The ministry I lead, Sovereign Grace Fellowship has a gospel tract “What Is The Gospel?” with content adapted from Saint Andrews Chapel. We use it for evangelism. It explains in simple, yet profound terms, what the gospel is. If anyone professes to be a Christian, you would expect them to be able to articulate what the gospel is. Obviously, if they are believers, they heard a gospel call and responded. But you will be amazed the responses people who claim to be Christians give for a question like “What is the gospel?”
Just this past weekend, I did an outreach in my community and spoke with a number of persons who claimed to be Christians. That made much of my conversations easier. With tract in hand, I will ask, “So what is the gospel?” I received quiet a number of interesting answers which to me indicated a misunderstanding of what they have believed. One respondent said “The gospel is going to church, listening to preaching, doing good works and listening to gospel music”. Another respondent, who I suspect was aiming at impressing me, said “The gospel is going on evangelism to tell others about God”.
Here are people who claim to be Christians yet are unable to explain what the gospel is. I am being cautious in not using their inability to explain what the gospel is as grounds to question their faith. Of course, we need not be able to articulate every doctrine there is in Christianity to be saved. However, an inability to explain what you have believed; that is, the Gospel, may be an indication one has believed a false gospel.
If you are a Christian, what did you believe to become a Christian? You must be able to easily explain to people what you believed to be converted. The gospel, I explained, in my interactions, is the good news of the death and resurrection of Christ for the salvation of sinners through faith (1Cor. 15:1-4). I have heard many preachers calling on people to give their lives to Christ when they have not preached any gospel content. All they have been doing was a motivational and pep talk laced with many promises of health, prosperity and a life of comfort if one will give their life to Christ. Then out of the blues, as if an afterthought, they call on people to give their lives to Christ. This is not gospel preaching.
There are numerous so-called gospels in the world proclaiming good news to those who would listen, and these gospels come in any number of forms–from the gospel of health and beauty. These gospels, however, do not address the most basic problem that all men and women have–the problem of sin and guilt; that is spiritual deadness¹.
You see if we say the Gospel is good news; it comes on the back of the fact that there is a bad news. The bad news is that all human beings are separated from God by sin (Gen. 3:23-24; Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:23, Eph. 2:1-3). The good news, which counteracts the bad news, is that God has not left sinners to their fate to continue in darkness. There is hope for sinners to be restored in a relationship with God by coming to Christ in faith (John 1:19; 3:16, Rom. 5:8; 6:23; Eph. 2:4-8). “Put simply, the Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ. It is good news because, without it, we stand condemned as sinners before a holy and just God deserving His wrath.”²
Is what you believed the gospel?
1: From Page 3 of gospel tract “What Is The Gospel gospel?”
2: ibid, 4