The Basic Meaning of the Term
The term gospel is the translation of the Greek noun euangelion "good news," and the verb euangelizo, meaning "to bring or announce good news." This is translated a number of ways in the Scripture. Bringing good tidings, to show, or to preach the 'good news' or 'gospel'. Both words are derived from the noun angelos, "messenger." In classical Greek, an evangelist was one who brought a message of victory or other political or personal news that caused joy. The use of the words for 'gospel' developed a distinctly Christian use and emphasis because of the glorious news announced to mankind of salvation and victory over sin and death that God offers to all people through the person and accomplished work of Jesus Christ on the cross as proven by His resurrection, ascension, and session at God's right hand.
While the word 'gospel' is often found alone, it is also often modified by various terms that focus on a particular aspect of the gospel. In the New Testament, the various modifiers bring out some aspect of the gospel that is being stressed in the context and is a part of the good news of what God offers us in Christ.
(1) The gospel of Jesus Christ / of His Son. is the 'good news' of deliverance from sin's penalty, power and presence through the two advents of Christ.
Mr 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
1Co 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
Ro 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;
(2) The gospel of God reminds us that God's message of Good News was promised in the O.T. and was fulfilled through His Son, Jesus.
Ro 1:1-3 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
(3) The gospel of the grace of God emphasizes that salvation in all of its aspects is on the basis of grace rather than on some meritorious system of works.
Ac 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
(4) The gospel of the kingdom is the good news that God will establish His kingdom on earth through the two advents of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mt 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
Mt 9:35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Mt 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
(5) The gospel of peace describes how this good news of salvation in Christ brings peace in all its many aspects (peace with God, the peace of God, peace with others, and world peace) through the victory accomplished by the Savior. Eph 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
(6) The everlasting gospel expands our perspective of gospel as we normally think of it.
Re 14:6-7, And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
This gospel, as proclaimed by the angel, has several key elements of gloriously good news that are developed in three commands and two reasons:
Command #1: "Fear God." This refers to a holy reverence that recognizes the sovereign authority and power of God to deal with man in His holy wrath and thus, to bring an end to the world of sin as we now know it. To fear God is to recognize Him as the true God who can destroy the soul and not just the body as God will do with the beast of Revelation and His anti-God system.
Command #2: "Give Him glory." This refers to the praise and honor that should accrue to God from mankind due to our recognition and high estimation of God as the sovereign Creator of the universe.
Command #3: "And worship Him who made …" The word "worship" means to show reverence or respect. This word emphasizes the external display as seen in our obedience, prayer, singing, and formal worship. The word "fear" emphasizes the reverential mental attitude behind the worship. In the Tribulation people will be forced to fear and formally acknowledge the beast and his image.
In this message the angel is demanding that mankind reject the beast and formally turn to God to worship Him.
Reason #1: "The hour of his judgment has come" is a reference to the final judgments of the Tribulation-the bowl judgments-which are about to occur. This judgment will put an end to the system of the beast and bring the rule the Lord Jesus, the King of kings. These will conclude with the return of Christ Himself and lead to the removal of all unbelievers from the earth.
Reason #2: This is seen in the reference to God as the Creator in verse 7b. Since the beginning 'creation' has called mankind to recognize God's existence and to seek after Him. This can only be done through believing and knowing Christ
Ac 17:26-27 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Limiting the Meaning of the Gospel
In 1 Corinthians 15, the apostle Paul summarizes the most basic ingredients of the gospel message, namely, the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. Note the four clauses introduced by 'that' in verses 3-5:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
These verses give us the heart of the gospel message. The reality of this message can be verified by the Scriptures and by the historical evidence of the empty tomb and the eye witnesses.
However, we shouldn't limit it to only the message of how one may receive eternal life through faith in Christ. Paul declares that there is much more to it than that.
Note the context of these verses.
In chapters 3-5 Paul includes justification by faith:
In chapters 6-8 Paul includes sanctification through the Spirit.
In chapters 9-11 Paul deals with God's future for Israel.
The Gospel gathers together all the truths that are found in Romans.
In Rom 1:16, Paul is expresses his confidence that the truths of justification, sanctification, and even glorification provide God's power to deliver us from sin.
Romans 1:16-17, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."
Receiving the Gospel
The fact that God offers us salvation as a free gift through faith in Christ is good news beyond description. Paul links the gospel with faith in Galatians 3:6-9.
"Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." If the salvation offered to us were dependent on our merit or our ability to keep the law, it would not be good news because of our sinfulness and complete inability to keep the law or any kind of righteous principles as a means of our justification or right standing with God.
Ro 3:19-20, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."
Ga 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
Why is this such wonderful news? Because it guarantees justification with God based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Ro 4:13-16, "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all
Warnings About 'Another Gospel'
Ga 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
One of the beautiful and joyful aspects of the message of salvation in Christ that makes it such good news is the element of grace.
Salvation is the free gift of God to be received by faith alone in Christ alone.
But the message of grace goes contrary to the heart and thinking of man who intuitively thinks in terms of merit.
After all, you can't get something for nothing-at least not if its worth anything.
Man has always had a problem with grace and this is easily seen in the book of Acts.
1. From the very early days of the church, it has faced the problem of those who wanted to add some form of works to the message of grace.
2. In Acts 15:1 we read these words: "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved."
3. Verse 5 tells us that these were men from the sect of the Pharisees who had believed and were part of the church at Jerusalem.
4. Paul had to deal with a similar controversy in the book of Galatians.
5. Note what Paul had to say concerning them.
Ga 2:4-5 "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you."
So, the apostle warned of those who offer a gospel of works for salvation rather than grace.
We should remember, as Paul teaches us in Romans 4 and 11. If it is by grace, it is no longer by works and if by works, it is no longer by grace (see Rom. 4:3-4; 11:6).
So in reality, any time someone offers a gospel of works, it is not the gospel-a message of good news. Instead it is bad news, it is false, and a terrible distortion.
Ga 1:6-7, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Heteros = "another" as in "different"
Allos = "another" as in "same"
Example: I loved that piece of pie can I have another? (same) Or I didn't care for a piece of that pie, I would like another. (different)
(Ga 1:8-9) "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
So any message that is distorted by rejection of the truth that all God does for us in Christ is by grace alone through faith apart from works.
Or if it is a denial of who Jesus is, then it is different gospel, which is in fact, no gospel at all.
So what is the gospel?
It is the message of the good news of salvation, the word of truth offered to mankind by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.
It is a message not only of eternal life, but one that encompasses the total plan of God to redeem people from sin, death, and the power of Satan.
2Co 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Ro 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
The world is blinded to the gospel by Satan who wants to keep people from seeing the glorious nature of the gospel of Christ.
As believers we should never be ashamed of the gospel nor should we hesitate to share it with others
Because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes.
And the righteousness of God is revealed to us through the gospel.
(Mark 16:15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.