What is the Gospel?

The word gospel is defined as a good or joyful message. Many times, people use the word gospel to refer to scripture in general or the overall message of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. But the word gospel is used in scripture to describe a specific message. To the church the body of Christ that message has been made clear to us by the apostle Paul. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;…. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how 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: (I Cor. 15:1-4) It is the glorious message that Jesus Christ went to the cross to die for our sins, was buried and then rose again for our justification…. This specific message is our gospel and is to be believed, understood and appreciated.
It seems to be offensive to some to be told there is more than just one gospel. Now certainly there is only one gospel today in the dispensation of grace that saves us from the condemnation of sin. But we read of other gospels in scripture and those are to be understood and appreciated as well. Paul stated in Gal. 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; Clearly from this scripture the gospel that was given to Paul to preach was different from the gospel that was given to Peter to preach. So what did Peter preach? He was told to preach the same gospel that Jesus preached. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15) Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1:14-15) So what is this gospel of the kingdom that is to be believed? It is the specific good message that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who was come to establish his kingdom on this earth. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. (John 11:25-27) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:16-18) Note that the issue with the kingdom message is that Israel was to accept Jesus as the Christ… the son of God. The death, burial and resurrection was not part of this gospel. In fact we can clearly read that they had no understanding of the death, burial and resurrection. Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken. (Luke 18:31-34) From the scripture above it is clear that the disciples did not believe the message of the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. They were instructed to believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of God. A different gospel from what the apostle Paul preached.

Is there more than one gospel?

Why is it important to recognize the difference?

We have previously seen from scripture that Peter and Paul preached very different gospels. Peter preached the kingdom gospel to Israel which consisted of believing that Jesus was the Christ and was the son of God in flesh who was come to establish his church and usher in the kingdom. Paul’s gospel of the uncircumcision was that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again for our justification. One could see the problem that could come from not recognizing the difference between these two gospels. The clear message of the grace of God today may easily be confused or even lost. I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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. 1:6-8) Is it any wonder why we hear such a confusing message of salvation from the church today? We are told to do a lot of things to be saved …. Believe that Jesus is the son of God, repent of your sins, ask Jesus to save you, make Jesus lord of your life or give Jesus your heart… none of these things will save you today. Paul tells us… For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom. 1:16) The power of salvation is in the gospel once it is believed. There is nothing one can do today in this dispensation to be saved but believe the gospel. And our gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Your sins were paid for on the cross of calvary. Simply believe that simple message… resting in the sacrifice made for your sins in the person of Jesus Christ and be saved.