What Is the Gospel?

How can we proclaim it if we don’t know what it is? After a basic definition offered just below, the gospel also has multiple parts to it. Let’s see what they are.

Let’s define it formally.

It is the good news or good message or good announcement about who Jesus is and what he has done. Jesus is the Son and the Lord and the Messiah, who died for our sins and was buried, whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead, who appeared to many disciples, and whom God exalted to his right hand, where he forever reigns as Lord over all things.

For a breakdown of that basic definition, scroll down to the Conclusion.

I write to learn. In this post I use an outline for clarity and conciseness and convenience.

The NIV is used throughout, or I use my own translation, which I note. If you would like to see many translations, go to biblegateway.com. I quote the verses, rather than just give the references, because this is online writing, so cost per printed page is irrelevant, and because we need to actually see and study the verses.

Let’s begin.

I.. Etymology (Word Origins)

A.. In Greek “gospel” comes from the noun euangelion (pronounced yew-ahn-geh-lee-on, and the “g” is hard, as in “get”).

1.. It is used 76 times in the NT, it combines eu– (good or positive) angel (message or announcement, and yes we get our word angel from Greek).

2.. It means “good news” or “good message” or “good announcement.”

B. The verb for “gospel” comes from euangelizō (pronounced eu-ahn-geh-lee-zoh, and the “g” is hard, as in “get”).

1.. izō is the verb form. Greek adds the suffix -iz- and changes the noun to the verb and we do too, as in “modern” to “modernize”. So we could say “gospelize”  or good-news-ize” if the words were not awkward

2.. Better: The one verb means “proclaim / preach the good news”

II.. Key Words That Describe the Gospel

A.. It is the gospel of God (Rom. 1:1)

Originating with God, he launched it through his Son’s incarnation. Paul says he was set apart for the gospel of God.

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God (Rom. 1:1)

B.. It is the good news of God’s grace (Acts 20:24).

But on no account do I make my life precious to me, as I complete my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, testifying of the good news of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24, my translation, emphasis added)

This stands in contrast to the drudgery of keeping the Sinai Covenant and all its laws. Yes, the Sinai covenant had a grace component in it (see III., below), but full grace comes through Jesus.

One Decisive Difference Between Sinai Covenant and New Covenant

C.. It is the gospel of God’s Son (Rom. 1:9; Mark 1:1)

1.. The gospel is only and always about Jesus

God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son […] (Rom. 1:9)

God’s Son launched and preached the gospel during his earthly ministry. It is about him and for us.

2.. Jesus began it:

“The beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, Son of God” (Mark 1:1, my translation).

This verse is the opening statement of the Gospel of Mark and its beginning, so it says that the entire written Gospel is the good news or gospel. It truly is multi-faceted.

6. Titles of Jesus: The Son of God

D.. It is the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2 Thess. 1:8).

We surrender to his Lordship, and when we do, we can call him our Lord. But if we don’t surrender and obey the gospel, we place ourselves in peril:

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (2 Thess. 1:8)

5. Titles of Jesus: The Lord

E.. It is the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19)

For Paul the gospel was connected to signs and wonders backing up the gospel of Christ and done through the Spirit of God:

[…] by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Rom. 15:19)

That verse shows that Paul was a tireless, relentless missionary. Further, “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew “Messiah,” which means the “Anointed One.” For more information on what this means, please click here:

3. Titles of Jesus: The Son of David and the Messiah

F. The gospel displays the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4).

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:4)

When people cannot receive the gospel, they miss out on the glory of Jesus Christ. Glory is connected to God’s light, which reveals the truth. We also see that the god of this age (Satan) blinds the minds of unbelievers. Blindness also means self-deception, prodded by Satan. Pray that God would open the minds of your friends and family to receive the gospel.

2. What Is the Glory of God in the New Testament?

3. What Does the Glory of God Mean to Us?

G.. It is the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23, etc.)

The Bible never says the “gospel of the King,” but it says the “gospel of the kingdom,” and it is a fair deduction that a kingdom must have a king, and he is Jesus, according to the four Gospels.

And he circulated throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every malady among the people. (Matt. 4:23, my translation)

There are many verses that use the phrase “gospel of the kingdom.” So what is the kingdom? We better not dive into this rich topic here since this post is already very long, so here are some links for further study:

Bible Basics about the Kingdom of God

Questions and Answers about Kingdom of God

Basic Definition of Kingdom of God

1 Introducing the Kingdom of God (begin a ten-part series)

H.. It is the gospel of salvation (Eph. 1:13)

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit […] (Eph. 1:13)

The gospel is a synonym for the message of truth, which is a person, not only abstract, theological propositions. It is about the person of Jesus Christ. It includes everyone who surrenders to the Lordship of Jesus, not just the extra-pious and well-behaved. The gospel changes people from the inside out, by the power of the indwelling Spirit.

