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It seems like a simple question, yet it has been known to incite some heated responses, even in the church. How are we to formulate a clear, biblical understanding of the gospel? Tradition, reason, and experience all leave us ultimately disappointed. If we want answers, we must turn to the Word of God.
Greg Gilbert does so in What Is the Gospel? Beginning with Paul’s systematic presentation of the gospel in Romans and moving through the sermons in Acts, Gilbert argues that the central structure of the gospel consists of four main subjects: God, man, Christ, and a response. The book carefully examines each and then explores the effects the gospel can have in individuals, churches, and the world. Both Christian and non-Christian readers will gain a clearer understanding of the gospel in this valuable resource.
A Summary of the Gospel
The Gospel (in Summary) has four basic components:
1. God – The Creator God, by Whom and for Whom and through Whom all things exist according to His will.
2. Man – Who fails to recognize and worship God for whom He really is, but chooses to worship creatures (nature, idols, self, etc.), and in so doing rejects personal accountability to Him.
3. Christ – In response to man’s rejection and treasonous warring against Him, God responds by providing what we need (not what we want) in order to be reconciled in our relationship with Him ~ Himself in the person of Jesus the Christ, God’s Messiah.
4. Response – God’s response to mankind’s war against Him results in a necessary response by each man and woman. No response, or rejection is to remain under existing condemnation. The only means of reconciliation is through accepting God’s provision, recognizing Him for Who He is, and ourselves as we truly are. (Both before and after our reconciliation.)
Galatians 1:6-11 (HCSB) ~ “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— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are troubling you and want to change the good news about the Messiah. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than what we have preached to you, a curse be on him! 9 As we have said before, I now say again: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you received, a curse be on him! 10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ. 11 Now I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel preached by me is not based on human thought.”