What is the Gospel

By Rudy Steenhuis

The Gospel (or Good News) is what God reveals to mankind (by covenant to Israel or by grace to the Church, the Body of Christ) regarding how He brings believers into right standing with Himself, or how He brought (or bought) us back into a relationship with Him. Our desperate need for the gospel indicates that we are NOT in right standing with God and can NEVER be in right standing without it. Without God's good news (and the saving power it carries), man is hopelessly lost; which disapproves those who are trying to do good works in the hopes to put themselves in the favour of God and save themselves. (Romans 11:6).

We often hear these phrases today in the context of becoming saved,

  • "you must invite Jesus into your heart." or 
  • "you must accept Christ as your personal Saviour." 

Where in the bible can we find these? Such "invitations" have absolutely no Scriptural basis. If you don't do what the bible instructs, you are wrong! (Look at Cain and Abel for an example!)

Redemption is not responding to an altar call after a prosperity message; it is not being scared into heaven by a hell-fire preacher; it's not reading a baseless gospel tract. Other misconceptions of salvation that are frequently heard today are things like, you must --

  • repent, be baptized, join a church (God's family), have a priest or pastor or evangelist pray the sinners prayer with you, walk down an aisle, have witnesses at your sinners confession, or sacrifice time or money or commitment to a religious group.

The gospel for our salvation today is,


1️. Hear the message of why Jesus Christ had to save us:

Because of Adam's sin, we are all born with the nature of sin in us and this separates us from God. Jesus Christ (God incarnate), born 'without' the sin nature, and who lived a perfect life required by God's standards, freely gave up His life for us by dying on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death, so, Jesus, by dying on our behalf, and in our place, paid the sin penalty for us. Because of His death, we are imputed (freely given) His righteousness. In other words, because He freely took our sin upon Himself and died in our place, we are freely given His life which is pleasing to God. 

This encapsulates the 'good news' of the gospel of grace, —that Jesus paid our sin debt and freed us from the penalty of eternal death that we all are guilty of.


So, now that you know what the good news of the grace gospel tells you, and you are informed of what Christ has done for youyou need to decide what you want to do with this news. That's it! You do not need to do anything else but to believe that what Jesus Christ did for you is the truth.


2️. Believe what He has done to save you:

 If you choose to believe that Jesus died for your sins, and that He was buried and rose again from the dead, so that by His shed blood you are forgiven, and by His resurrection you are justified [declared innocent, pardoned, acquitted], then you are saved. The fact that you trust in the cross work of Christ as your ONLY means to be made right before God, is your salvation. That's IT! It's not about feelings or sensations! It's not about anything else you must do to prove your faith! It's not about being baptized or joining a church! It's not about what you did in life and how bad you were! It is ALL about JESUS CHRIST and what HE has done FOR YOU. It's His life accredited to you that saves you! All you need to do is believe that and trust Him to do what He said He would.


For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

(Also see: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 4:25)



The Necessities of Salvation

Notice the key words in Paul's letter to the Romans below. Lets describe these key words in the reverse order to add emphasis on the salvation process. 


Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

  1. The good news of God's salvation must be communicated (in any comprehensive form) to an individual. This individual must gain the knowledge of why they need salvation and what God did through the actions of His Son to provide that opportunity. The purpose for 'hearing' the gospel is for the innate power of the Gospel (Rom.1:16) to capture their heart and attention and bring them to a conviction of their need for God. This is beyond what a human can do for another human. In other words, we can share the gospel message, but only the Holy Spirit can bring a lost soul to conviction. This is a moment that is solely between God and that person! This is when one gets to believing the gospel.
  2. Contrary to what many think, believing is not something a lost soul can conjure up! When you try to argue someone into faith, they may concede to the strength of your argument, but faith was never produced. No person arrives at the point of genuine "saving faith" by or of their own mental ascent. It is actually the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in that person that produces faith. Without the inner workings of the Holy Spirit, no genuine conviction and no hint of faith can ever be generated by the dead spirit of a lost soul in order to believe the good news. 

    In these verses below, notice how it is the work of God and not the individual,
    • Acts 16:14 ...and the Lord opened her heart...
    • 1 Cor.1:30 ...but of Him you are in Christ Jesus...
    • Eph.1:18 ...the eyes of your understanding being enlightened...
    • Titus 3:5 ...He saved us...

      Can you see why it is so important to hear the gospel! The gospel is the ONLY means which carries the power of God to convict a lost soul. There is no other way for a person to be saved, except to hear the gospel (i.e.; have it communicated to them for understanding) as we read in Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
  3. It is from this stance, where a lost soul has heard and properly comprehended (understood) the full message of the gospel, and where they have experienced the grace of the Holy Spirit, convicting them of the truth of the message, where salvation occurs. It is not of mental ascent, it is not just a shallow decision of the mind. No physical feeling or emotion needs to take place. It occurs in the heart, deep down where you come to the point that you just know that your whole life is completely dependent on what Jesus Christ has done for you. There is a new innate trust and confidence in Him that He is ALL you need, your sanctification, your justification, your righteousness, and that you now stand positionally before God as a brand new creature, fully accepted and dearly loved.

The Power and Simplicity of the Gospel

So, what is the gospel message that saves TODAY? Well Paul sums it up perfectly in his letter to the church at Corinth. 

1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

That is it! There is nothing else to know, there is nothing else to do; you don't need to work for it or earn it. The only thing you do is believe that God made a way through His Son and that what Jesus did fully satisfied the debt of sinHis death "for us" paid our sin-debt liberating us from its burden. His death "as us" liberated us from 'the dominion and power of Sin'. It is a complete work achieved by Christ and offered as a gift from God. 

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.