“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).
The word gospel literally means good news. When we tell people the good news that through the victory of Christ over death we can have forgiveness of sins, we are preaching the Gospel. However, in the New Testament the word Gospel means more than good news, for it includes more than the facts concerning Christ. It also includes commands which are commensurate with the facts, and promises which are consequent to the facts. The Gospel facts are to be believed, the Gospel commands are to be obeyed, the Gospel promises are to be enjoyed. We can see from this that the Gospel is the entire system of Christianity, it is all of God’s word for this dispensation of time. The Gospel is the New Covenant.
Sufficiency of the Gospel
The Gospel of Christ contains all that is necessary for salvation of a soul from sin. Every single essential is found in the Gospel. This is because the Gospel is a divine revelation (Gal. 1:11-12), and heaven would not leave us with an incomplete revelation. While many wonderful thoughts have been penned by uninspired men, none of these writings have in them the power to save. Only the Gospel is God’s power unto salvation. Notice how men and women were saved in New Testament times: Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15). Again he told them, “I declare unto you the gospel…by which also ye are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (1 Cor. 15:1-2). The Ephesians were saved by the same Gospel: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13). A similar statement was made to the Thessalonians: “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13-14). All of these passages of scripture reveal to us the sufficiency of the Gospel to save; it is all that man needs.
Our Duty to Preach it
When we come to realize the importance of the Gospel in the matter of salvation, it will then be obvious that we have the duty to preach the Gospel at every opportunity, and to the extent of our ability. It will also be seen how futile and worthless it is to preach anything other than, or different from, the Gospel of Christ. Our Lord commissioned his disciples to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). There can be no doubt then that every responsible human being on this earth needs the Gospel. It is not for us to say of any people, “They have their religion, so let us leave them alone.” Even religious people must hear and accept the Gospel in order to be saved. The citizens of the great metropolis of Rome had their religions—plural—in the days of Paul, yet he was constrained to remark, “I am a debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also” (Rom. 1:14-15). Preaching anything save the Gospel of Christ can lead to the condemnation of the preacher as well as the hearer: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).
The Truth it Reveals
To us, in the Gospel, is revealed the grace of God. Indeed, the Gospel itself is a manifestation of His grace, for it is the priceless gift of God. Paul, in speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus, reminded them that he was sent “To testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Reference was made to the Gospel in the statement, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-12). Again, the righteousness of God is made known to us through the Gospel of Christ. “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17). Of course, we must understand that here no reference is made to the righteous character of God, but rather to His plan by which we can be made righteous. In the tenth chapter of this same epistle, it is written concerning Israel, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” The Jews certainly were not in ignorance of God’s righteous character, but they were ignorant of His plan of salvation and tried to invent their own. The righteous will of God is revealed only in the Gospel of His Son.
Finally, we learn to hope for immortality through the Gospel. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). With all of these truths revealed in the gospel, we should be constrained to believe it, to love it, to obey it, to preach it, and live by it throughout life.