What is the Gospel?

by R.C. Sproul

“There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.

The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.”

8 thoughts on “What is the Gospel?

  1. Exactly. And you see these men reducing God to some ‘formula’ or ‘an instant potion’ with quick results.. a cosmic sorcerer, genie, or a magician of some sort.

    True men of God will experience a time of seperation. This is the time in our walk which is undesirable. It is the dry season, whereas adversity proves to be an undesirable aid to ‘putting off’ the old man. Spiritual maturity, holiness, and prudence are the spiritual rewards. If, at one time, a man of God showed himself to be simple-minded and uncareful in the affairs of this life, that unpleasant time of seperation will purge out those youthful lusts or passions which may have stunted his spiritual growth in the past.

    The real breakthrough in a Christian’s life is when he/she accepts struggle and hardship in this life. The repentant heart begins to see the benefit of partaking in sufferings, instead of shrinking away from them… as so many in the prosperity gospel do today.


  2. “The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone”

    See, I don’t disagree–works alone without faith, and without sincerity, are empty–God knows your heart better than you do. But works are a necessary compantion to faith in a way that contemporary Christianity forsakes–works are a necessary compantion to true faith. If you profess to believe that Christ is God incarnate, yet you ignore His teachings in practice, how sincere is your faith? As sure as God knows the sincerity of your faith, He also knows well when you proclaim to believe in Him yet follow Mammon in your daily life. Going to church on Sundays is not enough–there as six more days, and each day ought to be your Sabbath, your daily devotional. So while you must accept hardship in your own life, you must never cause hardship, either by your actions, or by your allowance of hardships. You must love your brother as yourself and “guard him like the pupil in your eye.” This involves a hardship that most comtemporary Christians refuse–a complete change in the socioeconomic choices we make in society on a daily basis–and to neglect such a change in heart actions is a sign to God that our faith is insincere.




  3. PU,
    You are right ONLY if you understand that NO ONE is saved by works. Good works are the result of GENUINE Christians Abiding in Christ. NO ONE is saved by those works, they are only the evidence of genuineness.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  4. Utopian,

    I read some of your website. I don’t agree that we live in a capitalist society. If it were truly capitalist, then the government would not intervene and control a free market. I am opposed to NAFTA and globalism because it destroys national sovereignty. I am also opposed to an EU and an NAU. This will turn the world into one big facist oligarchy. There is a battle going on with Ireland. They are opposing the Lisbon Treaty, and have been. The EU will not take NO for an answer. They are bent on getting that entire region formed into a super state and a single currency. The Irish have succeeded in resisting them. I doubt the EU will give up on achieving a European super state.

    It is quite possible that Canada, USA, and Mexico will eventually be forced into a superstate within the next ten years. King Juan Carlos of Spain owns a foreign (Spanish) company known as Cintra. That company now has a 90 year lease on some major highways inside America. He plans to turn them into toll roads so that he can make money. Our roads belong to the American taxpayers and not foreign companies. This new move to lease our roads to foreign companies is an indication that our leaders are servants of corruption instead of servants of the people.

    Unfortunately, America is turning into an oligarchy. We are seeing the destruction of a middle class in the past 15 years or so. A capitalist system is one where the government does not intervene in a free market, like the way our govt. does. Taxpayer money has been used to bail out large corporations (airline companies and banks) and several other companies when there should actually be a system of checks and balances which prevents this kind of activity. Wealthy corporations and monopolies lobby congress and get what they want because they are scratching each other’s backs. There should be a law which forbids a congressman from being in office if he is a stock holder or associate of someone in the defense industry. War is big bucks for the defense industry, international bankers, technologies, and oil barons. I am absolutely fed up with the decadence of our legislators. The system of checks and balances does not function. Over 120 congressmen and women made money on the past two wars. Lots of it too.

    Oklahoma is awake to what is going on. They don’t like what it going on behind closed doors with the SPP. They passed House Joint Resolution 1089 by Charles Key. Google it and check it. Also check out PDD 51. Bush signed this to give him complete control of all three branches of our govt. The constitution will be destroyed if the states do not wake up like they did in Oklahoma. Congress is trying to federalize and usurp the states powers, which goes against the constitution. The founders of America knew that tyranny could arise overnight and that the states should act as regulators and prevent any such tyranny. If the states do not think critically about what our leaders do behind closed doors, then you will see an erosion of the Bill of Rights. Facism does not always look like Adolf Hitler.


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