What is the Gospel?

Posted on July 1, 2013 | 26 comments

The word gospel has been around since Jesus, so it is definitely not new, but it has become an especially trendy word to use these days. Just take a short walk through the Christian bookstore and you will see that just about ever other book title contains the word gospel.

It is one of those words that we know we should be familiar with, so when it is used in our presence we nod knowingly, afraid to admit that we may not know much more about it that it means “good news”.

What is the Gospel? How would you explain it to a friend? How would you personalize it so that someone would see their self in the gospel story?

Here is a simple way to remember the Gospel – four words…

Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration


God created the world good. Mankind was created very good, bearing the image of their Creator. There was no shame as the man and woman found their identity – their sense of who they were and why they mattered – in their relationship with God.


It went tragically wrong when the man and woman sought wholeness apart from God. They fell for the lie that there was more, that God did not have their best interest in mind, and they became disconnected from their Creator.

In their sin the image was broken. The entire creation was broken as it fell the effect. Immediately they felt shame – wondering if they were loveable and distrusting God – and covered themselves.

When one lives in the fallen state, they create an identity as a way of self-definition and a source of value to cover the shame that is the natural default of this broken state. (see Covering the Broken Image)


At God’s initiation, access to our true self was returned. In Christ we receive forgiveness and the value of our self is returned and secured. By adopting Christ as our identity we are freed from enslavement to the world’s standards and freed to obey God without fear of failure – for righteousness does not depend on our right actions.


God fully heals the broken image. All things are made new. There will no longer be the tug-of-war between our old nature and our true self in Christ as all brokenness is gone.

Where we look for redemption is a gospel. <– Click to Tweet

We seek wholeness in a relationship, financial status, body image, eating lifestyle, having children, environmental concern, political affiliation, or any host of other things. And we form our identity – our sense of self and why we are valuable – around those things. (see Why Do We Adopt an Identity?)

Even in Christ, because of the lies and systems that have shaped us, we have functional gospels that we cling to and God is trying to break our grip on.

But these substitute gospels offer enslavement – in Christ there is forgiveness.

Substitute gospels offer value by comparison that changes and must be maintained – in Christ there is security.

In Christ there is no disappointment in what is hoped for – God is faithful to every one of his promises.

That is the Gospel.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Tags:   |


  1. I love when the Gospel is explained from Genesis to Revelation… and it is so much easier than we think. Our need for salvation just doesn’t make as much sense without it. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I have always thought of the gospel as being redemption & restoration. By going back to creation, you summarize the whole of God’s story in relation to man, which is a better groundwork for the plan of salvation. Thanks!

  3. What a beautiful lesson and a useful way to teach the meanings of the Gospel. So glad I found you at the Extraordinary Ordinary.
    Peace and good to you in Jesus’ name.
    Keep chasing Grace and Peace.

  4. Interesting explanation.
    I am happy for all to hold their own belief that does no harm to others.
    The gospel according to… Excellent opening lines. Humans have and probably will always need to consider the virtues of one person’s presentation of ‘the Gospel’ against another. Humanitarian values will help them interpret what they believe is history or historical fiction or frankly even fantasy fiction or a mixture. As there is so many wonders about life, we are blessed that so many have ethics that assist us from knowing right from wrong while people debate the interpretations of Gospels and who’s Gospel. My post on birds showing how locals and migrants were living harmoniously together was my gospel lesson, I received yesterday.

  5. So many people just confine the concept of the gospel to those four books of the New Testament. You have done much more, taking it out of the Bible completely and landing it square in the middle of our own personal deceptions. Thank you.

  6. Thanks for your weekly message and for stopping by Oh My Heartsie to share your link!!

  7. Your posts are always so interesting and thought-provoking, Scott. I’ve not thought of the “Gospel” as you’ve described here, but it makes sense. It’s much like the little gods we erect in our lives but that can never replace the One True God. He’s the only One who can satisfy! Thanks for linking this up at Wedded Wed as well, my friend. Hope all is well with you!

  8. Great insight! Great way to spell it out.

  9. Stopping by from THE Collective Social Blog Hop to say hi. Thank you for linking up. Have a fabulous day!

    Janise (co-host of The Collective Social Blog Hop)

  10. INCREDIBLE post! Thank you for sharing these four key words about the gospel. Your post offer so much insight. I am dropping by from Intentionally Yours Marriage Ministry. Praying that GOD’S FAVOR will continue to rest upon your ministry. Be Blessed!

  11. Excellent explanation. Thank you for hopping on board The Great Blog Train! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  12. Hi! Thanks so much for linking up for Wordless Wednesday :))
    I’m having a NO RULES Weekend Blog Party if you’d like to link up with that as well.


  13. Thank you for this post. I’m bookmarking so I have it as a resource.

  14. So much encouragement here. I will never tire of hearing words like these: “God fully heals the broken image. All things are made new.”

  15. hey there. would love for you to come join my blog hop

  16. I really, really appreciate that you’ve taken a chronological approach to the gospel. It is so easy to misunderstand or misconstrue what Christ’s death and resurrection truly mean without that background. I know it’s not always possible to go into such detail every time we share, but whenever possible, I believe we should include that background. My favorite discipleship materials come from Goodseed international. They have many resources that focus on a creation to christ teaching of the gospel. Yes, it takes a little longer, but the time is totally worth the firm foundation a study like that provides!

  17. Thank you for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” The Gospel as you explain it is certainly GOOD NEWS !!

  18. Yes, we week wholeness and fulfillment in all the wrong things. We will only find it in Christ, as you said! Amen! Thanks for linking up to the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party! 🙂

  19. Too cute!! love the baseball theme shower! Thank you so much for sharing & linking up at Thank You Honey’s Whatever Wednesday Party!! The party goes live every Tuesday! Let’s connect by adding me to your G+ circles or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, & Pinterest as I already did with you!


  20. You images were too tiny to pin to Pinterest unfortunately for I would have loved to share this and pass it on!! Thanks so much for linking up with us this weekend at One Sharendipity Place! We’ll be back to pin later!

    sue @ TheT2Women.com

  21. Thanks so much for sharing at last week’s All My Bloggy Friends! I can’t wait to see what you share this week!

  22. An excellent explanation!

  23. Good post, Scott. I liked best: Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration

    Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home last week. Hope to see you again tomorrow.

  24. What a wonderful post and excellent explanation of what the gospel truly is! Thank you for linking this post up with me. I hope you’ll be back today to link up again!

    • I was there! Thanks for stopping by.

  25. Thanks for such a great post. Thought I’d share one of my favourite quotes with you: God writes the gospel not in the bible alone, but also in the trees and in flowers and clouds and stars.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *