Since I am a Christian Pastor, you might be wondering why I would read a book called What is the Gospel. After all, shouldn’t that be a no-brainer question for a ‘professional’ Christian? It should, but it isn’t. If you were to ask ten pastors the question, “what is the gospel?”, you might get five or six different answers which lead to fundamentally different understandings and applications for the Christian life.
I read this book for two reasons: First, in my line of work, if there is any subject that one should be crystal-clear about it, it is the essences of the good news I am called to proclaim. Therefore, it is always good for me (and any Christian for that matter) to return to the absolute basics of our faith and be reminded once again of the glory of the gospel and my charge to articulate it clearly, biblically, and faithfully. Second, I read this book because, as a pastor, I am always looking for good resources to put in peoples hands to either help them understand God or encourage them in their walk with Him – which this short book will do a great job.
Author Greg Gilbert is part of a wonderful ministry called 9marks. Their goal is to help equip church leaders with biblical resources and understanding, so that their churches display the glory of God.
In this book, Greg first addresses the problem I’ve already mentioned. In today’s church culture, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the one thing we should all know, be unified on, and proclaim as Christians. Next, he sets out to show demonstrate the absolute fundamentals of the gospel. Briefly put here they are:
- God is the righteous Creator of all things, He therefore has authority over all things, and will righteously hold all people accountable.
- Man is in a state of sin and rebellion against God, and all of humanity is therefore spiritually dead and separated from God as a result.
- Jesus Christ is the Savior. As one who is truly God and truly man, he came to live the perfect life no one else could ever live, to pay the penalty for our sin through his substitutionary atoning death on a cross, and demonstrating his authority and victory through his resurrection from the dead.
- That ‘Good News’ only becomes good news to us personally when we respond with faith (wholehearted trust in Christ and his work on our behalf) and repentance (turning from our sinful ways with God’s help).
In the final chapters of the book, Greg goes on to talk about the Kingdom of God, the importance of the cross being a point of continual focus for the Christian, and the power of the Gospel in our lives, our churches and our world.
Go buy a box of these books and hand them out to everyone you know.