What is “the Gospel”?
The word “Gospel” derives from old English, “God spell”, literally, “Good news”.
Based on facts :
- Jesus was born of the virgin Mary
- Lived a sinless life in accordance to God’s law
- Died an undeserved criminal’s death
- Buried in a borrowed tomb
- Bodily resurrected on the 3rd day
- Ascended bodily to heaven promising to return
We are sinners deserving a sinner’s death. The wrath we deserve was poured onto Jesus on the cross, separating Him from His Father. Bottom line, it doesnt matter whether we are “totally depraved” or not: we’ve all sinned at some point in our lives and we therefore dont have a spotless record before God.
James 2:14 – faith without works is dead.
Ephesians 2:1-10 – saved by grace to god works.
But, who can respond?
John 3:16-17 – anyone can. That’s why it’s good news! No matter what we have done, or what excuse we can come up with, the good news of the gospel still applies to you.
So why did Jesus come?
Was it to save souls, or save lives?
John 10:10 – He came to bring life.
1 John 3:8 – He came to destroy the work of the evil one.
Deriving somewhat from a “fire escape” or “insurance policy” mentality. It is often presented to people as the minimum that needs to be done to guarantee their place in heaven. It leads to us thinking in terms of “saving souls” and forgetting they need to live redeemed lives after that point. The “sinner’s prayer” is a great starting point / checklist, to be applied more specifically by people.
Am I a sinner? What do I need to repent of? Is restitution needed? Where does baptism fit into the picture? Do I need to specifically confess certain sins?
Salvation is a walk along the “narrow way”, not an event. It has a definite starting point (past tense), we work our salvation with fear and trembling (present continuous tense) and look forward to the return of Jesus, when we’ll be perfected and our salvation completed (future tense). Repentance begins when we come to faith but should increase as our walk with God draws us closer to Him and reveals more of ourselves. In theory, there should be more repentance after conversion than in the process of conversion!
It’s one thing to walk through the narrow gate. Its quite another to continue walking once there.