At the outset, I praise my Heavenly Father for placing this message in my heart.
In this series of three parts, permit me to begin with a basic question of Christian faith. What is the Gospel? The word gospel derives from the Old English god-spell (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”. The word Gospel is the shortened form of the word god-spell . It is considered the “good news” because it speaks about Kingdom of Messiah (all His followers are of the Kingdom), and of redemption through the life and death of Jesus, the central Christian message.
As Christians, if we are asked to define the Gospel Biblically, often our minds (considering the upbringing, I wouldn’t fault anyone) turn to John 3:16 which enshrines the agape love of God the father who gave His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins in order we the sinners are saved from the Holy God’s just wrath against our sins (I Thess 1:10). While on the subject, God hates sin which is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) in His sight. Period. So the price has to be paid. Jesus our Saviour paid the price on the Cross by His indescribable suffering on it. Our Heavenly Father is the Creator of every cell in our bodies, its support system and our eternal spirit and fairness quite naturally demands that we live our lives on His terms (which in ultimate analysis is again aimed at our welfare-His precious Creation) and not ours.
While arriving at the exact definition of the Gospel, it would serve us well to look at what Bible says about the Gospel. Didn’t somebody say that the Golden rule for proper Biblical understanding is “interpret Scripture by using the Scripture.” So how does the God-inspired Bible (2 Tim 3:16) itself define the word Gospel? Consider this New Testament Scripture portion culled from I Cor 15:1-4…
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.”
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”
The emboldened Scripture portion represents the accurate, Biblical definition of the word Gospel. The entire redemption plan was foretold by the Almighty God through His prophecies recorded in the scriptures lest anyone attribute His Sacrificial death on the Cross and subsequent Glorious redemption to some accident. If Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 describe His atoning work on the Cross then Psalms 16:9-11 and 40:1-3 speak about His miraculous resurrection. If anyone (whatever be his/her fallen condition) accepts this truth in his/her heart and confesses the same with his/her mouth, a new life is given to that person (Romans 10:9-10). Without confirmation of this life-transforming born-again experience, Baptism ought not to be given by the Church authorities, otherwise it would be reduced to no more than a farcical exercise of making “dry sinner emerge out of the Baptismal waters as the wet hypocrite.”
On the other hand, in genuine cases only the concerned person knows the height and depth of Divine, Blessed joy of salvation (Romans 4:6-8) that enters his/her life, which brings us to the next basic topic “great Salvation.”
Prayer: Father we are so thankful to the Gospel and Salvation which we receive on accepting it. Give us Your Spirit at all times to please you in everything we do. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
J and SM Ministries
(To access the rest of the “Back to the Basics” series, click Here)