What is the Gospel?

The word “gospel” literally means, “good news.” It is the good news of what the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ accomplished for us. While the coming of Jesus was the climax of human history, we must first understand where His life fits into the story of the whole universe. Only then will we be able to appreciate the significance of all that He has done. This story can be broken down into four acts:
1) Creation- The opening pages of the Bible tell us that in the beginning there was only God. God, who is perfect in all ways, decided to show His glory by creating the universe and all that is in it. In this universe, God created mankind. Mankind held a special place in creation because we were created in the image of God, which means we can reason, feel, and that we are relational beings. When God finished creating everything, He saw that it was all very good because everything was in perfect harmony.
2) Fall- The first two humans, Adam and Eve, lived in the Garden of Eden and had a perfect relationship with God. They represented God’s rule on the earth, but soon they disobeyed God, or sinned against Him. Because of this, man’s relationship with God was severed and sin entered into the world. Today, we see the consequences of sin all around us when we encounter death, disease, evil, suffering, sickness, poverty, and natural disasters. Because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, all of mankind is born with a sinful nature that cannot (and does not desire to) please God.
3) Redemption- Because God is perfectly holy and just, He must punish sin; it would go against His character and nature to let sin go unpunished. Therefore, mankind needs a way to be forgiven for our sins and to be seen as righteous in the eyes of God. This could not be achieved through man’s efforts, so God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue us. Jesus came as a man and perfectly obeyed the will of God throughout His life. Then, He gave His life by being hung on a cross, even though He was completely innocent. On the cross He bore the wrath of God as our substitute and paid the price for us to be reconciled to God. Three days later, Jesus rose from the grave and defeated sin and death. Now, all men and women can experience this reconciliation to God through repentance, or turning away from sin, and placing our faith in Jesus as the only source of our salvation from sin.
4) Consummation- Before Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised that one day He would return to judge sin once and for all. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their righteousness will be raised and will experience the presence of God in a new heavens and new earth that is free from the stains of sin. On the other hand, those who have not trusted in Christ will experience eternal judgment with all of the evil forces by being thrown into hell, which is described in the Bible as a place of eternal torment and suffering.