Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14 -15
What does ‘Gospel’ mean?
Dear reader, you may have heard the word Gospel many hundreds of times during your life and you may have noticed the word applied to books in the bible (The Gospel according to John) or even as a genre of music i.e ‘Gospel music’. Here in England some people use the word when speaking confidently about a thing, such as; “We are going to get a pay rise, and that’s gospel as I heard it from an executive”.
But if we really want to know the source of the concept and the basis of the word Gospel, we need only open the bible where we find that the answer is revealed clearly. ‘Gospel’ actually means Good News or Good Message – it comes from the Greek word ‘euaggelion’. And what then is the news or the message? What is it according to the Holy Scripture? It is simply that God has sent His Son into the world to bring salvation from sin and make a way for men, women and children to enter the Kingdom of God. This is the Good Message, this is the Good News or Gospel of Jesus Christ. The very fact that God has delivered it to the world demonstrates His generosity and infinite compassion!
But dear reader, there is more. For the mere hearing of Good News does us no good until we believe it, and accept it, and trust in it, and depend upon it. As in the verse quoted at the top of the page, we must invest our lives in the message with obedience and faith – ‘repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15. We must halt our current state of ignorance, waywardness, cynicism, atheism, doubt or hollow religion and we must give ourselves entirely to the Lord and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Let us think more about the message because as the New Testament unfolds we see at the centre of the Good News is a Person, Jesus Christ the Son of God. It is Jesus and His great work of Salvation on the cross that is at the heart of the Good News, in fact without Jesus Christ there can be no salvation. The Lord Jesus spoke of this Himself – ‘Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’ John 14:6.
The Apostle Peter proclaimed this emphatically also ; ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12
There is no other person qualified to bring about salvation, who was born without sin and who lived perfectly righteous in the sight of Almighty God.
The Cross and the Miracle
In the Gospel of Jesus we have a miraculous, glorious, unfathomable solution to the worst problem ever known.
Let me explain; you see we as human beings have been created in the image of God, we were created to glorify God by living in love and holiness – reflecting God’s character in the world. But what we are in reality and what we see of human behavior in the world is not a reflection of God’s character, but a rebellion against it, to a greater degree or a lesser degree all people play their own part in the revolt against the Lord. Some in overtly wicked fashion, others in a quieter resistance of God’s standards. Nevertheless scripture refers to humanity in this way, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23; and the very sad revelation of Psalm 53 reads :
“God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” Psalm 53:2-3
So the insurmountable problem that exist is this: that God is Holy and God is Just, and by His very essential nature God must judge all sin, no matter where it is found and whom it is committed by, the Lord must punish sin in accordance with His Holy Justice. By ourselves we cannot avoid God’s judgement, there’s no atonement we can make personally, no offering could take away the sins of our life and no amount of resolve can prevent us from sinning in the future – we do not have the power to make ourselves holy. But God who is rich in mercy, has in due time sent His Son into the world to stand in our place and to take in His own body on the cross the judgement that is due to us! God demonstrates His high and gracious love – in that while we were still rebels and sinners against Him, Christ has suffered and bled and died in our place.
…wait there’s more!
And furthermore – Christ on the Cross has made us Holy, washed us clean, united us to Himself and made us acceptable in purity before God above! This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We know are assured that the work of Christ was sufficient because God raised Him from the dead on the third day. His work was sufficient, His work was complete and accepted by God the Father.
This is the miracle work of the cross, that God would transfer our Guilt to Christ, and His perfection to us!
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:5-9
This is the salvation the Good News refers to.
Do you have Salvation in Jesus Christ?
Have you received it? Are you covered by the blood of Christ? Are you one who has heard and thoroughly believed the Gospel? Salvation is free and available for the those who hear and truly believe!
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.