This is the first of two articles and you are encouraged to read both, but this one first. The gospel is at the very center of Christianity and our personal salvation. It is an announcement of something God has done for us. The word gospel means ‘good news’ and indeed better news is not possible!
In perhaps the simplest form, the gospel is the deity, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the offer of salvation to those who trust in Him. Our salvation depends on our response to this good news with repentance and faith (trust).
God is loving, holy and just. Many people misunderstand the nature of God by believing that He is only love. But God clearly states that He is holy and expects His people to be holy (Leviticus 19:2). He also clearly states that the result of sin is death (Ezekiel 18:4). God’s absolute holiness demands that there be no sin in His presence, and His absolute justice requires the death penalty for sin. The cross of Christ is where God’s love and God’s justice meet. Jesus Christ endured the penalty that we deserve.
It is interesting to hear non-Christians opine how they could not appreciate, much less worship, a God that punishes their own sin. But, how their story changes when some horrific evil is perpetrated upon them. Then they want, even demand, a God of justice to set things right. Indeed, God has promised that He will hand out final justice for all wrongs.
The Gospel in Romans
One of the best places to find a basic explanation of the gospel is Paul’s letter to the Romans. Perhaps more clearly than any other book of the Bible, Romans contains a deliberate, step-by-step expression of what Paul understood to be the good news.
Four questions and four answers:
Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
We were made by and are accountable to God (Romans 3:19).
What is our problem?
Our problem is our sin against Him – and this is a universal problem (Romans 3:23) leading to death (Romans 6:23a).
What is God’s solution to our problem?
God’s solution is salvation through Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24-26; Romans 6:23b).
How can I be included in his solution?
We come to be included in this salvation by repentance and faith (trust) in Jesus (Romans 10:9-10).