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What is the Gospel?

(The following is the August 17 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Galatians 1 and pay close attention to verses 6-9.)

How would you answer the question, “What is the gospel?” The New Testament Greek word translated “gospel” means “good news,” but what does that mean? Greg Gilbert summarizes his answer in the book What is the Gospel?: “We are accountable to the God who created us. We have sinned against that God and will be judged. But God has acted in Jesus Christ to save us, and we take hold of that salvation by repentance from sin and faith in Jesus. God. Man. Christ. Response.” *

Paul’s letter to the Romans goes into depth about the gospel and is a perfect place to learn biblical answers to the question. Once we understand it, we can summarize it as needed, ensuring we include the required elements of God, man, Christ, and our response. Anything less or anything else is not the whole gospel and can’t save anyone.

Paul warned the Galatian church about straying from the true gospel: “I am amazed that you are so quickly turning away from him who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, a curse be on him!” (vv. 6-8).

The gospel isn’t telling someone that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. It isn’t doing good deeds to make society better for more people. It isn’t any message that contradicts or waters down God’s Word. It is about what God has done through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to make it possible for sinful humans to reconcile with God through repentance and faith in Jesus.

Be sure the good news you share with others is the same good news of Scripture. There is no other gospel.

Next Step:

How would you answer the question, “What is the gospel?” What is the scriptural support for your answer?


* Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel?, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2010), 32.

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