For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but in order that the world might be saved through him
(Jn 3:16-17 ESV).
The gospel is so much bigger than John 3:16 (even as glorious as that is). Because the gospel is more than that. Way more!
John 3:16 is good news. But it’s just one volume in the multi-volume set that is the gospel message.
Yes, the truth that God so loved the world that He gave His Son—to the world, for the world—is grand. And a great grace! But further consider Paul’s descriptor as “the gospel of the glory of Christ.” The Christ, the anointed Messiah of God, is central to the gospel. He is the Beginning and the End of the gospel. He is the Breadth and Depth of the gospel. He is its Creator and its Content. He is its Glory!
C. H. Spurgeon wrote, “The less you make of Christ, the less gospel you have to trust in. A little Christ means a little gospel; but the true gospel is the gospel of the glory of Christ.”
If we want the much-ness of the gospel, we must make much of the Christ.
The gospel is the life of Jesus. His whole life. How He lived His life is just as much the gospel as how He gave His life. For He lived it to perfection, in obedient righteousness. He lived it in grace and truth and humility. In service to and for the glory of God.
Jesus lived the life I can not live. He died the death I should die. He conquered the grave I could not escape. And arose to our Heavenly Father, beyond my own reach.
He is the good news!
The Bible points to the real needs of humanity. And the gospel reveals Jesus as the Satisfaction to every one of them. It confronts us with what is most true of us, while presenting the only solution.
The gospel is no human message (Galatians 1:11). It is divine. It was written in the heavens before time.
The gospel is a proclamation. Jesus came proclaiming the good news of God saying, “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:14b-15a). Jesus brought with Him the long-awaited kingdom, not only from the line of David, but from God.
The gospel is an announcement. To quote Paul Stromberg Rees, “The gospel is neither a discussion nor a debate. It is an announcement.” The gospel announces the kingdom of God. And the good news that the kingdom and its King have come. It’s an announcement that informs our worldview, values, relationships, and behavior.
And the gospel is an invitation The world is the recipient of a heavenly invitation. It is an invitation to submit to the King and become citizens of His kingdom. Rick Atchley once tweeted, “The gospel is not a plea to escape something dreadful; it is an invitation to embrace someone wonderful who wants to give you abundant life.” The abundant life comes with many gifts of God’s grace (which we’ll unpack in the posts ahead).
The apostles preached the gospel . . . continually. Dane C. Ortlund wrote, “Apparently the apostles considered the gospel not a one-time vaccination that spares us from hell but food to nourish us all the way to heaven.”
The glory of the gospel that shines forth from the Lord shocks dead hearts to life, opens blind eyes to see, delivers the enslaved, sets faith ablaze, and ignites true hope for living.
The gospel is a comprehensive message with power for living a consecrated life of hope.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
(2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV).
The grandeur of God’s magnificence, in the face of Jesus Christ, is demonstrated to humanity through the gospel. God had previously given glimpses of His glory—as in the blazing bush before Moses and the pillar of cloud and fire leading the delivered Hebrew captives. He filled the tabernacle with all-consuming glory. And filled the sky with dazzling glory to blind Saul of Tarsus. May the whole earth be so filled with the glory of the gospel and the King it proclaims.
The same gospel that has power to save, also has power to transform lives—which comes one day at a time. So daily infuse your days with thoughts of the Lord—consider all He accomplished with His life, His words, His works, His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His current reign. Day by gospel-filled day He fills these temples with hope unquenchable. Such is the gospel . . . and more!