The word "gospel " means good news. Perhaps you will see by way of comparison. God's gospel as revealed in Holy Scriptures consist of four primary elements. They are as follows:
- A PERSON. God's gospel points the seeker, not to a philosophy or religion, but to a person: God's only Son, Jesus Christ the Lord. Before God became human flesh as Jesus, His name was "Word." A word is simply a communication of a thought or desire. Thus in the Person of Jesus ("the Word became flesh," John 1:14) we see the expression of God's heart: His righteousness, purity, compassion and love to fallen humanity. Jesus the Messiah is exclusively the Son of God. He is the Only Savior the Father acknowledges! (See Acts 4:10-12/ 1John 5:12)
- A PERFORMANCE. God is righteous and also love. A coin has both heads and tails, so a right view of God includes both virtues. Since God is righteous the sin of His creatures must be punished for the sake of justice. "The wages of sin is death," says Romans 6:23.
Since God is love He wants His creatures, though fallen in sin, to live with Him forever.
How does He solve this holy dilemma since He can't sacrifice His righteousness for the sake of His love? By sacrificing Himself through His sinless Son as a death substitute. This is love at its highest as it reaches the lowest.
God now claims the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lord on the cross as His propitiation. Propitiation means to placate (appease) or satisfy one's righteous anger. God's wrath on our sin was fully met in the historical sin offering of Christ dying for our sins. He paid the exact penalty, death, in full. The death of Christ is not just a martyr making a social statement of how much He cares and feels for us, but is a redemptive payment of propitiation - a substitutionary sin payment to God for sinners. (See Romans 3:22-28).
Justice met! Sin's solution and required offering have been made once for all time by God Himself.
God Himself has shown his acceptance of His Son's sacrifice by raising Him from the dead and accepting Him at His own right hand of Majesty. The grave is empty! Jesus sits as the Lord enthroned and the only Priest who forgives sin before God. If Jesus is good enough for God, is He not trustworthy for you? God points a repentant sinner, not to his performance for salvation, but to the risen Lord's work on the cross.
- PROPHETIC PROOF. God knew we would need evidence to place our faith in an unseen God. Thus He presented His salvation through the medium of prophetic Scriptures (the Bible): written predictions of the future telling how one could identify the true Savior. To foretell a distant future event accurately requires not only supernatural foreknowledge but supernatural power to make sure the events happen.
The Bible takes this risk, proving its Divine origin. Only Jesus has passed the test of matching the prophecies. God doesn’t give one feelings to guess by, but facts to stand on with confidence. (2Peter 1:19).
- A PROMISE. The Lord Jesus Christ who performed the whole work for our salvation promises the one who trusts Him alone as Savior and Lord a gift by grace (unearned favor). That gift is eternal life. Not riches on earth or a problem-free life, but salvation. A true believer believes He keeps His promises.
- The promise of eternal life for the believer includes complete forgiveness of all sins against God
— thus future salvation from the wrath of God and hell
— the immediate gift of the Holy Spirit which will comfort and give one power to live for God
— a new glorified body at the coming of Christ for His own. (1Corinthians 15).
- A declaration from God that one is now counted righteous (justified) and qualified for heaven.
- All the aforementioned benefits of grace are open to “whosoever believes.” God’s gospel is not discriminatory, racial, class-prejudiced or sexually biased.
- You will be different. Because of the transforming power of the Holy Spirit your life will be led to follow the desires of the Lord. Sinful pleasures and selfish desires will no longer be the plan.
- This difference can cause some friends or religions or even family members to resent you. Perhaps you will be persecuted at times. (Matthew 10:34-36).
- You might find that even your “church” is not truly Christian, and that you will need to assemble in a church with Christians who follow God’s Word. (Not to earn heaven but to worship God and become strong.)
- The above cannot be avoided by staying a secret believer, for the Lord asks upon being saved the identifying sign of water baptism. (Matthew 28:18-20).