What is the Gospel?

by Mike Ratliff

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,

15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14, 15 ESV)

In my Cruden’s Concordance introduction for the word “gospel” it reads, “The English word gospel comes from the Anglo-Saxon gõdspel which meant good tidings through, gõdspel or god-story. The word in the original (Greek) in the New Testament is euaggelion, from which, through the Latin evangelium, comes our word evangel, with its derivatives. In the New Testament, it is the Christ-message, not the books which were written to spread that message. Later it was applied to the four books which tell of the earthly life of Jesus—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” The word translated as Gospel in Mark 1:15, which I placed at the top of this post is εὐαγγελίῳ, which litterlly means “good message” or “good news.” Why is it “good news?” 

10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;

11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.

12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”

14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

16 in their paths are ruin and misery,

17 and the way of peace they have not known.”

18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:10-20 ESV)

That is not good news, but bad news indeed. Even trying to keep the law of God only makes it worse. That means that trying to please God by being religious does no good. Doing good works like feeding the poor and hungry does no good. No one is justified in God’s sight by attempting to keep the law since through the law comes knowledge of sin. So what is the solution?

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it–

22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

27 Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith.

28 For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,

30 since God is one–who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.

31 Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. (Romans 3:21-31 ESV)

Here is the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ my brethren. The righteousness of God comes only to His people through faith in Jesus Christ, that is, those who believe. There is no one who is exempt from this requirement. Why? For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. How are we justified? It is by God’s grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God put forward as our propititiation by His blood, to be received by faith. We looked at this not long ago in the post Our Propititiation. Oh my brethren, the gospel is not about what about how it makes us feel or anything that is in us, but is all about what God has done FOR US. Our salvation is God’s good work. It had to be this way because dead people are incapable of anything having to do with life.

1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins

2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–

3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,

5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–

6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10 ESV)

Never forget this my brethren and thank the Lord daily and as often as you can throughout each day for having mercy on you because of His great love for you with which He loves you. Even when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, He made us alive together with Christ by grace. He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly placed in Christ Jesus. For by His grace we have been saved through faith, not by our own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that we may not boast. We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

What is the good news? The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the good news of God is that even though we were dead in trespasses and sins, incapable of even choosing to believe God, repent, and be saved, He had mercy on us and provided a way for us through Christ our propitiation. To God be the glory!

Soli Deo Gloria!

8 thoughts on “What is the Gospel?

  1. Preach in brother! I find that the longer I am a Christian, the sweeter the gospel becomes. Good News Indeed!

    Praise the Lord, that he saw me in my unregenerate, God-hating, dead state, with NO LIFE in me, and saved me to the uttermost, so that His Glory, righteousness, and mercy would be seen through what He’s done. I still am amazed by it.

    Thank you brother for this post. I cheered my heart.


  2. My Pastor used to say we could preach to the dead bodies in the morgue, would they ever respnd??? So, we are the same, unless the Lord quickens us by his Holy Spirit to respond to the gospel message, for we are DEAD in tresspasses and sins.

    Glory to God who condescends to save sinners!!!

    “My Lord I did not choose you, for that could never be.
    My heart would still refuse you, had you not chosen me.
    You took the sin that stained me, you cleansed me made me new.
    Of old you have ordained me, that I should live in you.”


  3. I don’t have him anymore… : { But he was a faithful under-shepherd, and because his teaching was based on the scruipture, I still remember much of it….. I cannot belive HOW MUCH he actually taught us….. You see so many things on the internet….. and just in this evil generation in general…. What protection the Lord has granted us because we have been so deeply grounded in the Word


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