What is the gospel?
The word gospel simply means good news. It’s the good news about God’s grace towards us in Jesus. What do we mean by that?
Anyone who takes an honest look at our world realizes very quickly that things are not the way they are supposed to be. We see oppression, injustice, relational division, pain, suffering, evil, death, and a number of other things that we know deep down should not be.
The good news found in the Bible is that God is on a mission to restore our world to it’s original design. By rising from the dead, Jesus proved his victory over death and Hell. In addition, his resurrection is the guarantee—or promise—of a new heaven and new earth, where everything that sin has wrecked in this world is undone once and for all. The Bible teaches that one day Jesus will restore this earth, and that the reality of what’s to come breaks back into history for us to experience now.
The good news of God’s grace works in our hearts to renew us as individuals:
The Bible teaches that true human flourishing can only be found in the context of a right relationship with Jesus. Because of our sin, brokenness, and idolatry, we have been separated from God. God takes sin seriously because it’s not the breaking of an arbitrary set of rules, but an attack on him and how he has designed the world to function.
The gospel of grace is good news because it provides a way for us to be reunited to relationship with God again. On the cross, Jesus bore the weight of the punishment we deserve for our sin. Not only did he receive our punishment, we in turn are credited with his life of perfect obedience to God. The Bible says that when we turn from sin and trust Jesus, we get a new identity. Our identity is no longer bound up in good things we can do to gain God’s favor or make a name for ourselves, but our identity is bound up in what Jesus has done for us. When we choose to follow Jesus, the rest of our life becomes about growing into that identity.
The good news of God’s grace weaves us into the kind of community we were designed to be:
Our sin and selfishness keep us from experiencing the kind of relationships we are made for. Rather than seeking the good of others, we look out for ourselves first, and if it’s convenient, easy, or if we get something out of it we will care about others.
The Bible gives us a vision of relationships and community that is so much better than what we find in our social media soaked world. When we apply the message of the gospel to our hearts and are changed to be more like Jesus, it actually prepares us to enter healthy community. You see, without the gospel of grace as our foundation, our fear, shame, and selfishness will keep us from entering these kinds of relationships. It’s in this context of a brand new, dynamic community— where it’s safe to come with all of our fears, doubts, sin, and our brokenness—that God continues to transforms us.
The good news of God’s grace makes us agents of renewal and restoration in our world:
The good news of the gospel works in us as individuals and in us as a family of believers, but it doesn’t stop there. The gospel actually propels us into the world as agents of God’s healing and restoration. We don’t see our city as a big, bad, scary place we need to avoid. We don’t see people whose lives are a mess as people we need to distance ourselves from. Rather, because in Christ we have been given so much, our heart desire is to go out into the world and share the good news of God’s grace and forgiveness with as many people as possible.
Our objective in the world is not just to get converts or see people make professions of faith, although this is foundational for true human flourishing. We go out into our city, into our workplaces, into our school, into our homes, and into our neighborhoods asking ourselves, “How can I leverage my influence, talents, relationships, etc. to see people truly flourish?” The gospel leads us to care so deeply about the people in our city that we are willing to reallocate our resources of time, money, energy, and relationships to see them truly flourish in Christ.
The good news about Jesus is not only a set of facts to believe, but a brand new way of interpreting and understanding our world. So we invite you to come be a part of a community of believers that is seeking to love God and serve people in our city.