What is the Gospel? It’s the Good News of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
1 John 5:11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
That is the Gospel in a nutshell.
Also: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.” from Luke 24:46-48
Here is the Gospel from Isaiah. Note how much the same it is! Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.
The phrase from Isaiah, “…so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he,” is (mini-Colossians 1:5-6).
In 1 John 5:11 (see the 2nd verse Above) “testimony” is the same word as “witness” in Isaiah. A witness is one that gives testimony. John tells us that the testimony is that God has given us eternal life in Jesus the Son of God. Jesus Christ himself IS the basic Gospel message. Part and parcel of Christ is the fact that as Savior he died on the cross for our sins. When we receive the testimony of Christ, it is with the realization that we are sinners who need to be cleansed, and that cleansing Christ provides. No one else does this.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 is also the Gospel. God-giving-his-Son means that God gave him to incarnation and to death and resurrection on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.
MY POINT: So often when we hear evangelists we hear a focus on ourselves and our sins. This (according to my reading of Scripture) is NOT the focus of the Gospel. The focus is Jesus Christ and who HE is. Presenting Christ–a God who loves us and is for us is tremendously joyful Good News! It is easy to present Christ this way: “Hey, did you know that God loves you?”
As it turns out, the only people who will receive this news are the lowly in heart, those who need a Savior, those who are aware of their sins. Christ IS Savior. What he did as Savior is die on the cross for our sins.
The Good News is that I have eternal life in Christ. That’s what I want to share, because our world is ruled and dominated by death in all its many forms. That my sins are forgiven, is also great news, because my sins are Death. Christ’s defeat of death is the Good News! His love for me is Good News! In order to make those things happen, Christ died on the cross and rose again. Christ and the cross are inseparable. And I do believe that many if not most sinners need to hear about the LOVE of God in Christ before any focus or attention is given to their own sins. It’s about Christ–it’s not mainly about my sin.
May God bless us all richly on Good Friday and on Easter.