Much modern evangelism seems to have as its starting point the need of man, with the goal, it seems, to get people to a place called heaven. In this view, life is perceived to have the idea of enduring an existence on earth with heaven being the ultimate objective. But are the needs of man and the goal of heaven the proper starting and finishing points of the gospel? What exactly is the gospel?
As is commonly known, the word gospel comes from the Greek word “euangélion”, which is properly translated “good news.” The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest of all treasures given to the church and the individual Christian. It is not a message among many but the message above them all. It is the power of God for salvation and the greatest revelation of the manifold wisdom of God to men.
In accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, the eternal Son, who is equal with the Father and is the exact representation of His nature, willingly left the glory of heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, and was born the God-man: Jesus of Nazareth. As a man, He walked on this earth in perfect obedience to the law of God. In the fullness of time, men rejected and crucified Him. On the cross,He bore man’s sin, suffered God’s wrath, and died in man’s place. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s disobedience, satisfied the demands of justice, and appeased the wrath of God. This resurrection is the divine declaration that the Father has accepted His Son’s death as a sacrifice for sin. The Son of God ascended into the heavens, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and was given glory, honor, and dominion over all.
What is a person’s biblical response to the gospel? How should we direct desperate people when they cry, “What must I do to be saved?” The Scriptures are clear: people must repent and believe the gospel. When Jesus preached his first message in Mark, He did not plead with them to open their hearts and ask Him in, nor did He direct them to repeat a certain prayer. Instead, He commanded them to turn from their sin and believe the gospel.
Repent and believe!” is the gospel call for yesterday, today, and forever. All who acknowledge their sinful, helpless state and throw themselves upon Christ, God will fully pardon, declare righteous, and reconcile unto Himself. This is the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son.