin
The gospel is the good news of Godʼs provision of redemption
Through the atoning work of Jesus the Christ
Who died in our place for our sin on the cross
Rising from the grave to conquer Satan, sin and death
Giving new life to all who by grace
turn to Him in repentance and faith
Calling them to a life empowered by His Spirit
To accomplish the mission of His kingdom
To the glory of His name.”

Of course there is a difference between the gospel and the effects of the gospel. Don Carson explains it this way.

If the gospel is the (good) news about what God has done in Christ Jesus, there is ample place for including under “the gospel” the ways in which the kingdom has dawned and is coming, for tying this kingdom to Jesus’ death and resurrection, for demonstrating that the purpose of what God has done is to reconcile sinners to himself and finally to bring under one head a renovated and transformed new heaven and new earth, for talking about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, consequent upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Majesty on high, and above all for focusing attention on what Paul (and others–though the language I’m using here reflects Paul) sees as the matter “of first importance”: Christ crucified. All of this is what God has done; it is what we proclaim; it is the news, the great news, the good news.

For those that would like to read a collection of definitions, here’s a PDf of Gospel Definitions complied by Trevin Max.