Salvation is an equally multifaced term, as much as the gospel is. Since this post is about the gospel and I must not extend an already-long post, you can read about the term salvation at these links:

What Does ‘Salvation’ Mean?

What Is the Work of Salvation?

How Do We Respond to God’s Salvation?

I.. It is the gospel of peace (Eph. 6:14a-15)

Stand firm then […] 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Eph. 6:14a-15).

It is the peace that comes from being reconciled to God. Before our reconciliation to him, we were his enemies because we lived according to the world, the flesh, and the devil, even though we may not have realized it. Now, through Jesus and his message, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1). The gospel, when we surrender to it and Christ’s Lordship, can also bring us internal peace because we can sense in our hearts that we have peace with Father God (Phil. 4:7).

Word Study on Peace

III. The Gospel in the Old Testament

A.. It would be a sign of not knowing the OT to believe that it does not introduce the gospel.

B.. It was revealed first to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15)

It is called the protoevangelium, which means the “first” (proto-) or “primitive” gospel (evangelium). God is speaking to the serpent:

15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.” (Gen. 3:15)

Womankind who converge or culminate in the one woman Mary will give birth to Jesus the Messiah, and he will defeat Satan.

C.. The gospel was revealed to Abraham (Gen. 12:2-3; 18:18; 22:18).

1.. Here is Gen. 12:2-3, which will be fulfilled ultimately in Christ, as we will see below in verses from the NT:

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.” (Gen. 12:2-3)

Here is Gal. 3:16, which speaks of Christ being the one offspring (or seed, singular):

16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. (Gal. 3:16)

Everyone in Christ is now a blessing to the nations, the ultimate descendant of Abraham, because Jesus is the Messiah and Lord.

2.. Here is the same promise restated in two more verses:

Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. (Gen. 18:18)

[…] and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Gen. 22:18)

Abraham’s ultimate blessing to the nations is through his highest descendant, Christ Jesus, as we read in Gal. 3:16. Here is Gal. 3:8-9, which reinforces 3:16:

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Gal. 3:8-9)

This reliance on faith is not vague or scattered. It is directed and placed in the Messiah Jesus. Now Gentiles can become the people of God through faith in the preeminent descendant of Abraham, the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, and the Messiah (see IV.E, below).

D.. The gospel was predicted in the prophet Isaiah’s writings (Is. 40:9; 52:7-10; 61:1-3)

1.. Isaiah predicts the gospel, using the phrase “good news.”

You who bring good news to Zion,
    go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good news to Jerusalem,
    lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
    say to the towns of Judah,
    “Here is your God!” (Is. 40:9, emphasis added)

2.. This long passage from Isaiah is rich with key words, which are fulfilled in Christ.

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
    together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
    they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
    the salvation of our God. (Is. 52:7-10)

All the major themes are there: good news, redemption, salvation, joy. They are all fulfilled in the Messiah.

3.. Jesus quotes much of Is.61:1-3, though he omits the passage about vengeance (v. 2b). Here are the verses in Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. (Is. 61:1-3, emphasis added)

In fulfillment of the above passage, quoting Isaiah 62:1-2, Jesus announces the beginning or launch of his ministry, in his hometown, Nazareth:

16 He came to Nazareth, where he was raised, and according to his custom on the Sabbath day he entered the synagogue and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was given him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

Because he has anointed me.

He sent me to preach the good news to the poor,

To proclaim release to the captives

And sight to the blind,

To set at liberty the shattered,

19 To proclaim the Lord’s year of favor” [Is. 61:1-2].

20 After he rolled up the scroll and gave it to the attendant, he sat down. Everyone’s eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began to tell them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:16-19, my translation)

Note how he stops in the middle of Is. 62:2 and omits the vengeance of God. God will ultimately judge Jerusalem (Luke 21:20), but not yet at the earliest stage of his ministry.

IV.. The Content of the Gospel

A.. It is the basic story about Jesus (Mark 1:1; 1 Cor. 15:1-8)

1.. We already read Mark 1:1 (II.C), which says,

“the beginning of gospel of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.”

The entire Gospel of Mark proclaims the gospel of Jesus, so the topic is huge and multifaceted.

