A Summary of “What is the Gospel?” by Greg Gilbert in 22 Quotes

Greg Gilbert does a fantastic job of addressing this question (What is the Gospel?), and the book is not lengthy at all. It is my hope that this brief summary will serve as an encouragement to buy and read this book in total. Here is an overview of Gilbert’s book in the form of 22 direct quotes.

You can see and purchase this great book on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

  1. “It is to God’s Word that we look in order to find what he has said to us about his Son Jesus and about the good news of the gospel” (26).
  2. “Approach the task of defining the main contours of the Christian gospel not by doing a word study, but by looking at what the earliest Christians said about Jesus and the significance of his life, death, and resurrection” (27).
  3. GOD: “First, Paul tells his readers that it is God to whom they are accountable” (28).
  4. MAN: “Second, Paul tells his readers that their problem is that they rebelled against God” (29).
  5. CHRIST: “Third, Paul says that God’s solution to humanity’s sin is the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” (30).
  6. RESPONSE: “Finally, Paul tells his readers how they themselves can be included in this salvation” (31).
  7. “We can see that at the heart of his proclamation of the gospel are the answers to four crucial questions: 1) Who made us, and to whom are we accountable? 2) What is our problem? In other words, are we in trouble and why? 3) What is God’s solution to that problem? How has he acted to save us from it? 4) How do I – myself, right here, right now – how do I come to be included in that salvation? What makes this good news for me and not just for someone else?” (31).
  8. “Whatever else you think about the story of creation, the implications of this claim – that God created the world, and especially that God created you – are enormous” (41).
  9. “Scripture proclaims over and over that our God is a God of perfect justice and unassailable righteousness” (44).
  10. “When Adam and Eve bit into the fruit, therefore, they weren’t just violating some arbitrary command, ‘Don’t eat the fruit.’ They were doing something much sadder and much more serious. They were rejecting God’s authority over them and declaring their independence from him” (49).
  11. “Put simply, the Bible tells us that Jesus is both completely human and completely God. This is a crucial point to understand about him, for it is only the fully human, fully divine Son of God who can save us” (61).
  12. “Faith and repentance. This is what marks out those who are Christ’s people, or ‘Christians.’ In other words, a Christian is one who turns away from his sin and trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ – and nothing else – to save him from sin and the coming judgment” (73).
  13. “Putting your faith in Christ means that you utterly renounce any other hope of being counted righteous before God” (79).
  14. “To have faith in Jesus is, at its core, to believe that he really is who he says he is – the crucified and risen King who has conquered death and sin, and who has the power to save. Now how could a person believe all that, trust in it, and rely on it, and yet at the same time say, ‘But I don’t acknowledge that you [Jesus] are King over me’?” (80).
  15. “The kingdom of God, then, simply defined, is God’s redemptive rule, reign, and authority over those redeemed by Jesus” (88).
  16. “He [Jesus] was claiming that the kingdom of God had been inaugurated in him!” (88).
  17. “What this means is that many of the blessings of the kingdom are already ours” (89).
  18. “The kingdom of God is not net completed, and it will not be completed until King Jesus returns” (90).
  19. “The great hope for Christians, the thing for which we long and to which we look for strength and encouragement, is the day when our King will part the skies and return to establish his glorious kingdom, finally and forever” (91).
  20. “The way to be included in Christ’s kingdom is to come to the King, not just hailing him as a great example who shows us a better way to live, but humbly trusting him as the crucified and risen Lord who alone can release you from the sentence of death” (96).
  21. “The church is the arena in which God has chosen, above all, to showcase his wisdom and the glory of the gospel” (98).
  22. “I believe one of the greatest dangers the body of Christ faces today is the temptation to rethink and rearticulate the gospel in a way that makes its center something other than the death of Jesus on the cross in the place of sinners” (102).

May God help us all to know the Christ-centered and cross-centered gospel better, believe it truly, turn from sin adamantly, and share the gospel promiscuously.

Dying to Live: The Gospel Paradox

Jesus said, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.” (Jn. 12:25-27).

There are glorious promises in the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The King of glory offers eternal life, present companionship with Himself, and honor from God the Father. What joy must fill the heart of anyone who contemplates such rewards as these! Only consider what you (and every sinner) deserve from God, and these promised blessings will become ever so sweet.

And yet, the astute reader will notice a disturbing paradox among these pleasant words. When was it that Christ earned these blessings for His followers? It was at the troubling hour of His crucifixion! Where does Christ beckon His disciples to follow Him? It is to suffering He calls! How is it that Christ’s servants become partakers of everlasting life? It is by hating and losing life in this world!

May God grant to us all the fullness of His blessed promises in the Gospel of Christ, and may He empower us to follow the Savior with selfless abandon.

Declaring War on the Messiah

[Caiaphas] did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the [Jewish] nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (Jn. 11:51-52).

