What is the Gospel?
This is something I wrote for my pastor a couple months ago and wanted to share for the blog. The Gospel is from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, and it is the story of the universe. It is the story of God creating us, us falling from grace, Him working to save us, and then equipping us to share the news until He returns in glory to bring us home.
In the beginning, before anything else, there was God (Gen. 1:1) eternally pre-existing in three persons (Matt. 28:19; Jn. 1:1; Heb 9:14), but one singular God (Deut. 6:4). This Trinitarian God then created the entire universe and everything in it with the power of His word (Gen. 1), with the pinnacle of His creation being the creation of man and woman in His image (Gen. 1:27). He placed them in a Garden in a sacred land, in perfect harmony with Him and in His full presence (Gen. 2:15-25).
However, mankind fell into sin, deceived by a serpent (Gen. 3:1-6) and fell from this glorious state into shame (Gen. 3:7-8), pain (Gen 3:16-19), and separation from their Creator by being cast out of the land (Gen. 3:22-24). Despite this, God had a plan in place, already set in motion for their future redemption (Gen. 3:15). God brought deserved justice upon the Earth yet set apart Noah and his family out of mercy (Gen. 6-9). God took Abraham and set him and his descendants apart for Himself, creating the nation that mankind’s Savior would come from, and promising a return to the land that God had made for them (Gen. 12:1-3). God then sovereignly arranged and ordained for His people to enter into Egypt (Gen. 47:5-6) and be enslaved (Ex. 1:13-14) in order for God to deliver them (Ex. 6:1) and show them that He is God (Ex. 7-14).
He led them to a mountain where He revealed Himself and gave them the Law (Ex. 19-20), which they would not uphold, and was there to show them their sin (Ex. 31:25-29; Rom. 3:20). God then allowed them to enter the land that had been promised to them (Josh. 3). God gave Judges to Israel and showed them the cycle they were stuck in (Judg. 2:11, 14, 16, 19). When His people wanted a king, He granted them one according to the precepts already established in the Law (Deut. 17:14-20; 1 Sam. 8:1-9) and used this office of king in order to raise up David, promising a Savior, an eternal king, from his line (2 Sam. 7:12-13).
From there God brought the prophets who tried to call Israel to repentance (Hos. 14:1-3); to be in right covenantal standing with Him (Hos. 4:6). Israel did not repent and so God sent them out of the land and into exile (Ezek. 22:14-15). But God did not want to completely destroy Israel (Hos. 11:8-9), so after the completion of the exile, God was going to bring back a remnant to the land (Jer. 29:10-14; Is. 10:21). God also promised that there was a Savior coming who would restore everything once more (Isa. 52-53) and the Old Testament closes with the promise of someone that God is sending ahead of this Savior (Mal. 4:5-6). God then says nothing to His people for 400 years.
After these 400 years of silence, someone comes on the scene. From the line of David (Matt. 1:1-17), in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1), a child is born to a young virgin named Mary (Matt. 1:8). He is called the Christ, the anointed one (Matt. 16:13-16). He lives a sinless life (1 Pet. 2:22, c.f. Isa. 53) and performs many signs and wonders to prove his identity (Acts 2:22). He enters Jerusalem, riding a donkey but heralded as a King (Matt. 21:6-9; Mark 11:7-10; Luke 19:35-38; John 12:12-13) before that very same crowd demands His crucifixion for the release of an insurrectionist, a mere 5 days later (Matt 27:15-23; Mark 15:6-15; Luke 23:18-25; John 18:39-40, 19:15) after being betrayed by one of His very own (Matt. 26:14-16). He was given a mock, unfair trial (Matt. 26:57-68) before being given over to the Romans (Matt. 27:1-2). He had a close friend deny ever even knowing Him (Matt. 26:69-75). He was then tortured and scourged (Matt. 27:26-31) and crucified on a Roman cross (Matt. 27:32-44) with criminals (Matt. 27:38) despite being totally innocent (John 19:4). While suffering on this cross, He bore the sins of those who would believe in Him (Matt. 27:46). This man died on the cross (Matt. 27:50) and was called the Son of God (Matt. 27:54) at His mighty death (Matt. 27:51-53). He was laid in a tomb for three days (Matt. 27:58-59). Yet on the third day, the tomb was empty and He was alive (Matt. 28:5-6; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-7). He then ascended in glory and majesty to Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God the Father (Acts 1:9).
This man who endured all these things is Jesus of Nazareth, truly God (John 1:1) and truly human (Matt. 1:8). At the center point of history, He came to fulfill all of the Scripture that pointed towards Him (Luke 24:27) ever since He created all things at the beginning of time (John 1:3). Through every one of these things, and many more not included, He recapitulated what Adam had lost (Rom. 5:14), relived the history of Israel, and was the perfect sacrifice for the sin of humanity (Heb. 10:12). Through His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension He has defeated death and removed the debt of sin (Col. 2:13-15). All those who are in Him have the gift of eternal life (1 John 5:11) because He took sin onto Himself (2 Cor. 5:21) and gives His righteousness to those who are His (Gal. 3:27).
He has then sent us out onto a mission to tell the world about this beautiful salvation (Matt. 28:16-20) and has given us His Spirit to do that work (Acts 2:1-4). He is now returning soon (Rev. 22:7) to dwell with His people in the restored Creation that is even better than that Garden at the beginning (Rev. 21:1-27) where that serpent from the Garden is forever defeated (Rev. 12:9, 10). This is the Gospel, laid out from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22, entrusted to us to share with the world, that many will be saved for God’s glory. We now praise God for the salvation from ourselves, which we do not deserve, and we look forward to His glorious return.
Come, Lord Jesus.