Gospel = Greek ‘euangelion’; English transliteration ‘evangel’ – meaning
a good message, good news – the ‘gospel’ (from old English)
As believers (and hopefully FOLLOWERS) of the Lord Jesus (Yeshua), have we properly considered what this ‘good message/good news’ really is? Do we have a clear definition of it that we can tell others who don’t know it? I bring this up in relation to an encounter with the Watchtower/ Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I answered the door to a pleasant man who had a child with him. He offered me the latest Watchtower magazine. As we conversed, I decided to ask him what the gospel is. This was a deliberate question as I know that the JW religion does not have the true gospel but because they THINK they do, it’s important to lovingly bring some clarity to them from the Bible – God’s word. This man’s answer to my question was, as expected, NOT the gospel. He answered that it’s about the kingdom of God, and some other words around that. NOT ONCE did he state anything about the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus for our sins. (The Watchtower organisation does not deny Jesus was crucified, but they do deny His bodily resurrection). Our conversation livened up considerably after that, and I was keen to point out that we have a clear statement of the essential gospel from the apostle Paul:-
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures1 Corinthians 15v3-4
If our faith is not based on what Christ has done for us, then we have no salvation – just religion. When I declared the above statement to the Jehovah’s Witness, he then sought to convince me that they do talk about Jesus and he showed me a magazine which he declared had the topic of Jesus. So Jesus, our great Redeemer, is reduced to a ‘topic’. God forbid! I told this man that I could not accept ‘another’ gospel that is re-interpreting Biblical Christianity, and I challenged him as politely as I could that he should look into the history of how the Watchtower organisation started, and that centuries before that religion started, Christians were clear on what the gospel was. Unfortunately, this man was not ready to do this, and declined to let me have his email address to continue our discussion.
Now let me highlight the main point of this post. I encourage and URGE all of us who confess Christ as our Saviour, to be clear in our own minds on what the gospel is and to never stray from that. Perhaps I am stating something that seems obvious to any sensible Christian reading this, but we are living in what the Holy Bible calls the ‘last days’ in which there are many deceptions. We may know the truth in our hearts, but if we do not daily keep vigilant about our spiritual life, the gospel message can become a vague thing to us, as we get caught up in philosophies and opinions. The apostle John wrote this:-
I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father; and this is the promise that he made to us – eternal life. I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.1 John 2 v21-26
The apostle John knew that the believers he wrote to KNEW THE TRUTH… but he did not assume they could never stray or never be deceived from the truth. He wrote so that believers would continue in the truth – “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you”.
If we don’t continue to let what we heard (Christ-centred, solid Bible teaching) remain in us, we will slip into a confused view of what historic Biblical Christianity is. This has happened to others and has led them into ‘re-imagining’ the Christian faith. One such person is the writer Sue Monk Kidd. Mrs Kidd was raised by Christian parents who served in the church, she also served in the church (Baptist), but was given a book by a fellow Sunday School teacher which was written by a catholic mystic/pagan monk named Thomas Merton. This introduced her to an alternative view of spirituality which guided her down the road of ‘contemplative spirituality’ (which involves Buddhist techniques and mysticism) that led to her rejecting the Bible as the source of written authority for her life, and accepting feminist theology which changed her view of the true God.
See here – from_southern_baptist_to_goddess_worship
Some of you might say “well maybe she didn’t truly believe in the real Jesus in the first place”. One cannot be certain, but she was certainly involved in a church which preached the Bible, so she knew what the gospel message was, and therefore cannot claim to have not known. However, if there is an area of the heart that feels devoid of something, if that area is not filled with God’s answers from His word, if we fail to let the Lord Jesus be our all in all, then satan will happily fill that lack in other ways. There’s a warning here to be careful what we read, and how we read. We are instructed in God’s word to:-
Test all things; hold fast what is good. (I Thess. 5v21)
We have a wonderful gift of eternal life because our heavenly Father loves us and gave His one-and-only Son to be our Saviour. It can be difficult when we are talking to someone who has entrenched beliefs, and our job is not to try to force them to change their minds. Our job is to tell them the plain and simple (yet powerful) TRUTH, in LOVE, and to PRAY, leaving the results in God’s hands. Let’s keep that good news clear in our minds.
Peace & blessings.
4 thoughts on “What is the ‘Gospel’?”
Now more than ever Christians must be on their guard against false teaching. The Internet is awash with falsehoods and for some Christians the gospel is not enough. The Church must preach gospel truths and be aware of deceivers (2 John).
Truth, love and obedience to God’s word.
Thank you for this post.
I had a question pop into my mind.
Apart from eternal life and the death and resurrection of Jesus. What is the Gospel?
Although the purpose of this post was not to give a detailed description of the gospel, but to address a concern in Christianity, my answer to your question is this:-
There is no gospel (good news) ‘apart from’ His death and resurrection, because it’s a package deal requirement…
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
Romans 3:23-24 The Holy Bible.
As ‘all have sinned’, we need the Saviour. Only the perfect sinless Mediator – God revealed in human flesh – could give us a right standing again, through being a pure Sacrifice to atone for our sins, as a pleasing sacrifice to God the Father. We know He conquered death too as well as sin by rising from the grave, as the eye witnesses declared. Without His death & resurrection as our Perfect Sacrificial Lamb of God and Mediator, there is no good news. But people must accept the ‘bad news’ first… all have sinned.
Yes. Our job is to continue to tell the truth leaving the results in God’s hands, 1Peter 3:15 helps as we do this with gentleness and respect.
My deep concern is how we continue to share the message of the cross without being complacent when we gather together, and with those outside – That we have a Holy and perfect God who is different from us and we have a Saviour (His Son) who has reconciled us unto Him by dying for our sins.
So Christ’s love compels us to share, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. Thanks for sharing.