The religious leaders in Jerusalem were not happy with the effect Jesus was having on the status quo. Jesus was really becoming a nuisance, and their patience with Him was running out. Not able or willing to deny His miracles, the religious leaders simply decided that Jesus had to be stopped… no matter who He claims to be.

Their opposition was violent and resolute, but these events were the climax of a much bigger and older story. God had been at work since before the foundations of the world, and God intended that Jesus would bear the full weight of His wrath against sinners. Like the Assyrian king who marveled at his own power (Is. 10:5-11), God used the religious leaders of Jerusalem to bring about His purposes of judgment the world.

Only this time, God’s judgment fell upon His own Son. What a profound display we see in the Gospel of Christ! In and through Jesus’ suffering, God exhausted His own wrath against sinners and gathered into one the Children of God from all peoples.

The Gospel in the Local Church

I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand…” (1 Corinthians 15:1).

“Gospel” is a word frequently used in our day. Someone might speak of “gospel truth” or sing “gospel music,” and many Evangelical churches are placing a heavy emphasis on “gospel-centered” or “gospel-focused” ministries. However, it is clear that all of this talk about the “gospel” has not done much to proclaim or illuminate the actual content or implications of the Gospel.

Furthermore, even in local churches where the Gospel is still the genuine focus, there is often a misunderstanding about the application of this message. Christians are aware that Christ’s person and work has saved them from God’s ultimate judgment, but they are regularly unaware of the implications this reality has for their homes and families, their church memberships, and their engagement with the world around them.

Healthy churches are marked by Gospel clarity. This means the Christians who comprise a healthy church have heard and received the Gospel; they are turning from disbelief and disobedience toward a Christ-exalting trust and practice. And it also means that these Christians are continually standing in this Gospel of grace and being conformed to righteousness, after the example and by the power of Christ Himself.

Simply put, healthy churches are chock-full of healthy Christians who are thoroughly learning and thoughtfully embracing the Gospel.

 

If you would like to read more about the Gospel, I wrote a short and basic description of the Gospel in a previous post “Do you know the Gospel?

Dawn of Hope

God said to the serpent of old, “I will put enmity between you and the woman [Eve], and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

It is overwhelming to measure what was lost when sin entered creation through Adam and Eve. The bleakness of death, the brokenness of relationships, and the barrenness of creation itself are all results or effects of this horrific fall. In God’s poetic response to humanity’s first sin, we hear terrifying truths.

And yet… there is also a beam of hope-filled light amid that darkness! God’s first words about the future of mankind were not condemning but restorative. Before God declared the disastrous curse, He shouted the hope-giving promise of blessing!

In this ancient account of the first sin, we find the first gracious proclamation of the good news from God. He is merciful, and He promised a rescuer, a savior, a restorer. All that was lost in the fall is gained through Jesus Christ.

Jesus restores life to the dead, He restores the joy of living to the glory of God, He restores harmony in broken relationships, and He restores the heritage of an everlasting family.

In short, Jesus is Himself the dawn of hope for all who love and trust Him.

The Christ from the Father

Jesus said, “I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true… I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me” (John 7:28-29).

The grand narrative (or big story) of the Bible is bigger than most people realize. Additionally, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is fundamentally a Trinitarian Gospel. That is, God the Father sent God the Son to be the one through whom the work of redemption is accomplished, and God the Holy Spirit applies this work to the hearts and lives of those who enjoy the benefits of spiritual life in the triune God.

All of this was and is played out in real time and over the course of human history, but this story began even before time itself. While the Gospel (and the triune God from whom this good news comes) is timeless, we are not. We live only a short while, and then we enter an endless existence – where we will finally see with eyes wide open what we only see now through dim light in this upside-down world.

The Christ from the Father makes His appeal to all who will hear and obey it: “Come to me, for I am life and truth.” Without delay, repentance and faith (turning from sin and trusting in Christ) are the right response, because one day the offer will no longer be available to sinful rebels like us.

May God grant us faith and repentance this very moment, and may we give proper attention to the gracious gift God offers us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

Commemorating the Lord’s Death

“…proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes(1 Corinthians 11:26).

While we would likely prefer to avoid hard and uncomfortable topics, God addresses them head on. Our loving heavenly Father graciously gives us truth and wisely meets us where we are. God doesn’t pretend bad things are not really bad, and He doesn’t merely give us empty one-liners in a superficial attempt to make us feel better.

Instead, God gives us a suffering Savior who triumphs through defeat. While the whole world clamors for power, God the Son voluntarily gives Himself over to humiliation. While humanity seeks to be free from woe and grief, the God-man presents Himself as the willing sufferer. What is this?! What kind of King… what kind of Messiah… what kind of God?!

God gives us real hope for all time and a promise of victory forevermore, not by forcibly and immediately removing all suffering, but by entering the suffering Himself. One day we shall finally be free from suffering and death, but until then we commemorate the death of death in the death of Christ, our Lord.