THE GOSPEL MESSAGE: The Gospel Explained


(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;

The gospel first and foremost is God's provision of righteousness for fallen sinners who have lost the ability to stand before the Holy and righteous sovereign ruler of the universe in their own merit and strength. In discussing the nature of sin it was pointed out that every person has sinned and therefore can no longer make a claim to personal righteousness. The issue is not how much a person has sinned but whether or not a person has sinned at all. The fact that scripture teaches that all have sinned necessitates the need for all to be saved.


(Romans 3:21-23) But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, {22} even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; {23} for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

In the preceding verse Paul begins to explain that apart from the keeping of the law the righteousness required by God has been manifested and can be obtained by those desiring it through faith in Jesus Christ. In another place Paul again emphasizes this crucial aspect of the gospel message in these words:

(Philippians 3:7-9) But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. {8} More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, {9} and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

Paul drives home the value and importance of this righteousness by saying he has given up everything to gain it and counts everything else as rubbish compared to being found in Christ where he receives the righteousness given by God on the basis of faith. The apostle explains that this righteousness is not his own, that is, it is not something he has earned or merited by keeping the law but it has come to him from God as a gift through faith.


(1 Corinthians 15:1-3) Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you ...{3} For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

The question naturally arises as to how God can grant to sinful men the perfect righteousness that is required? How can He be just and still consider a sinner as righteous in His eyes? God in His mercy and grace has allowed His Son Jesus who lived a perfectly sinless life to take the sins of others upon Himself and then to be punished in their place when He was crucified at the cross of Calvary. By paying the debt of sin Jesus made it possible for sinful men to be forgiven and declared righteous by God.

(2 Corinthians 5:21) He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

The offering of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world is the basis of the New Covenant. The animal sacrifices of the Old Testament pictured the coming sacrifice of the Lord Jesus once and for all to make atonement for sin. Consider Jesus words:

(Matthew 26:26-28) And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." {27} And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; {28} for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

The apostle Peter reminded his readers of the true significance of the crucifixion of Jesus when He said,

(1 Peter 2:24) ... He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross

Paul explained the death of Jesus and the shedding of His blood in these words:

(Ephesians 1:7) In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.

The Bible explains that the wages of sin is death. Jesus gave His body and shed His blood, pouring out the life of His sinless soul, to suffer the penalty of death in our place that we might be forgiven and declared righteous before the throne of God.