2.. Turning to Paul, here is a long but boiled-down passage about the gospel:

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. (1 Cor 15:1-8)

We are saved by the gospel, if we hold firm to it (v. 2), or, if not, we will believe in vain. Verses 3-8 entails these elements of the gospel: Christ died for our sins; he was buried; he was raised on the third day; he appeared to many disciples.

The definition in the lead paragraph is based on 1 Cor. 15:1-8.

B.. The gospel says Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 5:42)

And every day, in the temple and households, they [the apostles] did not stop teaching and proclaiming the good news that the Jesus was the Messiah. (Acts 5:42, my translation)

As noted, the Messiah means “Anointed One.” Please click on this post to find out more:

3. Titles of Jesus: The Son of David and the Messiah

C.. The gospel brings salvation to everyone who believes in Jesus (Rom. 1:16-17)

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Rom. 1:16-17)

The Spirit-inspired gospel is sufficient to produce saving faith in receptive people who in turn respond by exercising their gospel-produced faith and putting their trust in Jesus. So it works out to this simple sequence (the arrows mean “produces”):

Gospel → Saving Faith → Trust in Jesus

The moment one trusts in Jesus, the believer is born again by the Spirit (John 3:3). The Spirit-inspired gospel is powerful enough to bring salvation to open-hearted people, without a complicated process worked out by some theologians.

What Does ‘Salvation’ Mean?

What Is the Work of Salvation?

How Do We Respond to God’s Salvation?

D.. Grace is built in to the gospel (Acts 20:24)

We read this verse before (II.B), but let’s quote it again:

But on no account do I make my life precious to me, as I complete my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, testifying of the good news of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24, my translation, emphasis added)

Grace and the gospel go hand in hand and are never to be separated.

What Is Grace?

Law versus Grace

E.. Both Jew and Gentile (Greek) can now be saved through the gospel of Christ (Eph. 3:6-7)

Gentiles (non-Jews) were never descendants of Abraham. So how could they be admitted into God’s people? Through the gospel of Christ.

This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. (Eph. 3:6-7)

The great mystery of the age is that God opened up his chosen people to Gentiles. The gospel opens this door of inclusion. It was a wonderful and stunning message for Paul, an extra-devout Pharisee before his salvation-conversion (Phil. 3:4-11).

F.. The gospel says Jesus will return as judge (Rom. 2:15-16)

15 They [Gentiles] show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Rom. 2:15-16, emphasis added)

Yes, the gospel involves grace, but at the end of the age God will judge everyone’s  secrets through Jesus Christ. Final judgment is also part and parcel of the gospel.

Bible Basics about the Final Judgment

V.. Characteristics of the Gospel

A.. It reveals the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4)

We saw this verse before (II.F), but let’s quote it again:

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor. 4:4)

We need to pray that our friends and loved ones have their minds opened up to receive the light (truth) of the gospel which displays the glory of Christ. People receiving the gospel is the best way of defeating Satan in spiritual warfare.

Satan and Demons: Theology

B.. It is eternal (Rev. 14:6; see 1 Pet. 1:25).

Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. (Rev. 14:6)

In Greek, in many (not all) contexts, the word “eternal” means “for an age” or “age-long.”

What Do Words ‘Eternity,’ ‘Eternal’ Fully Mean in the Bible?

The age-long gospel was planned in the heart of God before the foundation of the world. (Yes, he knew humanity would rebel, yet he made us anyway, because he knows his redemptive plan would far exceed our failures.) It endures from now on to the end of this age and will last in all future ages, even after the Second Coming. The gospel will remain valid and in effect for us as long as God’s Son exists, which is forever.

C.. It demonstrates the power of God (Rom. 1:16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Rom. 1:16)

The gospel is so powerful that it brings salvation to everyone who believes. The gospel is so powerful that it produces saving faith in people so that they can believe it in the first place. Once again, the sequence (the arrows means “produces”):

Gospel → Saving Faith → Trust in Jesus

The born again experience is the entrance into the kingdom of God (John 3:). There’s no need for anything more complicated than this sequence.

D.. It saves us (2 Thess. 2:13-14)

[…] because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 2:13-14)

In v. 13, the truth = the gospel. Yes, God chose us to be saved, and numerous verses say we believe after the call of the gospel goes forth (some of these verses have been discussed in this post). So God calls and we respond for salvation, but it does not follow that God did not choose some people in a negative predestination to exclude them and send them to hell. That is, nowhere does it say here that God predestined some to damnation. Rather than obsess over that question, let’s keep the main thing the plain thing: the gospel has power in it to save us when we believe, as we saw in the previous point (Rom. 1:16)

E.. The gospel gives us peace (Eph. 6:14-15)

We read this verse before (II.I):

Stand firm then […] 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. (Eph. 6:14a-15).

