What is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ?
I was listening to the radio, and one of my favorite preachers was preaching, “What is the gospel.” Most Christians are familiar with 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, which is used to explain what the Gospel is.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:1 Corinthians 15:3–4
Poor Hermeneutics is a problem.
Herein lies a common problem with many Christians, even pastor’s misuse of scripture. I mean that we often take passages and form teaching around them without proper context. What happens is we take sound bites of information and run with it. It is similar to overhearing a conversation about a topic and not getting the whole context. We pass that incomplete information around, and it gets increasingly inaccurate with each person. I can confidently say that because First Corinthians does not mention receiving eternal life, it is not all of the good news!
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”Romans 1:16
The Gospel means “The Good Story.”
The word Gospel means a good story. We need to tell the whole story if we are going to proclaim the Gospel. I am confident that Paul had already done that because of what he previously stated.
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.1 Corinthians 15:1–2
Notice Paul had already preached the true Gospel to them, and they had received it. The Corinthian letters follow what Paul had already taught them when he was there and the things contained in his missing epistle (1 Corinthians 5:9). So, like a person in a restaurant overhearing a conversation, they should take heed that they might be missing something.
What is commonly missing in our understanding of the Gospel?
What could we be missing about the Gospel? Well, we should return to the one who started the good news—Jesus! Jesus said the good news was about a coming kingdom.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.Matthew 4:23
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.Matthew 9:35
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.Matthew 24:14
Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.Mark 1:14–15
The complete Gospel is that of a coming Kingdom.
What is the Gospel of the Kingdom? Well, it all starts at the beginning. When God created life on earth, He made a garden. The whole purpose of our creation was to care for the park and the entire world.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.Genesis 1:27–28
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.Genesis 2:7–8
Unfortunately, the church has been deceived into believing we will leave this world for a better place. That is not the story of the Bible! The story of the Bible is that God still wants His paradise on earth, and the promises to Israel are part of the promise. We read of the final Kingdom in Revelation 21-22.
Even John 3:16 is taught without its full scope. Jesus could have said, “for God so love his people that…” (Matthew 1:21). But He didn’t! He told God loved the “world.” The word is the Greek word kosmos, which means the ecosystem. Yes, that includes humanity and our failure to care for God’s creation.
The child of God is promised to inherit the earth, not some unknown place in the universe. When God created life on earth and planted a garden, our job was cultivating it. Sin came into the world, and paradise was lost but not forgotten. It was God’s plan, which remains to have a heaven on earth. So the Father sent His Son to do what we failed (Matthew 4:23).
Everything wrong with the world is directly related to our sin. Our greed for power and wealth has negatively affected the planet. It is becoming so bad that Jesus must refine it with fire (2 Peter 3:10). We must all repent of our evil and cry out to Jesus to redeem us.
So here is the gospel.
The true gospel is that God created our heaven and earth, which He wanted to be a paradise (Genesis 2:8-9). He made us humans in His image to rule over it (Genesis 1:26-28). We have failed at our job and feel its daily pains in our economies, weather, and relationships. We are unworthy to care for God’s Creation and, therefore, must be removed from it (Genesis 3:24, Revelation 21:8). The wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23).
Our gracious Heavenly Father has not given up on His plans and found a way to make us worthy to rule with Him. He did this by sending His Son to do what we could not do (John 3:15-19). Jesus needed to transform us from sinful humans to those with a perfect nature like Him. That was done by His death, burial, and resurrection. All that is left for us to repent of our sin and receive Jesus as the Lord of our life and world so that we can reign with Him for eternity (Matthew 4:17).