What is the gospel? The Gospel is more than the “first step in a staircase” of truths. It is better likened to the hub of a wheel, the central reality around which all of life is arranged. It is not a basic truth from which we move on to deeper truths, but is the central truth from which all other truth flows. Whether you are just beginning to investigate Christianity, or are a life-long follower of Christ, the Gospel is the one, single thing you must grasp if your life is to be all God designed your life to be. Without the Gospel, life becomes distorted in many, many ways. With the Gospel, life is set to a path toward beauty and wholeness.
So what is the Gospel? The hard news of the Gospel is that the universe and everything in it is wearing down all the time, and we are more sinful and broken than we realize. The freeing news of the Gospel is that God, through the person and work of Jesus, plans to restore both the universe and his people to their original beauty and glory. Following are three big truths of the Gospel—truths that are foundational for all other teaching about faith and life.
What Is the Christian Gospel?
What Is the Gospel? God Will Restore All Broken Things
The core truth of the Gospel is that through Jesus, the love and power of God have entered history to make all things new. This renewal includes the hearts of people, but also much more. God intends to renew the entire universe. He will restore people, places, and things to their original, ‘very good’ condition as described in Genesis 3. The Bible tells us the world is not the way it is supposed to be. Because of this, people and creation itself groan in anticipation of all things being made new again—restored to their original beauty and wholeness before sin entered the world (Romans 8:18-25; Revelation 21:1-5).
What does this mean? It means that life in the present world can include seasons of joy and splendor (a satisfying friendship or romance, a new car, straight A’s, an athletic victory, a delicious meal, beautiful music, etc.). But there is also much of life that is broken and difficult (frustration in work, pain in relationships, financial strain, sickness, death). In spite of the fact that all things eventually break down, even in the worst of circumstances, those who live inside the Gospel can also live with hope (2 Corinthians 4:7-18, 12:7-10). Though things aren’t perfect now, it will all be made right when God renews all things.
There is also room for a kind of redemptive discontent for those who believe the Gospel. Think of the last improvement project you set out to complete (remodeling a kitchen, dusting off furniture, weeding a lawn, strengthening a relationship, healing an illness, getting a haircut, editing an essay, etc.). Both the frustration you felt before the work was done (this isn’t how it’s supposed to be…it could be so much better!), and the sense of satisfaction you felt when the project was completed, are glimpses of God’s image working in and through you. He is a God who eagerly desires, as the rock band U2 sings, to “make beauty out of ugly things.”