When we say the gospel is the answer to the world’s problems, we don’t mean some ethereal, high in the sky notion of abstract thought. The gospel changes hearts of humans, and the hands follow as a result depending on where the posture of our heart are at in a given moment.
The Gospel Changes Lives
The gospel is earthy and real; its effects can be seen in the lives of people who are changed by it. It took a man (the Apostle Paul) who led men and women away into prison and murder and turned him into the one who wrote two-thirds of the entire New Testament. It took a slave trader, a racist, and ruthless man and made him one of the fiercest, most tireless advocates for the abolition of slavery in John Newton. Who could sing the words “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see” and genuinely mean it because it was he who wrote them was transformed by the beauty of the grace of God.
The lives of Paul and John Newton are evidence of the powerful effect the gospel has on our lives. Which is why we must take the time to explain what the gospel is. I admit in my own life, a church-from-birth person, I get used to the words we sing and hear in sermons, almost to the extent that I forget the meaning of them.
Defining Church Terms
What is “grace” defined? How do we explain “faith”? And, most importantly, “What is the “gospel”?
I’m afraid we have used these words so much within our church subculture that we take them far too for granted. Words mean things. And because words contain information, we should often remind ourselves of the meaning behind the words we so often use.
The gospel is the only answer to the world’s ill. In the world, we see violence, shootings, racial strife, cultural Marxism, all of which reveal the myriad of ways, as sinners by nature and choice we harm one another because of the Fall. So, it is vital; we define what the gospel is and demonstrate what humanity who has been made in the image of God and impacted by the Fall is to do to one another because of the grace of God. Before we dive into all of that, let’s define our terms and then explore the remaining subject in the remainder of this article.
A Definition of the Gospel
First, the gospel. What is it? How do we define it?
A short, working definition can be used: “Jesus died on the cross to reconcile sinners to God.”
In a sense, yes. However, as always, we must delve deeper. How and why did we become sinners, and why did it take the death of the Son of God to reconcile us? We must first ask these questions, mulling them over in our hearts and minds, before we can begin to appreciate the vast effects the gospel has in our lives.
How and Why Humans Fell from God
According to Scripture (which Christ also attested to in the gospel accounts), sin, and its effects entered the world through human beings. God entrusted the care and stewardship of the earth precisely to Adam and Eve and generally to humanity after them. We are God’s greatest creation, and he sealed his greatest creation with the image of himself. Which is why we say we are created in the image of God.
And so, having God’s image implanted in us, God called us “good” with no qualifications. We were created good, upright, honorable, able to walk with God on earth.
One day that changed because of the Fall.
As stewards, Adam, and Eve were to protect and keep the Garden of Eden. They were able to eat from the myriad of edible, delectable fruits of each and every tree, save one: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That was the first covenant between God and man, which we call the Adamic Covenant.
We don’t know how long this peace between God and man lasted all we know is one day, Adam broke that covenant. Most know the story by heart. The Serpent tempted Eve, and in turn, Adam, and they ate the forbidden fruit. And when they did, sin entered the world like a wrecking ball and tore the very fabric of the physical and spiritual realm, whose effects still reverberate today.
Now we move to the why. Why did Adam and Eve rebel? Why did they disobey the one command God gave? Disbelief. They did not believe that what God commanded was best. They wanted to take control for themselves, to become little “g” gods.
And so death, both physical and spiritual, entered the world through that first act of disobedience.
The Fall, and the doctrine of Original Sin explains why we see so much death and destruction today and throughout the whole of human history. Adam and Eve served as ambassadors, so when they fell, the natural state of humans turned from good to evil. Scripture states that when we fell, we not only became dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians) but also haters of God (Romans 1:30) and haters of each other (Romans 1:29).
We cannot miss this. When we rebelled against God, we, in turn, rebelled against his good creation, including and especially each other. Disunity with God creates disunity with his creation. Haters of God, haters of man.
We must also note that when Adam and Eve fell, God was under no obligation to save. This is where we must define grace. Grace is unmerited favor. We don’t and can’t ever earn God’s grace; if we earned it, it would no longer be grace.
God’s Eternal Redemptive Plan Put into Action
God, being merciful, sent his Son to earth, to be born of a virgin, to live a sinless life, perfectly keeping God’s law, and to die as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. This is why Scripture calls Christ the Second Adam. In Adam, we all die. In Christ, the Second Adam, we live.
It took the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross to save because, as Paul in Ephesians 2 states, we were dead in our trespasses and sins. We walked as haters of God, subjected slaves to the domain of darkness. I love the picture of Christ, the light of the world, invading the domain of darkness with the brightness and splendor of his glorious grace, and rescuing and redeeming lost sinners living under the slavery of sin. The greatest, and truest, story ever told.
We are saved by God’s regenerative work, giving us the gift of grace and faith so that we may walk in newness of life under the Lordship of Christ in every area of our lives.
Here, again, is where we define another church term: faith. Faith, according to Hebrews 11:1, is “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” It is more profound than an intellectual knowledge of facts and events. Faith is belief plus trust in Christ alone. We believe Christ fulfilled the law, died on the cross for our sins, and was raised on the third day. and Trusting in Christ alone means believing, trusting, submitting, and setting our hope and admirationas the , Messiah who alone can save.
The Answer the Gospel Gives
We now return to the gospel and why it is the answer to all that ails the world, a point I made earlier in this article, but now will expand upon as we wrap this article up.
The gospel saves and reconciles sinners to God individually. And yet it also reconciles us to each other, breaking down the wall of hostility between God and man, as well as between all humanity (Ephesians 2:11-20). Every sin, every sickness, every disease, can be explained and answered fully because of the gospel because the gospel includes the understanding of why we needed Christ’s atoning sacrifice. All of our world’s societies and nations continue to live in disunity with God Himself. Because of that, the world lives in disunity with each other. We lie, cheat, steal, murder, we are not good, we are — haters of God and haters of fellow men created in the image of God. . EveryChristian knows why. And because we understand why we know the answer. It’s as simple as telling someone the gospel is the answer. And people ask us what the gospel is, this hope we have, may we take the time to share the good news with people who desperately need to hear their only hope of redemption from a world headed to death and destruction and hell, and to the merciful, loving, thrice holy God who saves.