What is the Gospel?
The Gospel is beautifully expressed in the passage of Romans 5:8, "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us". The holy and just God over all creation looked upon the sin and rebellion of His people, which separated us from Him, with grace, mercy, & love. So much so, that He sent His Son Jesus to deal with our sin and rebellion while we were still entrenched in it. Jesus breaks into our world declaring God's kingdom, living a perfect sinless life, and then dying under the fullness of God the Father's wrath that was kindled because of our sin.
After his death he was buried in a tomb bearing our sins in His body and three days later He was raised back to life declaring His mighty victory over death, sin, and the grave. It is only through the work of Jesus that we can find forgiveness for our sins, be reconciled back to God, and await the day when the world will be made new again.
The Gospel speaks to us all and deals with all of our sins. In every area of our lives we see sin, Jesus offers us His perfect sinless exchange. Our sin for His righteousness. No matter what we struggle with or what idols we face in our hearts, Jesus offers us a beautiful exchange of His victory for our failure.
How we communicate the Gospel
The gospel has a context that we call the gospel story - the true story of God’s redemptive acts in the world. We summarize the gospel story at Pleasant using four words: Creation, Curse, Cross, Consummation. This can be a very helpful and simple way to remind ourselves of the gospel, apply it to different areas of life, and teach it to others. Here’s a brief summary of these four words:
Creation - God created all things very good.
Curse - All have sinned and misused the very good things of God. Because of this God’s curse is over all that he has made.
Cross - Jesus came to bear the full weight of God’s curse so that we can live under God’s blessing and experience the restoration of the goodness of his creation.
Consummation - One day Jesus will return and fully remove all sin and curse and we will enjoy perfect communion with the Father in a new heavens and new earth.
The above summary is how the events of the gospel apply to the lives of those who place their faith in Jesus. But even the above applications are somewhat general. They give us the categories that we need to make more specific applications. For instance, how does the gospel apply to feelings of guilt? Let’s use the above summary to apply the gospel:
Creation - God created man to live without sin and guilt. Sin and guilt is something that holds us back from what we were created to be.
Curse - An awareness of guilt and broken relationship with God is part of the curse. We feel guilty usually because we are guilty. These feelings of guilt teach us that something is wrong with our relationship with God. They give us a desire to be cleansed of guilt but we can’t get rid of our guilt on our own.
Cross - Jesus came, took responsibility for our sin, and bore our guilt. Because of this, no guilt remains for us. If we take our sin and place it on Christ then we can be free of the burden of guilt.
Consummation - A day is coming when it will no longer be possible to sin and we’ll never experience guilt again. We’re even growing into that now as we learn to leave sinful habits behind and walk in obedience to the Lord.
How we apply the Gospel