The Gospel

We typically use the Gospel refers to God’s plan to glorify himself by saving sinful humanity through the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of his Son.  The word “gospel” is used around 120 times in your New Testament. Mark began his narrative of Jesus’ life as “the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1). As soon as John the Baptist was arrested, Jesus went out preaching ““The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15). The Lord ended his life on this earth with the commission to his disciples to preach the gospel.

            The gospel was promised in the OT (Gen 3:15; PS 22; Is 52:12-53), preached by Jesus during his life (Matt 4:23), but it was at Jesus’ death that the gospel was enacted. The resurrection of Christ is the proof of the gospel (1 Cor 15:12-19). Since Christ has been raised (1 Cor 15:20), Christians have life. This hope is experienced in this life and is perfected in the next. Because of the gospel, Paul said in we have life (1 Cor 15:21; Rom 6:5).

            But have you obeyed the gospel? Romans 10:16 sadly notes that “not all have obeyed the gospel.” 1 Peter 4:17 asks what will become of those who do not obey the gospel of God. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 said that Jesus would return with his angels “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”

            So, how do we obey the gospel? Through faith we come to Christ and obey him. This lifelong pursuit of Christ through obedient faith. In Romans 6:17-18, Paul said, “But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching to which you were handed over, and having been set free from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.” When exactly did the Romans “obey from the heart that pattern of teaching” and stop being the slaves of sin? In the context of Romans 6, it seems that Paul is looking back to their baptism (Rom 6:3-5) as when they stopped being in sin and started living in Christ because they believed—and obeyed—the gospel which God promised, preached, and enacted.

Donnie L. DeBord, M.Div, ThM.

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