What is the gospel?
By Tabletalk Magazine
January 1st, 2015
The gospel is the good news from God, first, that “Christ died for our sins.” The Bible says that God created Adam without sin, fit to rule over a good creation (Gen. 1). Then Adam broke from God and brought our whole race down with him into guilt, misery, and eternal ruin (chap. 3). But God, in His great love for us rebels now thoroughly unfit for Him, sent a better Adam, who lived the perfect life we’ve never lived and died the guilty death we don’t want to die. “Christ died for our sins” in the sense that, on the cross, He atoned for the crimes we have committed against God our King. Jesus, dying as our substitute, absorbed into Himself all the wrath of God against the real moral guilt of His people. He left no debt unpaid. He Himself said, “It is finished” (John 19:30). And we will forever say, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!” (Rev. 5:12).
Second, the gospel says, “he was buried,” emphasizing that the sufferings and death of Jesus were utterly real, extreme, and final. The Bible says, “So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard” (Matt. 27:66). After killing Him, His enemies made sure everyone would know Jesus was stone dead. Not only was our Lord’s death as final as death can be, it was also humiliating: “And they made his grave with the wicked” (Isa. 53:9). In His astonishing love, Jesus identified with us sinners and sufferers fully, omitting nothing.
Third, the gospel says, “he was raised on the third day.” Years ago, I heard S. Lewis Johnson put it this way: the resurrection is God’s “Amen!” to Christ’s “It is finished.” Jesus “was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:25 NASB). His work on the cross succeeded in atoning for our sins, and obviously so. Moreover, by His resurrection, Christ was “declared to be the Son of God in power”—that is, our triumphant Messiah who will rule forever (Rom. 1:4). The risen Christ alone can and does say to us, “Fear not, for I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:17-18). The Living One conquered death and is now preparing a place for us—a new heavens and new earth, where all of His people will live joyously with Him forever.
This is the gospel of God’s massive grace toward us sinners. Whatever else might be said only tells us more of the mighty work of Jesus Christ. Let us hold fast to the Word preached to us. If we believe this gospel, we cannot believe in vain.
Full Article: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/what-the-gospel/?mobile=on