The gospel reconciles us with God, first, but we can expand it to reconciliation with others. Let the gospel of peace flow into your life and bring you peace with God and with each other.

3 Fruit of the Spirit: Peace

F.. The gospel brings hope (Col. 1:22-23)

[…] But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Col. 1:22-23)

We have to remain firm until the end and not move from the hope that the gospel holds out for us. This hope will be fulfilled when he returns and presents you before God (v. 21).

Word Study on Hope

G.. The gospel gives us life and immortality (2 Tim. 1:9-10)

Only in Christ do we have guaranteed immortality.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim. 1:9-10)

We are first saved, and then God calls us to a holy life, not by our own efforts but because of his purpose and grace. The grace comes through Jesus Christ, who appeared and destroyed death and brought us life and immortality right now and forever. That is, we have eternal life now and in the future (if we remain firm).

H.. The gospel grows and bears fruit (Col. 1:5-6)

[…] the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. (Col. 1:5-6)

The gospel brings hope, as we already saw in the previous point, and the gospel also grows and bears fruit as it spreads around the world and saves people by offering saving grace. It also produces growth and bears fruit in the Thessalonians since they heard it and truly understood God’s grace. Once again, the gospel and grace go together inseparably. The Thessalonians represent us as well. We too can see the growth and fruit in us by the power of the gospel living in us.

I.. The gospel has no rival (Gal. 1:6-9)

The false gospel that Paul warns against is no gospel at all.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (Gal. 1:6-9)

The false gospel was about mixing circumcision (the sign of the Abrahamic and Sinai Covenants) with the New Covenant of grace and faith in Jesus, No, Paul says. It is about faith in Christ only, not any add-ons, whether circumcision or other rituals, as necessary for salvation.

VI. The Response to the Gospel

A.. People should repent (Mark 1:14-15)

[…] Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near! Repent and believe in the good news!” (Mark 1:15, my translation)

The good news is sufficient to bring repentance and to believe the gospel of Christ.

What Is Repentance?

B.. People should believe it (Heb. 4:2)

For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. (Heb. 4:2)

That verse says that the writer of Hebrews and his fellow-believers heard the gospel and obeyed it, in contrast to the ancient people who heard about the rest of God and did not believe it, so it had no value for them. The ancient people represent the people of the author’s day who refuse to obey the gospel. Humans have enough free will to resist the gospel, but not enough free will to strut into God’s kingdom without the gospel wooing them.

Word Study on Faith and Faithfulness

C.. The gospel must be obeyed (2 Cor. 9:13; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 4:6)

1.. Those who heard about the Corinthian generosity and their confession of the gospel of Christ will praise God.

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. (2 Cor. 9:13)

Obedience to the gospel, which accompanies confession of the gospel, is part and parcel of it.

2.. This verse is sobering and stark, which we have seen before (II.D):

He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (1 Thess. 1:8)

Let’s not put ourselves in everlasting peril by disobeying the gospel.

3.. In the next verse the author of Hebrews says that those who did not obey the gospel did not go into the rest of God (salvation not based on works, but on faith)

Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience (Heb. 4:6)

As noted under the previous point, the ancient people did not enter God’s rest of salvation without works, and the ancient people represent unbelievers and the disobedient in the author of Hebrew’s day. Salvation that brings us into union with Christ is not based on works, but on grace through faith (Eph. 2:8)

D.. We should not be ashamed of the gospel (Rom. 1:16)

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Rom. 1:16)

Once we understand how powerful it is–it can transform lives–we will never be ashamed of it.

E.. We have to live worthily of the gospel of Christ and its truth (Gal. 2:4; Phil. 1:27).

1.. Here Paul is about to rebuke the lead apostle, Peter, for not being consistent in walking in line with the truth of the gospel:

When I saw that they [Jews] were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? (Gal. 2:14)

“They” are various Jews who accompanied Peter. Peter ignored strict regulations when he was with the Gentiles, yet went back to the old legal strictures when certain Jews came from Jerusalem. Our message is that we must live completely for gospel freedom.

Word Study: Truth

2.. Now Paul teaches the Philippians to let the gospel empower them to live in a manner worthy of it:

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel […] (Phil. 1:27)

Not only must we conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, we must strive as one, in unity, for the faith (as distinct from law-keeping) of the gospel. The gospel is about faith in Jesus, so let’s stand firm in it and not go back to the old law (or Sinai covenant) (Phil. 3:9).

