The Gospel is...
The gospel is at the same time both simple and complex. It tells me that Jesus died and rose again so that simply by believing I may come to experience God’s love, forgiveness, approval, security, and peace. It also tells me that I am falling short of God’s expressed will, that I require much in terms of grace and mercy. It tells me that Jesus will return and that one day all things will be made new and right. The good news is that everything I need, Jesus has fully provided for and discovering this is life-changing and life-giving to the soul.
The Gospel does not tell me what I have to do to be saved. It tells me that I do not need to do anything to be saved. The Gospel tells me that Jesus - through his death and resurrection - has completed all the work required to save me. Through Christ, God’s love now comes to me without conditions, because all the conditions have already been met on my behalf. The Gospel is a radical offer made possible only by Jesus, for my full reconciliation, that seems too good to be true.
The Gospel is good news, because it does not make any demands of me to “straighten up and act right,” but instead creates anew within me a response of faith and humility and obedience towards God and his commands. It is God’s kindness that leads to my repentance and ultimately my obedience.
The Gospel is good news, not good advice. It is an announcement of the finished work of Jesus that demands a response. This Gospel does not command me to be active for God. It invites me to be passive toward God, even more, to die to self and acts of self-righteousness completely. Then God, who desires to work within me both to will and to work for his pleasure will be alive within me, producing the fruit that He longs for.
The Gospel puts religion (man’s attempts to earn God’s favor) to bed and awakens us to a new way of life abiding in Christ. The good news of Jesus does not tell me that God will love me if I repent and have faith and obey. It tells me that I can repent and have faith and obey because God loves me - made evident by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
The Gospel does not lead me into constant self-examination or self-assertion because its not about me and what I must do or what I’ve failed to do, but about Christ and what he has done. This good news leads me out of myself into self-forgetfulness and self-surrender. The Gospel does not cause me to look more at myself. It frees my attention to be focused on Christ, my righteousness, and also frees me to see my neighbor.
The Gospel does not trade offers and benefits if certain conditions are met on my end, because they have already been met by Jesus on my behalf. Grace is received and enjoyed when I quit trying to meet conditions and start trusting and enjoying God's provision & promise of Jesus.
The Gospel does not offer to me cheap grace - a license to sin at will with no consequences. Cheap grace is not grace, it is only conditional grace offered at low price. God’s grace made possible by Jesus is a grace that is so precious it cannot be bought at any price or condition. It can only be received as a free gift. In Jesus I get what I truly don’t deserve.
The declaring of the Gospel is not only to convert unbelievers once-and-for-all into Christians. It is also to reconvert unbelievers like me again and again into Christians. I need the message of the gospel daily because every day I forget it and chase after a false gospel that won’t deliver me.
Sharing the Gospel is always necessary. Whatever else I need, including the truth and guidance of God’s Law, I also need more the assurance of God's love offered and secured for me in the gospel. The preaching of the Law is not always necessary, but the preaching of the gospel is always necessary.
Inspired and adapted from http://www.christholdfast.org/blog/10-thoughts-on-law-and-gospel