The Gospel is at the heart of the Christian faith, and it means “good news.” It stands in sharp contrast with most religions, because while most religions fall under the category of “good advice,” Christianity is at its core “good news.” It is not primarily a list of habits to adopt or a list of rules to obey, but it is a story that is to be entered into and experienced.
The story of the Gospel is both the most important story of history and the most relevant experience in our lives today. It is paradoxically simple and complex at the same time. What is it?
There exists a God who created the universe. This God is perfect in all good attributes. He is all-knowing and all-powerful, and His existence is not dependent on anything or anyone. The one God exists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and this means that God is fundamentally a family. God is a God of community and relationship.
Humans were created to be an extension of the God-family. Humans are image-bearers of God, manifestations of God’s glory, and representatives of God’s character. Humans were also created to have deep longings (i.e. joy, satisfaction, identity, wholeness, purpose), and they were wired so that these desires are met through their relationship with God. Secondarily, humans were also created to have and experience relationship with one another, relationship with one’s self, and relationship with creation.
However, humankind chose to rebel and reject their relationship with God, and sin came into the world. Sin is seeking the fulfillment of our deep longings in things other than God (i.e. sex, music, money, careers). Because God is the true source of all that is good, the rejection of God can only lead to brokenness. As a result, our relationships with one another have become broken (i.e. divorce, racism, war), our relationships with the self have become broken (i.e. guilt, shame, fear), and our relationships with creation have become broken (i.e. famine, disease, earthquakes). Ultimately, because God is the source of life, sin leads to death.
But God chose to rescue us. Although our actions had embedded the curse of sin throughout creation, God created a way to remove this curse. About 2000 years ago, God sent his Son Jesus Christ to become a human being, to live a perfect life, to die a gruesome death, and to rise from the dead in victory. By becoming a human being, he demonstrated his identification and solidarity with humankind. By living a perfect life, he proved himself to be the true image-bearer of God. By dying a gruesome death, he voluntarily traded in his perfection for our brokenness and atoned for our sins. And by rising from the dead in victory, he broke the cosmic curse of sin and ushered in a new creation.
By individually repenting and believing in Jesus, humans can be a part of this new creation. This is a creation in which sin no longer has control. In this creation, humans return to their original status as image-bearers of God and as members of the family of God (the church). The deep longings of their heart are also met, and their relationships with others, with the self, and with creation are restored. As a member of the new creation, we are also called to promote the values of this new creation and to push back the brokenness of the old creation.
One day, Jesus will return again, and everything will be made right. The old creation will be no more, and the new creation will be fully realized. And all who have pledged themselves to God and this new creation will live happily ever after.