Question 79

The word, gospel, means the good message or good news. People used the word long before Jesus* came. When people were at war, they would wait to hear word of how the battle was going. When a messenger came to say their soldiers had won, he carried the good news. The prophet* Isaiah* talked about this. He said, ‘How beautiful are the feet of him who brings good news.’[1]

 

Sometimes, when a new king took his place to rule the people, he sent messengers to tell the ‘good news.’

 

In the New Testament*, the word, gospel, also means good news. John the Baptist* and Jesus brought good news about the kingdom* of God. The good news was that the king, the Messiah*, had come. The kingdom of heaven* was near.[2]

 

When Paul* and the apostles* write their letters, they used the word gospel to tell the good news about Jesus. They told about who Jesus is and what he had done. They called this message the gospel of Jesus Christ. But the gospel is also about how the work of Jesus affects people.

 

We can only see the gospel as good news when we understand the bad news. The bad news is that we are all sinners.* We have not shown honor* to God. We have not followed his laws.* Because God is holy*, people who do bad things cannot be in God’s presence. And we are not able to do enough good things to make things right with God. Only God can make a way for sinful* people to be right with him. The gospel is about what God did for sinful people. Christ died ‘for us’.

 

Jesus took the punishment that we deserved. He paid for our sin with his life. He gave his life in death so that we could live.

 

Because of what Jesus did, I can be forgiven* for my sins. The good news is that, when I believe in Jesus, I am no longer an enemy of God. I have become a part of God’s family. This is why the gospel is so important. It is the message God uses to rescue people from their sin.* Paul said that the gospel brings salvation.*[3]

 

People hear the message about Jesus. Then they see that the message is true.[4] When they obey[5] the call of the gospel to believe, they are saved.[6] God rescues them from their sin and gives them hope.*[7]

 

Sometimes people use the word gospel to talk about the first four books of the New Testament. So, we call the books of Matthew*, Mark*, Luke* and John* – The Gospels. Sometimes, the word is used of all that Jesus said and did. That is the way that Mark uses it. But, most often, the Bible* uses the word in one way. The gospel is the message about who Jesus is and what he has done.

 

Paul wrote a letter to the church* in a city named Corinth.* Some of the people did not remember what Paul had said about the gospel. So, he wrote to remind them.

 

‘I want to remind you of the gospel I told you about. It is the news that you received and believed. It is what I received and passed on to you. Christ died for our sins, just as the scripture* said he would. He was buried. He was raised on the third day, just as the scriptures said he would.’[8]

 

This good news is a most important thing. Jesus is alive. He is the Messiah king. He has won the victory over evil* and death. And God will rescue all who trust* him.

 

Jesus told his followers* to go all over the world to tell people the gospel.[9] The gospel is the message God will use to rescue all who believe it is true. If people do not hear the gospel, they will never believe. If they do not believe, they will not be saved.[10]

 

Jesus said that all of the Old Testament* scriptures speak about him. And the Holy Spirit* helped the apostles record the gospel for us in the New Testament. So, the entire Bible tells the story of the good news about Jesus.


[1] Isaiah 52:7; Romans 10:15
[2] Mark 1:15; Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Luke 4:43
[3] Romans 1:16; Ephesians 1:13; Titus 2:11-12
[4] Galatians 2:5, 14; Colossians 1:15
[5] 1 Peter 4:17; Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:21
[6] John 3:15-16; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 1:21
[7] Colossians 1:23
[8] 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
[9] Matthew 28:16-20
[10] Romans 10:14-15