One Decisive Difference Between Sinai Covenant and New Covenant

F.. We should serve the gospel (2 Cor. 8:18)

An unnamed brother is the man Paul speaks of:

And we are sending along with him [Titus] the [unnamed] brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. (2 Cor. 8:18)

Titus and the unnamed brother did not serve the Roman Empire, when they were going to visit the Corinthians. They served the gospel, which comes down from the heavenly kingdom.

G.. We should continue in it (Col. 1:22-23)

We read these two verses before (V.F):

[…] But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Col. 1:22-23)

God must sustain all of us to remain established and firm in our faith and not move away from the gospel. If we do, we lose our hope.

Remaining a Christian or Falling Away?

H.. We should promote it (Acts 8:4; Rom. 15:19-20; 1 Cor. 9:16-17)

1.. After Saul’s persecution of the converts to the Messiah, they scattered and proclaimed the gospel everywhere:

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. (Acts 8:4)

“Preached” is the verb “euangelizō” or they “gospelized” or “good-news-ized” the word.

2.. Paul was a tireless, relentless missionary who intended to break through with the gospel in unreached territory where people had never heard the gospel.

19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. 20 It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation. (Rom. 15:19-20)

3.. Paul wanted to preach it voluntarily, but he was also compelled:

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. (2 Cor. 9:16-17)

Whether voluntarily or involuntarily (divine compulsion), let’s preach the gospel.

I.. We should defend it (Phil. 1:7, 16; cf. Jude 3)

Paul tells the Philippians how much affection he has for them (v. 7) and that he is in prison for defending the gospel (v. 16):

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. […] The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. (Phil. 1:7, 16)

In this context, “defense” means proclamation of the pure gospel without legalistic and ritualistic mixture of the old law. and for this refusal to back down from the gospel of grace he was persecuted and arrested and sentenced to be under house arrest.

J.. We may suffer for the gospel (2 Tim. 1:8; 2:8-9)

1.. Paul encourages Timothy:

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. (2 Tim. 1:8)

In Paul’s day, suffering for the gospel could come from Rome or Jerusalem. In our day, persecution is more prevalent in communist and Islamic countries. Don’t be ashamed of the gospel, and when you suffer for it, the power of God will sustain you.

2.. Paul suffered as if he were a criminal, even though he merely preached the gospel of grace.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.  (2 Tim. 2:8-9)

Jesus’s resurrection and his descendance from David (= the Messiah Jesus) brought Paul suffering and chains, as if he were a criminal.

Let’s pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in oppressive countries.

Conclusion

Let’s review the definition in the lead paragraph:

It is the good news or good message or good announcement about who Jesus is and what he has done. Jesus is the Son and the Lord and the Messiah, who died for our sins and was buried, whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead, who appeared to many disciples, and whom God exalted to his right hand, where he forever reigns as Lord over all things.

Let’s break it down.

1.. “The good news or good message or good announcement about who Jesus is and what he has done”

This point comes from the basic Greek definition of euangelion. It is first and foremost good news. But about what or whom?

This image summarizes who Jesus is and what he has done:

1. Do I Really Know Jesus? His Entire Existence in One Image

2..”Jesus is the Son and the Lord and the Messiah”

It is all about Jesus and his status in God’s kingdom.

6. Titles of Jesus: The Son of God

5. Titles of Jesus: The Lord

3. Titles of Jesus: The Son of David and the Messiah

3.. “Who died for our sins and was buried”

Now he accomplished our salvation and suffered in our place.

9. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Died for You

4..”Whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead”

Yet God was with him and vindicated him when all seemed lost and finished. God raised him from the dead.

11. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Was Resurrected from the Dead

12. Do I Really Know Jesus? What Was His Resurrected Body Like?

13. Do I Really Know Jesus? His Resurrection Changes Everything

5..”Who appeared to many disciples”

First Cor. 15:1-8 (IV.A) says that he appeared to many disciples, including 500 at one time. The crowd of disciples must have gasped. Who knows but God? Some may have fallen on their faces or even swooned. Amazing (if you think about it).

14. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Appeared to His Disciples

6.. “Whom God exalted to his right hand”

Acts 2:33 and 5:31 and 7:55-56 (and many other verses) say that God exalted him to his right hand. Jesus now occupies the highest position in the universe, equal to God.

15. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Ascended into Heaven

7. “Where he forever reigns as Lord over all things”

These verses explain:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11)

The gospel is always and only about Jesus and his salvation and grace and exaltation. Now let’s live worthy of it and proclaim it.

17. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Is Seated at Right Hand of Father

SOURCES

Works Cited

At that link, look for the NIV Study Bible (2011), though I have modified the basic outline and offered my commentary.

 

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