The Gospel in a Nutshell4 min read
Something severely missing in today’s Christian realm is the preaching of a complete gospel message, whether on the platform or by personal interaction. We are responsible to present the gospel biblically and fully, yet many don’t even know the basics. Below are four main points that are instrumental in preaching the full gospel. Each point includes a biblical reference, the function, and its importance.
The Law, in other words, preaching sin, is the first fundamental key to presenting the gospel clearly. When we look into Scripture, we see that the Law is designed to bring sinners to Christ (Romans 3:19). It shows why they need Christ. Why would any accept Him if they do not know why they must? The natural desire of the flesh is to resist the Lord’s will; why would they choose to submit if they had no reason to? The Law is the God-given key to this problem, for it causes people to flee in humility to the foot of the cross in repentance for salvation. It is actually quite useful, for it can be used to condemn sinners even when it is what they use to justify themselves. Without the Law, the gospel is vague and useless to the sinner. They must know why they need to be saved.
Where the Law is preached, judgment must also be preached, because where there is law, there is condemnation (Rom 2:12, Rom 4:5). Judgment gives incentive to the sinner by showing them from what they need to be saved. This teaching goes hand-in-hand with the Law; they cannot be separated. God’s holiness through judgment and the Law must be portrayed; otherwise, His love cannot properly be understood. When judgment is not preached, the cross work means nothing to the sinner. However, when they see the consequence of their sin, John 3:16 will mean so much, because it literally makes an eternity of difference. Knowing God’s holiness and its reality will cause sinners to cling to the cross, and for the right reasons.
Christ is the beginning, middle, and end of the gospel. Though Law and judgment are essential foundations to the cross, Christ is the gospel itself. Second Corinthians 4:4 describes the gospel as “the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God…” With Him, the gospel is a glorious mystery of mysteries under the light of God’s holiness. Nevertheless, in spite of its incomprehensibility, it will cause the sinner will flee to the cross in simple faith and appreciation of the grace that He so amazingly gave. Therefore, the cross must be preached in joy and in passion. He is the means by which one is saved (John 3:16), and unless He is central to the message, the gospel has not been fully preached, because He is the gospel.
After the foundations have been laid, after the Saviour has been preached, then must a sinner be told of their responsibility: repentance and faith. Though the word ‘repent’ isn’t always necessary, the concept must be made known. Although it does not earn salvation, it makes way for the acceptance of the cross. Repentance is essential to preach, for without it, all would perish (Luke 13:3). Acts 20:21 tells us that the apostles preached repentance and faith. Without repentance, sinners will not believe, because they are content to serve their own master: the Devil. And we know that a man cannot serve two masters. Without repentance preached (though the word ‘repent’ isn’t always necessary, the concept must be made known) in the gospel, sinners are in danger of false belief. Unless sinners repent, they will never accept the holiness of Christ and His payment, because they love darkness rather than light.
Faith is the means by which one accepts salvation. It is simply resting in the finished work of the cross. Without faith, none can be saved, because those without faith reject the Gospel Himself. They rest on self for salvation. None can claim to have a true faith unless it is put in the Saviour. Without it the sinner is condemned (Heb 11:6, Mark 16:6), for without faith it is impossible to rest in Christ alone.
Notice that the Biblical presentation of the gospel has nothing to do with blessings in the sinner’s life after conversion. Of course blessings are promised to believers; however, they are not presented to sinners in the gospel. Why? Because the sinner’s view of blessing is seen through the eyes of flesh. He will interpret these blessings by the flesh, causing him to seek salvation, not because he needs it, but because he wants it. God’s holiness is not preached in a man-centered gospel. Therefore, we conclude that the gospel is not preached in this modern message, because the focus is not on Christ. It is on man. The modern ‘gospel’ must be avoided, because it gives a false impression of Truth.
How do we preach? If we preach as Scripture has revealed, we can feel satisfaction in knowing that the Lord has been proclaimed biblically. What better privilege (besides salvation) do we have than to preach the gospel? How important it is to preach it right! But also importantly, do we preach it?