Open Forum – What is the Gospel?

It is always helpful to speak clearly. Words matter. Definitions matter. Without a shared understanding of terms, real communication is impossible. Christian thinkers and pastors must insist on clear language.

I want to hear how you would briefly define the Gospel? Just leave your answer in the comments of this post. If you’ve written a definition post on your blog you can link that in the comments too.

To get the conversation started, watch this video from Dr. Moore where he answers this question on his Sunday school class website.:

Open Forum – What is the Gospel?

How would you define the Gospel in one or two sentences?

When Jesus said repent and believe the Gospel what was he saying?

Leave your comment below to join the conversation.

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9 Responses to Open Forum – What is the Gospel?

  1. Marc Backes says:

    Gospel = The historical reality that God become man in the person of Jesus Christ absorbed the penalty owed to me because of my rebellion and hostility toward the very God that created me.

    To vindicate God’s righteousness, Jesus absorbed that penalty, experienced death, and then three days later walked out of a hillside tomb and appeared to hundreds before returning to be seated at the right hand of God where he is enthroned until he comes to Earth again to establish His everlasting kingdom.

    And because of his absorption of that wrath, I can now have peace with God and no longer stand as an object of wrath, but rather as a object of His unending love, mercy, and grace.

    Three sentences, VERY LONG sentences, but three sentences nonetheless. That was hard…seriously hard…Hard to put The Gospel in 50 words or less…

  2. Dave Crater says:

    The gospel is, as Derek Webb put it, the inauguration of God’s plan in and through Christ to restore all things to Himself. This begins with the faith-appropriation by individual sinners of Christ’s vicarious atonement for their sins, and ends with the destruction of the current cosmos and creation of a new cosmos wherein dwells pure righteousness, all to the glory of God’s great name and nature.

  3. vynette says:

    The doctrines, the traditions, the forms, the rituals, the theological empire-building, and the mind-numbing complexities introduced by the Christian churches over the last two millennia can be discarded and replaced with a single simple “gospel” – follow the Old Man, Adam, or the New Man, the ‘last Adam.’ Our choice!

    The New Testament writers enumerate principles to follow in order that Christians living many centuries later may become one with Jesus. Where John preached the gospel of love, Paul announced redemption by a inner and spiritual identification with Jesus, with a self-imposed crucifixion and resurrection.

    By subordinating the will of his own flesh, and by choosing the truth of God instead of lies, and obedience to God instead of disobedience, Jesus restored man to his position as it existed in the beginning.

    By this ‘atonement’ he has made it possible for godly men and women to emulate him and become children of God. Those that do not choose to do so are still children of Adam and must carry Adam’s burdens.

  4. The Gospel in two sentences?

    “This is how God loved the world: He gave his only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have life everlasting. If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, you will be saved.”

    Or how about this one?

    “The Father sent the Son to be the savior of the world. Whoever has the Son has life, but whoever does not have the Son does not have life.”

    That do it? Still not enough?

    The problem we face is we are increasingly becoming too caught up in trying to encapsulate the book of Romans into our Gospel presentations. If we aren’t willing to leave out a couple of things here and there in favor of getting to the point, we will lose our listeners and never get to those other equally important things.

  5. I would say the gospel is the story of the one Creator God, making all things, space, time, matter, energy in order to display his nature to his creatures. God created human beings in his own image and likeness to know him, love him, and reflect his character in the world to one another for their joy and his glory. Our first parents then gave God the proverbial Heisman, choosing to live life their way rather than God’s way. They turned away from God and his provision for them, disobeying his commandment and thereby bringing fracture in their relationship with God, one another, and creation. God thereby cursed man and creation subjecting it to futility and bondage to decay. Yet God in his grace set about to redeem a people back to himself and has pursued us throughout history to this end. He promised in the very early days to send a human being, a seed of a woman to bring people back to God, reconciling them to himself and all things (Gen 3:15) Throughout history he communicated with us and connected with us through prophets, men called to speak God’s message to humanity. He made covenants with his people that would culminate the in his sending of his own Son to the earth. He would be a Jewish person, the offspring of Abraham (Gen 12, 15). He would fulfill God’s commandments perfectly satisfying the demands of the law completely and live without sin (Heb 4.15). He would be a king to his people (2 Sam 7) guiding them into a life of love, joy and peace. He would teach us the truth, show us perfected humanity, and ultimately die to pay the penalty for our own rebellion and sin. This person, Jesus, gave his life for us in what Martin Luther called the great exchange. Our sin was placed on him as he took our deserved judgment and punishment by dying on a cross. We then receive his righteousness and favor and good name before God the Father (2 Corinthians 5.16-21). We are thereby forgiven, brought back into relationship with God, our guilt is removed, God’s wrath no longer is upon us, and we now become his followers and agents of reconciliation in the world. We receive all of this by his grace, none of it is earned by our works or actions. God will someday bring his kingdom in fullness where Jesus will completely and finally bring an end to all evil and usher in an eternal age of life and peace for all who follow him. Those who persist in rebellion against God will face his justice in Hell for all which was done in this life, eternally receiving the due penalty for sin.

    Two passages of import:

    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in ac-cordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accor-dance with the Scriptures. – 1 Corinthians 15:1-3

    Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to-ward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one anoth-er. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not be-cause of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1-8

  6. Tony Kummer says:

    The good news that God is keeping all his promises (and destroying all his enemies) through his Son Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, died in place of sinners, was raised to new life and offers perfect righteousness to all who will repent and believe.

    This Jesus has established a forever kingdom and is restoring all things to himself. His final appearing will mean the recreation of all things according to the promise of God.

  7. Pingback: Dr. Moore and the Gospel « Lawn Gospel * Law ‘n Gospel

  8. Doug Smith says:

    Okay, 2-3 sentences, without trying to be reductionistic and leaving out something essential…

    1. God made man in His image to reflect His glory, but man disobeyed God, ruining that image and consequently reflecting a lie about God’s authority, goodness, and wisdom – a lie worthy of conscious, eternal punishment.

    2. Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is the perfect image of God, became a man to live a perfect life and die on the cross as a substitute for sinners so that all who turn from their rebellion and trust this risen and returning Savior, relying on Him alone for their salvation, will be saved from the wrath of God and inherit eternal life, which is knowing God.

    3. Sinners who trust Christ are accepted by God on the basis of Christ’s righteousness being put to their account and have the sure promise of being made like Him gradually in this life and completely in the life to come, so that the image of God is accurately reflected in people redeemed by Jesus’ blood, to the praise of His glorious grace.

    (This is based on keeping in mind the Will Metzger’s points of “God, Man, Christ, Response” and also a helpful summary of something I heard about God’s image in man as man is formed, deformed, and transformed.)

  9. In two words:
    Good News

    In five words:
    Christ died for our sins
    (penal substitutionary atonement)

    In more words:
    Jesus Christ is the gospel. The good news is revealed in His birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension. Christ’s crucifixion is the heart of the gospel, His resurrection is the power of the gospel and His ascension is the glory of the gospel. Christ’s death is a substitutionary and propitiatory sacrifice to God for our sins. It satisfies the demands of God’s holy justice and appeases His holy wrath. It also demonstrates His mysterious love and reveals His amazing grace. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and man. There is no other name by which men must be saved.

    At the heart of all sound doctrine is the Cross of Jesus Christ and the infinite privilege that redeemed sinners have of glorifying God because of what He has accomplished.

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