By: Gary L. Hutchens
I have been surprised of late, shocked really, that many people who identify themselves as Christians do not know what the gospel is. How could a person become a Christian without knowing what the gospel is? How could somebody worship and live as a Christian and not know what the gospel is? How would such a state be described? Ignorance? Self-deception? Deception orchestrated by the devil?
The apostle Paul laid out the basic outline of the gospel: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
The word gospel means “good news.” In the biblical application of the word it is the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. In its most basic form, as noted by Paul, the Gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as our Savior. In a broader frame of reference it is all of God’s word, for the Bible was given to us to teach us about God’s plan for our redemption from sin through our Savior.
Recently, I was further shocked when a man tried to convince me, from scripture, that there are actually two gospels, one for the Jew and another for the Gentile. But the scriptures make no such distinction. Numerous references speak of “the gospel” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:5; Mk. 1:14, 15; 13:10; Lk. 4:18; 9:6; 20:1; Acts 8:25; 14:7, 21...), and the list goes on. The designation is always in the singular.
Mark’s gospel account begins with this introduction: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mk. 1:1). When Jesus issued the Great Commission He told the apostles to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mk. 16:15). The phrase “every creature” simply refers to everybody everywhere. That would necessarily include Jews and Gentiles alike, and there is no distinction as to the gospel message that is to be preached to each group. Jesus simply told them to preach “the” gospel.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul applied the one gospel to both the Jews and the Gentiles, without differentiation: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16). Notice the singular tense expressed in the words “the” and “it,” and notice the all inclusive phrase “for everyone,” and also notice the coupling together of Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) by the coordinating conjunction “and.” The gospel of Christ, the only gospel of Christ, is God’s message of forgiveness, redemption and salvation for both Jews and Gentiles.
No matter who we are, no matter where we come from, no matter our background, our social standing, our education, our financial wherewithal, each one of us can be forgiven and saved through the gospel of Christ. Salvation is offered to every one of us through the same gospel without distinction, and through the one gospel we can all become one in Christ (Gal. 3:28). Praise God!…
Gary L. Hutchens