"The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since then the gospel of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it. (Luke 16:16)

It has already been noted that the Bible is divided into Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament records God's covenant of Law given through Moses, the New Testament records God's covenant of grace which has come through Jesus Christ. John the baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets and he paved the way for the entrance of the Messiah, Jesus, God's Son. Up until the time of John the baptist the Old Testament Law was taught, after that the message of the New Covenant of Grace in Jesus Christ was proclaimed.

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, {15} and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)

So then the Gospel does not come to stand alongside of the law of Moses but to replace the Law as the means for man to find God's blessing and salvation. Scripture reveals that the Old Testament law could not bring life only the knowledge of sin and with it death. The gospel however reveals the grace of God, His undeserved favor, and with it the opportunity to receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life. These two things, grace and the gospel, are the heart and soul of the ministry of the apostle Paul and the things for which he lived and died.

(Acts 20:24) "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.

As the meaning of the gospel is explored the letters of the apostle Paul will play an important part in learning about this truth. Paul was chosen by Jesus Christ to unveil the meaning of the gospel, proclaiming it to his generation and recording it in scripture for all generations to come. Consider these statements made by Paul pertaining to this gospel message:

(Romans 1:1-4) Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, {2} which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, {3} concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, {4} who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord

(Romans 1:16-17) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. {17} For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

Paul was called and set apart for the gospel message - a message which had it's roots in old Testament prophecy regarding God's Son Jesus Christ. The apostle was not ashamed of this message because it is the means of salvation to everyone who believes. Salvation is deliverance; deliverance from the penalty, power and pain of sin. The gospel is the answer to life's questions and the solution to life's problems - it the power of God to deliver and rescue and save each and every one who believes.

The key to understanding the gospel is found in Romans 1:17 "for in it the righteousness of God is revealed". The perfect righteousness that each one needs to have fellowship with God has been lost to sin. However through Jesus Christ this righteousness is made available to man by God's grace to those who believe. The Law could not produce this righteousness because through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But through the sinless life of the lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who died to take away the sins of the world every believing person is declared righteous by God and adopted as His child.

The apostle Paul announced the gospel in the following words:

{1}Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, {2} by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. {3} For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, {4} and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

The beginning of this portion of scripture will provide the outline for the remainder of this topic which will be as follows:

1. The Gospel Explained: "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you"

2. The Gospel Received: "which also you received, in which also you stand"

3. The Gospel Held Fast: "by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you"

4. The Gospel Rejected: "unless you believed in vain"

Please continue on to consider these aspects of the Gospel message - the most important message communicated on the face of the earth today and the key to finding and keeping true happiness both now and forever.