What is the Gospel?
The "gospel" is the good news* concerning Jesus of Nazareth, the anointed One of God (Christ or Messiah). The good news is that Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:13-16; Revelation 19:11-16), that He is sitting on the throne with "all authority in Heaven and on Earth" (Matthew 28:19; see also John 17:2; Philippians 2:9-11). The Davidic King has arrived (Romans 1:1-6)!
Jesus preached, "The time is fulfilled, and the reign (or kingdom) of God is at hand; repent and believe in the good news" (Mark 1:15; see also Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:7, etc.). Mark notes that this was Jesus "proclaiming the good news of God" (Mark 1:14). The good news is that Jesus came to initiate the reign of God from Heaven to Earth (cf. Matthew 6:10). We must change the direction of our lives (repent) and become a part of this Divine kingdom.
The good news is the dynamite power of God to provide salvation for all (Romans 1:16-17). At the heart of the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The inspired apostle Paul declares,
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the good news I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that the Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
In talking about sin leading to death and obedience leading to righteousness, Paul writes to Christians in ancient Rome, "But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness" (Romans 6:17-18). Earlier in this chapter, we find a description of how one initially obeys the teaching of Jesus from the heart: We are "buried therefore with Him by immersion into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4; compare vs. 1-11). In the watery grave of immersion, we reenact the death, burial, and resurrection of the Master. Immersion is connected to very heart of the good news (see again 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
As Christians, we are to live a life that is "worthy of the good news of Christ" (Philippians 1:27). That is a high calling (Ephesians 4:1) for sure, and we must strive for the will of Deity to flood our hearts and lives. Let us "renounce ungodliness and worldly passions", live "self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present time", and eagerly wait "for our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:11-13). After all, the Messiah "gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are enthusiastic for good works" (Titus 2:14).
~Contributed by Gantt Carter, a servant of the 2nd & Adams congregation in Elk City, OK. For more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
*The term "gospel" literally means "good news", so (for the sake of consistency and clarity) "good news" is used after the first sentence above.