What is the Gospel?
What is the gospel? It seems like a simple question, yet how we answer this question is of the utmost importance. There is no greater need than to know the true gospel, to recognize the counterfeits, and for churches to send out a generation of gospel-centered Christians. Clarity on the gospel brings both confidence and conviction, which is exactly what we need.
Greg Gilbert does a masterful job in his little book What Is the Gospel? of explaining what that gospel actually is. This short but powerful book answers this question with a clear and concise presentation. It provides a biblically faithful explanation of the gospel and equips Christians to discern deviations from that glorious message. He shows us that many well-meaning churches have distorted the gospel through false teaching, and others have abandoned the gospel because of embarrassment or simply neglect. This is a profound analysis of the gospel, expressed in and understandable and relevant way.
There are many things I like about this book, but here are my top five:
It is God-Centered. The gospel is anchored in the character of God. This book leads you to worship as you come to better understand and love God for His marvelous grace.
Emphasis upon both Belief and Repentance. The response to the gospel is to repent and believe. Unlike Jesus many fail to emphasize repentance today.
Sanctification. The gospel is not just for unbelievers in this book, but rather for believers. Gilbert works hard to remind us that the gospel is the foundation for everything!
Simplicity. His clear and thoughtful language and vivid illustrations make it extremely accessible. Gilbert keeps it simple yet profound.
Brevity. It’s a short and a concise book that has a lot to say. The 120 pages are not overwhelming and neither is the writing style.
I believe this book will help you better understand, believe and love the gospel. I have personally found his four word summary of the gospel to be extremely helpful in sharing the good news. Beginning with Paul’s systematic presentation of the gospel in Romans and moving through the sermons in Acts, Gilbert argues that the central structure of the gospel consists of four main subjects: God, Man, Christ, and Response. The gospel answers these four crucial questions:
1. Who made us, and to whom are we accountable?
2. What is our problem? In other words, are we in trouble and why?
3. What is God’s solution to that problem? How has he acted to save us from it?
4. How do I, myself, right here, right now, how do I come to be included in that salvation? What makes this good news for me and not just for someone else?
The gospel answers these four questions with four main subjects: God, Man, Christ, and Response. When I am in a conversation these headings serve as a helpful guide of what I need to communicate to faithfully share the gospel of Jesus Christ. I highly recommend this book. Read it and then pass it on!