Summary: I explain the meaning of the gospel, which is the subject of the whole bible, the New and Old Testament, in terms of why is it necessary to know the gospel to repent from sins, thus to have right relationship with God.
What and Why The Gospel?
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. He also said to them, "This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luk 24:45-48)
Do you know the exact titles of the first four books of the New Testament?
We know those four books of the New Testament are about Jesus’ life, teaching, ministry and death.
Why then wouldn’t we call them the biography of Jesus rather than the gospel? Before I answer, let me ask you one more thing: If I ask you to summarize whole the Bible in one sentence or so, what would you say?
The answer is “Jesus died for our sins.” We call this short statement the gospel or the good news or the New Testament.
Actually not only the first 4 books of the New Testament but also the book of the Acts deals with how this gospel has spread all over the world. Furthermore, all the rest of the New Testament also deals with how the church, founded on this gospel, should apply it in their lives.
Thus, all the New Testament is revolved around the fact that Jesus died for our sins. But, it goes further beyond the New Testament books. When Jesus said to the Jews, “You pore over the Scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me.’, Jesus was referring to the Old Testament, which according to Jesus reveals the way of salvation by Him, that is, the gospel.
Paul also said to the same effect, “the sacred Scriptures are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (II Tim 3:15)
"How unwise and slow you are to believe in your hearts all that the prophets have spoken!
Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into His glory?" (Luke 24:25-26)
When Jesus said, “This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day”, Jesus again was referring to the Old Testament. (Luk 24:45-47)
Thus not only the New Testament books, but also the books of the Old Testament mainly talk about why and how Jesus would come to suffer and die for our sins. So if I ask you to summarize whole the Bible, you can safely say, “Jesus died for our sins so that we may have Salvation or eternal life through Him.”
Why then is this statement that Jesus died for our sins so central? It is because it best and most precisely illustrates the nature of God in terms of His perfect righteousness and perfect love.
You may ask if God couldn’t forgive our sins without Jesus having to die since God is love. If you ask such question, then you do because you are not aware of the fact that God is not only the loving God, but also He is righteous God. Though we may not see how these two aspects relate to each other, Jesus death on the cross clearly reveals that there is no true love without righteousness. Can you imagine a president who loves his people so much that he would destroy all justice system and whole prisons, thus allowing all the criminals on the street?
On one hand, God demonstrated His perfect righteousness in the event of Jesus’ death on the cross.
His death satisfied God’s righteousness, which demands that sinners die.
But, on the other hand, “God proved His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) This magnificent love demonstrated in Jesus’ death on the cross illustrates why Jesus had to die on the cross to forgive our sins. Let me explain why.
We human beings tend to look our sin trivially and lightly. As a result, even our repentance is done lightly in a way not acceptable in the eyes of God.
I was told a real story by Dr. John Kim, a professor in one of California State University, one of best Korean Christian in the States. He and all his family members were dining out in Los Angeles. But, the waitress wasn’t kind in treating them because of their casual clothing and appearance. Being offended by her, Mrs. Kim informed the matter to the owner, who happened to be her friend. The owner called the waitress questioning why she treated them such and also informed her who they are. So the waitress came back to their table meaning to ask their forgiveness. Can you imagine what this waitress said? She said, “ I am sorry I didn’t recognize you as professor.”