What is the Gospel? That was a question that I was asked this week. I thought about it for a time, then I knew my answer.
For a long time, if asked that question, I might have responded with a person’s response to the gospel, a message about believing, improving, acknowledging and being immersed. No doubt true that we must react to the message, but more fundamental is the question of what the Gospel actually is.
When we consider what people had believed about deities in the past, it is easy to see how suspicion and distrust became a part of it. Satan’s initial ploy in the Biblical narrative is that God limited mankind because he feared man becoming like him.
Later information about God was distorted, then abandoned for fanciful notions of tricky deities playing games on each other and mankind. The result was an idea that deity could not be trusted, sometimes acting in our behalf and other times enjoying our despair.
The good news of Scripture is that God is now, has always been, and always will be, on our side. He desires relationship with us, going to any and every imaginable extreme to accomplish that goal. The pivotal point of Scripture being the story of Jesus, standing in for us and taking our place on a cross. The evidence of our reconciliation being the resurrection on the third day.
That earth shaking revelation becomes the core message proclaimed to every nation under heaven. In Jesus, there is life. In Jesus, there is hope. In Jesus, we live and move and have our very being.
What is the gospel? Very simple really… God loves you and is on your side always. The narrative can be tracked through every story in the Hebrew Bible. It is the core message of the four gospels and the letters that follow them.
Push aside the minutia, the little details of Jewish laws around clothing, foods, and religious expression. Push it aside to see the God of Scripture going to every extreme to bring us hope.
We can, likewise, set aside the details and asides that have caused division and distortion of the message from the New Testament. Don’t let other things move your eye from the message. God loves you, wants you, and provides for you.
This is the good news.