word for gospel in the new testament is euangelion.
It's built out of a prefix that means good or joyful and
a root word that means message or news. The word was used
widely in the New Testament world to mean 'the message of
victory, but also used of political and private messages
bringing joy.' It was spoken as an announcement. It had
a celebrative feel to it. The messenger exulted over the
news he had to bring. It was good news."
John Piper, God Is the
Gospel (pg 20)
Definition of The Good News or "The Gospel"
How did Jesus first describe the
good news of the gospel? How did He first announce
it? The following was the inaugural speech of His mission.
He was in the synagogue before the Jewish leaders where He
read from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 61:
“1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.”
said, "today this is being fulfilled in your presence"
religion has presented the "Good News" as not actually
news ...and not very good. It hasn't been "news"
because it isn't true unless you believe a particular brand
of theology. It hasn't been "good" because the jury
is always out whether or not you are truly loved or accepted
by their "god". Jesus however presented the gospel
as an announcement of something that had changed the fabric
of the universe, forever ...that love was not going to fail.
That what had been lost will be found and restored. And those
who had been alienated will be reconciled. Jesus said the
curse was being reversed. The "news" was about how
the universe was being put back to rights.
there any bad news? Depends
on what you mean by bad news. To assert that people can damn
themselves forever in eternal torture is indeed more than
bad news. But to say that if you rebel against the Grain of
the Universe (Love Himself) you will fall into the hands of
the Living God, the Consuming Fire...well that doesn't sound
safe or smart, but it is not without hope. But why keep smoking
those cigarettes just because nice doctors will use chemo
and radiation to "cure" you when you get lung cancer?
With the rejection of God and His love there will be loss,
regret and the fiery eradication of all that is false within
you. So why would you not come now?
Good News is that God will not ever give up on our redemption.
But we decide how much pain we go through in that process.
He will have His way in our hearts because "love wins".
God is love. Love created you and God says all things are
"from Him and through Him and will come back to Him".
(Rom. 11:36) Paul said that the last enemy to be destroyed
is death...and all things will be made subject to Him so that
He will be “all in all”. Wow, to be one with perfect
love Himself. And Jesus invites us to come... and taste, now.
"Come unto Me all you who are weighed down and burdened
and I will give you rest". Matt 11:28
Isaiah 61, the prophet goes on to describe more
aspects of God's restoration even in light of "vengeance"
and "ashes" and "devastation". There's
a contrariness to God's love but it always leads to a rebuilding
of "the ancient ruins" and restoration of "the
places long devastated".
...and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. 4 They will rebuild
the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
about the "day of vengeance", the "ruins"
and the "devastations"? There is a
sense in which God's love is against you, in order to rescue
you. (It’s called intervention). He announces
the way of rescue and invites you to come. His love then either
works with your cooperation or against you, which turns out
to be actually FOR you, to eventually heal and redeem you.
If you consider the story of the Prodigal Son* you understand
how for some of us it takes an "exile" into "a
far country" to "come to our senses" and return
to our loving, waiting Father. This "exile" is God's
love contradicting our destructive ways. The more we are out
of alignment with our Father's heart the more intense the
"exile" experience. It's best to come home... now.
guess the question is, do you want to be the cause,
and therefore also the recipient, of the devastation, or a
rebuilder of it? Do you want to be a Restorer
or a Restoree?
the Gospel is: the invitation by Jesus to come
out of "exile", out of bondage to self and others,
and out of captivity to let Jesus give you freedom, healing,
and rest. He is the ultimate Hero saying, even to the death,
"I have loved you and provided for your rescue. The 'exile'
you think you want away from My presence I have taken upon
Myself on the cross for you. I prayed, 'Father forgive them,
they do not understand what they are doing'".
through Christ, was reconciling the world to Himself..."
II Cor 5:19. The cross was the pivotal turning point in the
history of mankind because Christ is the only One who ever
actually entered into our "wreckage" and redid the
world and recreated the life, His life, that we rejected
the death of His Son restored our relationship with God
while we were still His enemies, we are even more certain
that, because of this restored relationship, the life of
His Son will save us." Rom. 5:10
the the gospel is so entirely holistic that
one angle or aspect is not sufficient to represent all that
God has done to redeem and restore the world. God's very name
is I AM that I AM. He is the "I AM whatever you
need", (literally, fill in the blank) signifying
His ability to be all in all, everything you need. So there
is not one way to describe Him as Savior. We are each unique
in our persons and in our problems and He is everything we
need, forever. He is not only a Father, but a Mother, a Brother,
a Friend, a Lover, a Shepherd, the Light, the Way, the Truth,
the Life, the Living Water, the Bread of Life, the Door, the
Healer, our Strong Tower, our Deliverer, our Redeemer,...the
list goes on because our needs are many and diverse and He
has covered all the bases for you and me. The gospel is: He
is all you need.
it about saving me from a location of never-ending hell?
Some translations of certain passages have been interpreted
as such but this notion goes against everything else Jesus
taught and the entire trajectory of what the Story of God
(the Bible) is about and the very nature of God's character,
which we are told clearly is love and mercy. So no, He did
not save you from a location but from a condition.
The message of the gospel is that we have been rescued from
death and our sin nature and reconciled back to God from our
alienation from Him. (See “Questions” for more
do I become a follower of Jesus?
We can't give anyone a formula. If you look at the many ways
that Jesus approached discipleship you will see much of it
was tailored for the person. But the first thing Jesus clearly
taught you must do is...come. Come with a thirst
to know Him, and a hunger to be made right before Him in your
own heart and then to join in His dream and passion to restore
a humility involved in saying you need Him and the life only
He can give. And this life was purchased
with His own blood. His life for yours. The great exchange.
That is the gospel.
do I get this life? Some words Jesus
uses are: come... knock... seek... ask... drink... taste.
These are some other ways to describe faith. Just like an
inheritance, until you believe you have it you will never
draw on it. It's all been done but it is not operative until
you come ...with your need. Pride is one thing grace is opposed
to. "All we need is nothing and nothing is often
too big a price for us to pay." So the first step
is just to come.
you do from there is between you and Jesus. No
one can tell you what He's going to say to you at first, what
He might put His finger on, what He wants to begin to heal.
Some who followed Him ended up giving up everything, others
used it up for Him, others lost it all, while some even lost
their lives. But this was not some religious ritual but was
done all in light of Someone they wanted more than their stuff,
even more than their own lives.
most important thing to know is that God's love is never earned
by you. Your redemption was earned for sure,
it cost Jesus His life to set you free and rescue you, but
for you the price is free. The paradox about this freedom
is that when give yourself to God you become His slave.
But to finally be in union with the freest Being in the universe
you become for the very first time in your life, truly free.
You can begin to act and think in the ways you were created
to act and think. Only when something is acting in accordance
with their nature are they truly a free agent. "If the
Son sets you free you will be free indeed". (John 8:36)
"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free."
what if I decide I don't want to give myself over to the freest
Being in the universe
and I want to be a slave to myself, others and the tyranny
of the world? Love is presented clearly in Scripture as an
unquenchable fire. The opposite of love is indifference not
hate. God's perfect love opposes all that mars His creation,
including you. His holy loving opposition has been described
as a consuming fire, a refiner's fire, a winnowing fork, a
threshing sledge, a... yikes. Not something you want to mess
around with, yet not hopeless as the traditional doctrine
would have it.
love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
“Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.”