The word “gospel” has lost a bit of its meaning in our modern culture. We say that things are “the gospel truth” that really aren’t the gospel truth. We use the word to describe styles of music. And Christians sometimes talk about taking a stand for the gospel in reference to various political and social justice issues. But the word has a rather rich and very specific meaning.
The “gospel” is literally good news. Good news about what? Or rather, about whom? The gospel is the good news about Jesus. The good news is that while creation is lost, bearing the marks and scars of sin, separated from the perfect and glorious God, God has acted to redeem all people and all things to Himself.
The good news is that the long-awaited Savior and Messiah, Jesus, finally arrived and paid our ransom, dying on the cross to cover the penalty of our sins. And the good news goes on to tell us that He rose again from the dead in absolute victory over sin, death and the grave, and that He reigns eternally over all that He has redeemed.
Paul wrote about the gospel to the believers in Colosse and defined the good news this way: “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 NLT).
In a world filled with negative press, shocking headlines and bad news, here is some really good news from God. Jesus came to rescue you from sin’s penalty, sin’s power and even sin’s presence someday. He adopts believers into His family, transfers our citizenship into His own Kingdom, and invites us to live and reign alongside Him for all of eternity.
The gospel is not political in nature, it’s personal. It’s not religious, it’s relational. And it changes everything. But it must be willingly received by anyone who hears and believes its message. Have you put your roots down into the good news about Jesus yet?
In Western culture, we tend to be compartmentalists, which explains why we take our religion and put it in a box all week and take it out only when we engage in some kind of ritual such as attending church weekly, or maybe annually. We live on the mistaken assumption that the gospel is all about an event that happened a couple thousand years ago to a man named Jesus who is somewhat irrelevant to our modern technological age.
The gospel revealed in the Bible, however, is a gospel that transcends time and culture and transforms us at every level, in every area of our lives. When Paul wrote to the Colossian church about the good news of Jesus, he said, “It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.”
And he went on to say, “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit.”
The gospel is changing lives. … Understanding it affects how you live. … The gospel allows us to bear fruit in life. … The Bible is pretty clear that the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins not only makes us right with God but also makes us live differently. The truth and grace of God give us a new ethical and moral foundation, but more importantly, a new heart.
So let the gospel convince you. And let it convert you. And let it change your life from the inside out.