WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
In short, the gospel is the message of good news that Jesus died on the cross for sinners. This is stated well in 1 Corinthians 15:3, "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures." Christ died for my sins! What great news! This is the best and most important news anyone can ever hear! Since we are all sinners and have broken God's law, there is a need for us to be saved from God's just and righteous wrath for sin. Our sin separates us from God. We deserve eternal punishment in hell for our sin. God could have left us in this place. He did not need to provide a way to save us. But he did. In love, He provided the one and only way that we could be saved. He put His own Son forward as a sacrifice to die on the cross.
HOW DO I RESPOND TO THE GOSPEL?
What must I do to be saved? This is the question the crowd on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) asked after they heard the good news and were convicted of their sins. People respond one of two ways to the gospel. They either repent of their sins and believe in this wonderful Savior by the grace of God, or they refuse to come to Jesus and have life.
The consequences of our response to the gospel are eternal. That is why this is so important. We either believe in Christ and have eternal life, or reject him and go to hell for our sins. If you are reading this and you are not a Christian, won't you please respond in repentance and faith? Acknowledge you are a sinner and need to be saved. Believe that Jesus is in fact God's Son and He suffered the punishment that you deserved. Turn away from your sin and run after Jesus. If you do, you will be forgiven of all your sins, be reconciled to God through Christ, and receive the free gift of eternal life!
KEEPING THE GOSPEL CENTRAL
Even as a Christian this good news is not just for unbelievers. It is for Christians. The gospel is not just the means to salvation. The gospel needs to be at the center of our lives. We do not leave the gospel at salvation's door in order to pursue the deeper things of the faith. We cannot get any deeper than exploring the depths of God's sacrifice of His Son on the cross for us. The gospel is to be what every doctrine in the church revolves around and flows from. We should be gospel centered in every aspect of our Christian lives, and keep it like Paul said to the Corinthians, "as of first importance."
EFFECTS OF KEEPING THE GOSPEL CENTRAL
Joy! Christ saved us from the just punishment we deserve from God. The wrath that would have been ours throughout all of eternity is now gone because Christ absorbed it for us on the cross. If we keep the cross central, we will pursue discipleship and growth in a gospel centered way, on the platform of grace. When we keep this amazing truth central and fresh, we will be a more humble, grateful people. We will have more peace, joy, and passion for Jesus. Above all, we will bring God glory. Nothing strengthens a Christian like living life at the foot of the cross, regularly meditating on the finished work of Christ on his behalf. We are saved from hell and heading to heaven. Praise be to God!