What actually is the gospel?

In our story, the word “gospel” is mentioned on nearly every page. It’s also a word you’ll find many times in the Bible. In fact, the gospel is at the heart of what the Bible is all about. But what actually does the word “gospel” mean?

“Gospel” is a combination of two words – “good” and “spell” (which is an old way of saying “news”). So “gospel” means “good news”. If you read the bible and listen to the words of Jesus and his apostles, you will discover what that news is and why it is good. You will find out that the news is all about who Jesus is and what he has done.

The gospel is all about Jesus

Around 2,000 years ago, God came to earth in the man, Jesus. Jesus taught people about God, showed the authority of God through miracles and cared for people with the love of God. Most importantly, he showed us that God wanted reconciliation with a world of people who had turned away from him. Jesus didn’t just talk about reconciliation. He also made it possible. Let me explain how.

The Bad News before the Good News

The Bible says that God is the source of all life and the consequences of turning away from God is death – both now and forever. Sadly, this is something we all have done. The Bible says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray. Each of us has turned to our own way.” (Isaiah 53:6) and Jesus taught, “No one is good – except God alone.” (Luke 18:19)

In our story, this truth is pretty shocking to Santa, but he knows it is true. If we’re honest, we know it’s true about ourselves as well. We all don’t love God or others as we should and no one deserves to live with God forever. But it’s actually worse than that! We have no way of fixing ourselves up to deal with our sin and be restored to God. We need God to save us.

Now this doesn’t sound like good news, but fortunately, the story does end there. The good news is that God has given us a way to be forgiven and reconciled to Him. When Jesus was crucified on the cross, he took the punishment for our sin upon himself and he died the death that we deserve.

And that’s not all! Three days after Jesus was buried, he rose from the dead and now lives forever! So he not only can take away our sin, but he can also give us new life! This is why the news about Jesus is so good!

Jesus’ invitation

Jesus is the “Messiah” or “Christ”, which is the special title for God’s king over all of creation. Everyone – no matter who they are or what they have done – is invited to turn away from their sin, put their trust in Jesus the Christ and embrace his free offer of forgiveness, friendship and new life. This is what it means to be a “Christian”.

Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends, explained the gospel message this way:

“Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:24-25)

This is the good news that the elf in our story read about in the Bible. This is the good news that she shared with Santa the next day. And this is the good news that Santa wanted to share with everyone at the end of the story. It’s the good news about who Jesus is and what he has done to reconcile us to God.

Explore the gospel for yourself

I hope that you can come to discover how good the gospel is for your own life. If you want to learn more about Jesus and the gospel, why not do what the elf did and read the bible for yourself? You can start with one of the four biographies about Jesus – “Matthew”, “Mark”, Luke” or “John”. These tell the good news about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. That’s why they are called the four “gospels”.

Click here to read John’s Gospel online

 

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