The word Gospel itself means good news or good tidings. It is taken from the Greek word evangelion in the New Testament which means Good News from which we also get the word evangelism or evangelist. In Matthew 4:23 we read of “Jesus teaching in the synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom…”
Essentially Jesus’ message was about himself and the conquest of sin and Satan. He spoke often of his own unique connection with the Father in heaven and of the divine life which he came to bring. It was a message anticipated by the prophets of the Old Testament like Isaiah who spoke very graphically about the coming of One who would be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace (9:6). In Luke 4:18 Jesus identified himself with Isaiah’s prophecy in 61:1 about the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord coming upon him to preach good news to the poor, and so on. So it is that the first four books of the New Testament, called the Gospels, focus attention upon the life of Jesus giving a good deal of attention especially to the crucial aspect of his unusual death and resurrection. For it was in his life and these events that the Gospel was defined. And as he prepared to leave he prophesied that this Gospel of the kingdom would be preached in the whole world before the end would come (Matthew 24:14).
The apostles and prophets of the early church carried this message and its fulfillment forward by providing evidence of its power in their spiritual work and by giving greater theological understanding to its significance. Paul especially went to great lengths to explain the Gospel in his letters to the various churches to whom he wrote. The letter to the Romans provides the most comprehensive explanation of the Gospel. Some have identified the main points of the Gospel as explained in Romans as the Roman Road.
- Romans 3:23 — For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. This verse identifies the main reason why the coming of Jesus is such Good News. The fact is that all of us are separated from the life of God by our sins and sinful nature.
- Romans 6:23 — For the wages of sin is death, but he gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. The second fact is that sin has its consequence which is death — the very opposite of the life of God. But God’s gift is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
- Romans 5:8 — But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God’s gift of eternal life flows out of the reality of his love which was demonstrated in his willingness to die for us. His death was a substitutionary one — he was willing to die in our place. (This is explained earlier in Romans when in 3:25, Paul writes about God presenting Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement for us.)
- Romans 5:1 — Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This fact emphasizes that the gift is received by faith. The previous chapter (4) explains how faith works. Faith is an attitude that recognizes and acts upon the truth concerning Jesus.
- Romans 10:9, 10 — That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. This final fact has to do with the way faith is expressed. It begins as a confession of the mouth in prayer or in testimony, based on what one has come to believe in their heart. (A simple prayer of faith for acceptance of the Gospel might go like this: Dear God, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and in need of your salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sin and to be raised again to life so that I could live with you forever in heaven. Right now I receive this gift for myself and claim your promise of eternal life. From this day forward I choose to live my life for you. Help me to do so by the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen.)
There is much more that is written about the Gospel, but these points cover the essential elements of what the Gospel is all about and how a person can come to believe it. Recently I realized that I had never given an explanation of this important matter on my web-site and that many may look here who wonder about the question of how a person can be sure of having an eternal relationship with God. I hope and pray this will help some to come to experience the Good News in their lives. If you have prayed to receive God’s free gift of Good News, please let me know.
Recently I have also added a page, called Basic Truth, that explains important facts related to what the Good News is all about. The truth of the Gospel of the Bible and the New Testament is very basic to the work of Second Wind Ministries.