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What Is The Gospel?

What is Sin? Before we talk about the Gospel, let’s talk about Sin. The Scriptures say, “Sin is the transgression of God’s Law” (1 Jn 3:4). Sin is offensive to a holy God. Sin will result in guilt, sorrow, suffering, spiritual and physical death. But above all, Sin (if it goes unrepented) will result in eternal death (Ps. 1:6; 9:17; 37:9; Dan 12:2; Rev. 21:8). Beloved, God does not want Sin whatsoever in the life of His dear children, created in His image! (Gen 1:26-27).

Why does God hate Sin anyway? Because Sin is destructive to anything it touches. Because God is holy. Because Sin is the very antithesis of His nature—holiness. By nature, men are not holy, but God is. All righteousness is derived from God. Holiness is the most exalted of all His attributes. In Isaiah 6, the seraphim say God is “Holy, Holy, Holy” – in other words, He is the holiest. In Habakkuk 1:13, we are reminded that His eyes are purer “to behold evil.” Thus, a righteous God must deal with Sin for the good of the sinner and the glory of His name. God hates sin for the simple reason that Sin separates us from Him (Isa. 59:2). Sin always brings separation: It was Sin that caused Adam and Eve to run away from God and hide “among the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8). God hates Sin because it blinds us to the Truth (Jn. 17:17; Ps. 119:105; 2 Cor. 4:4); it lessens our love for Him (1 Jn. 2:15-16); it enslaves us and will eventually destroy us (Rom. 6:16); and because Sin brings death (Gen 2:17; 3:19; Pr. 21:16; Rom 6:23; 1 Cor 15:22, 56; Jas 1:15). Beloved, the fact that God hates Sin means that He hates being separated from us! Therefore, His love demands restoration, which in turn demands holiness.

The Scriptures reveal a God who has an overwhelming concern for the salvation of humanity— “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV) The Scriptures declare that "God is love" (1 John 4:8). He reaches out to humanity “with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). The God who extends the invitation to salvation is all-powerful. Still, His love necessitates His permitting each person to have freedom of choice in responding (Rev. 3:20, 21). Coercion, a method contrary to His character, can have no part in His strategy.

When Adam and Eve sinned, God took the initiative to search for them. The guilty pair, hearing the sound of their Creator, did not run joyfully to meet Him as they had done before. Instead, they hid. But God did not abandon them. Ever so persistently, He called, “Where are you?” With deep sorrow, God outlined the consequences of their disobedience—the pain, the difficulties, and death. Yet, in their hopeless situation, He revealed an excellent plan promising ultimate victory over sin and death (Gen. 3:15).

Later, following Israel's apostasy at Sinai, the Lord revealed His character to Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6–7, NKJV)

God's character reveals a unique blending of grace and justice, a willingness to forgive, and an unwillingness to clear the guilty. Only in the person of Christ can we understand how these character qualities can be reconciled to each other.

During the times of Israel's apostasy, God often pleaded longingly for His people to acknowledge their iniquity and return to Him (Jer. 3:12-14). But they spurned His gracious invitations (Jer. 5:3). An unrepentant attitude that mocks forgiveness makes punishment inevitable (Ps. 7:12).

God is merciful but cannot forgive those who cling to sin (Jer. 5:7). Pardon has a purpose. God wants to change sinners into saints: “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7, NKJV) His message of salvation clearly sounds throughout the world: “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22, NKJV)

Sin created a disposition of enmity against God (Col. 1:21). Consequently, we deserve the displeasure of God, who is "a consuming fire" against sin (Heb. 12:29; cf. Hab. 1:13). The solemn truth is that "all have sinned" (Rom. 3:23), all are "by nature children of wrath" (Eph. 2:3; cf. 5:6) and subject to death "for the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23).

Divine wrath is what Scripture calls God's reaction to sin and unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Deliberate rejection of God's revealed will—His law—provokes His righteous anger or wrath (2 Kings 17:16-18; 2 Chron. 36:16). All of us were doomed to die, but Christ took our place at Calvary.

What is the Gospel?

The word is derived from the Anglo-Saxon godspell denoting “glad tidings” or “good news.” In Romans 3:23; 6:23, the Apostle Paul writes, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Then he adds, “For the wages of sin is death” —[that’s the bad news]; “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”—[that’s the good news]. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16, NKJV). The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for our sins and rose again triumphantly and that He is coming again to take us home! That’s the gospel. The gospel is good news—the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is this “Good News” (John 3:16). The good news about God who willingly chose to identify with a sinful man to save him. The good news about Christ's vicarious, substitutionary, atoning death on the Cross of Calvary (Isa. 53:3, 4, 5, etc.). The good news is about His Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension to the Father. The good news about His Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary (Heb. 8:1-2), and the good news about His Second Coming and the Everlasting Life He provides.

Jesus Christ is “the good news of the Gospel.” He’s the report Isaiah and all other OT prophets spoke/ wrote about (Isa. 53:1). He’s the message that God will forgive sins, deliver from sin’s power, and give eternal hope (Rom.1:16; 1 Cor. 15:1–4)

Jesus Christ is “the good news of the Gospel.” According to Isaiah’s gospel, it is God alone who saves! Salvation is the Lord’s, and it comes as a gracious offer (Rom. 6:23). It also comes as a command to be obeyed (Rom.1:4–6; 2:8; 6:17; Acts 6:7, Rom.10:16). It is a command to believe, repent, and “obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:7, 8). 

Jesus Christ is more than a messenger of the gospel— “HE IS THE GOSPEL.” Listen to this quote: “Hanging upon the cross, Christ was the Gospel. This is our Message, Argument, Doctrine, Warning to the perishing world, Encouragement for the sorrowing, the Hope for every believer.” (SDA BC Vol. 7A p. 458). Therefore, the gospel is a historical event (past, present, future) and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

The gospel is the good news that God loved the world enough to give His begotten Son to die for our sins (John 3:16). The gospel is good news because our salvation and eternal life and home in heaven are guaranteed through Christ Jesus (John 14:1–4). In 1 Peter 1, the apostle Peter writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:3–4, NKJV)

The gospel is good news when we understand that we do not (and cannot) earn our salvation; the work of redemption and justification is complete, having been finished on the cross (John 19:30). Jesus is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2). The gospel is the good news that we, who were once enemies of God, have been reconciled by the blood of Christ and adopted into the family of God (Romans 5:10; John 1:12). “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). The gospel is the good news that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

To reject the gospel is to embrace the bad news. Condemnation before God is the result of a lack of faith in the Son of God, God’s only provision for salvation. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:17–18). God has given a doomed world good news: the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

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