Understanding The (Real) Gospel Hero Image
Understanding The (Real) Gospel Hero Image
Feb 16, 2024 / 4 min

Understanding The (Real) Gospel

Kylen Perry & Makayla Greene

“The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” – Charles Hodge

If asked, most people could probably give a basic outline of the gospel: It’s the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s the theological and historical recounts we see in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that tell us when we put our faith in Him, we get an all-access pass to eternity in Heaven.

This description is easy to understand, meaningful, and by all standards, accurate. However, if you’ve been looking around at believers who seem excited and motivated by the gospel in a way that makes you ask yourself “What am I missing?” it’s probably time for a change in perspective. Our goal is to move from having a correct understanding of the gospel to a complete one.

What if the Gospel is More than We Think?

The gospel is the foundation of our faith, the lens through which we see the world, and the purpose of our lives — so why do we go numb to it? If you’ve grown cold to the importance of the gospel and are dissatisfied with your view of Jesus, you may be missing out on the REAL gospel. (Spoiler alert: No, we did not get our hands on missing pages. This is all available to you in your copy of God’s Word – and we always want you to check our sources)

While it’s true that Jesus came down to save us from our sins, the reality is that we’ve made the gospel all about our individual salvation when it is so much bigger than that. Jesus didn’t just save us from something, He saved us into something.(Romans 8:9-10)

What Did Jesus Say the Good News is?

When considering what the real gospel is, looking to the Son of God is probably (definitely) the place to start, and in Mark 1:15 He says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” This prompts the question: What was Jesus’ understanding of the gospel?

Focus in on the word “kingdom” here because Jesus uses it a lot. This is because He understands the gospel as the inauguration of God’s long-awaited kingdom. The gospel isn’t limited to the 33 years Jesus walked the earth, it’s the culmination of all 66 books of the Bible. We see kingdom language starting in Genesis 1 and woven all the way through until Revelation 22. We’re told about:

  • Our royal task to have dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:26-28)
  • Our rebellion against His throne (The fall in Genesis 3)
  • His redemptive plan and pursuit of His people (Genesis 12-50)
  • The arrival of God’s Kingdom (Mark 1:15)
  • His rescue of us through Jesus Christ (Mark 1:1)
  • His invitation to us to become a royal people and to invite others into this inheritance (1 Peter 2:9)
  • His promise He will come again to conquer his enemies once and for all. (Revelation 5:13)

How many kings in history have you seen invite traitors into their courts? Jesus declared the kingdom of God has arrived at last, and we’ve been sworn in as royal ambassadors to invite others into eternity with the King of kings — and all of this is possible because God gave His only Son to defeat the enemy of death and rescue us back to Himself.

So, What is the Gospel?

It’s bigger than individual rescue; it’s an imperial conquest. It’s much more than a faith formula or individualized salvation. It’s a declaration that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He is the anointed One who takes on the roles of:

  • Prophet: The revelation of God to the world. (Matthew 21:11)
  • Priest: The mediator between God and us. (1 Timothy 2:5)
  • King: Who rescued us from our enemy, and reigns over all forever. (2 Samuel 7:16)

So, why have we lost our wonder? Become disenchanted with the central truth of our purpose as disciples of Jesus? Because our view of God is just too small. The real gospel tells us that God has had a plan to bring us into His eternal kingdom, and in His infinite kindness and love, He used His own Son to do it. Now, we get the opportunity to help advance God’s kingdom on earth and bring it to the doorstep of our own apartments.

Since we have the responsibility to both respond to and remember the gospel, it’s helpful to ask ourselves:

  • Have I ever responded to the gospel?
  • Who can I share the gospel with this week?

As followers of Christ, we’re called to cultivate a culture of discipleship unto Jesus — and that includes you! To help us develop a more complete understanding of discipleship, we're going through the 11 Marks of a Disciple, put together by our own Timothy “TA” Ateek. The article you just read covers the first mark: Thorough Understanding of the gospel story and able to articulate it. Keep an eye out for our next addition to the series!