(But just what is the Gospel?)

Did you know that Jesus Christ Himself preached the gospel?

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” Matthew 4:23.

But I thought the gospel was that Jesus Christ died for our sins and reconciled us to the Father?

Well, it is. So then what exactly was Jesus preaching looong before he died?

First, if you look at the Greek term for gospel you’ll consistently see “well message” is how it is actually translated. This is why the gospel is interchangeable with “good news”. So, keep it at the forefront of your mind that every time preaching the gospel is discussed in the New Testament, it is actually talking about “preaching the good news”.

Okay then. What’s the good news? Isn’t it that Jesus saves us through His death? Well, yes, but He was teaching other good news long before His death.

Notice in Matthew 4:23 it says Jesus went about preaching the gospel (the good news) of the kingdom. This shows us clearly that the good news, in totality, is about the kingdom of God. We can confirm this by backing up to Matthew 3:2 where John the Baptist was busy preparing the way for Jesus by preaching “Repent ye, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” The good news is, then, that the Kingdom of God had come to set up shop…on earth.

As the four books of the gospel unfold, we continually see Jesus making reference to the Kingdom of God.

Mark 1:14-15 says, Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel (the good news) of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel (repent and believe the good news that the Kingdom of God is at hand)”.

But still. What does this mean? Well, a kingdom is its own system or government with its own rules, power and authority. After the sin in the Garden the dark kingdom took domain whereby its system of corruption, wickedness, sickness and disease, and even spiritual death took over. Anyone who was born into this system and operated according to its policies – which we all were born as sinners – was thereby subject to the authority and power of that dark kingdom system. Well, 2000 years ago the King of all kings came not only to die and provide the trump card over spiritual death but to set the fullness of the power of HIS spiritual kingdom up here on earth so that we who believe it and get rescued out of the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13) can then overcome sin, heal the sick, and cast out demons as well as go to Heaven when we die! All these are because God’s kingdom is here for us. Isn’t that great news?

It’s wrong that we wrap up the Gospel to being primarily about salvation through Christ. It’s an insult to all that Jesus died to provide. His heart breaks when all we want is a ticket out of hell and washed clean from our filth but go on defeated by the sin nature and failing to demonstrate victory and power through Christ to a corrupt and suffering world.

Jesus demonstrated His kingdom, its policies, dynamics, its government, if you will, by teaching forgiveness, humility, loving God first, by exercising authority over demons, sickness and disease and by sowing to the Spirit of God whereby the fruits of His Spirit (love, unexplainable joy and peace, kindness, self-control, long suffering, etc.) grow in us making us more like Him. And scriptures teach us that if we are born into His Holy Kingdom, we are royalty and represent His government AND that we are beneficiaries of His power.

And remember. We are taught that Christ’s Kingdom is righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). Yes, in the earth where Satan is prince of the air and roams about seeking whom he may devour, suddenly the kingdom of God (supernatural righteousness, peace and joy) is imparted into it and is expected by God that it should grow as a mustard seed to fill the dark earth.

We’re also taught that this life is temporary, to not store up treasures here but to only do things that will have an eternal effect or value. We’re taught to be set apart from the system of this world, to take up our cross on this unpleasant side of heaven (meaning deal with it), to not worry or fear anything here, and to shine with the light of God no matter what is going on. –Because when we have peace in the storm, God’s Kingdom power and Spirit is manifest through us. –Because when we are righteous through Christ where all else is corrupt, twisted, perverted and defiled, God’s Kingdom, power and Spirit is made tangible in the darkened earth. –Because when we have joy despite the intense pain, injustice and hurt, God’s Kingdom, power and Spirit is manifest present, stifles the darkness and makes where we’re standing Holy Ground!

The gospel (good news) isn’t that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us only. That’s just one aspect of it! The gospel is that Jesus Christ personally brought His Kingdom here to us where we can choose to be grafted into it and granted access to His power to contend with spiritual darkness and overcome sin during our stay on earth. The gospel is that if we become a legal citizen of His kingdom through believing while still here, then when this carnal life is over for us we qualify to live with Jesus forever.

Finally, Jesus said in Mark 16:15-18, “He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

What Jesus is saying here is that we’re to tell the whole world of the good news that God’s kingdom (His government and power) have been made available to us here on earth through Jesus Christ and that whosoever believes this and is baptized shall, then, be saved AND that powerful signs will follow them as a result.

Do you recall how Jesus said one cannot enter or inherit the kingdom of God if they practice certain things? He wasn’t talking about Heaven only. He was saying you can’t become a citizen, participant and beneficiary of His government and its power while on earth because practicing those things is submission to the OTHER kingdom. You can’t be a citizen of two opposing kingdoms. That’s why before introducing the King, John first cried, “Repent ye (of the dark kingdom), for the kingdom of God is at hand.” You see, we are Christians when, in repentance, we believe that the Kingdom of God, His government and policies of forgiveness as well as His power over the devil were made available to us. And when we Christians believe this good news of the kingdom (including its King and all He accomplished for us at Calvary) it thereby enables us to overcome sin, to contend with demons and sickness, to live in righteousness, peace and joy despite the darkness, and most amazingly, it gives us the eternal hope of Glory.

That… is the Gospel. Be sure to ask any questions in the comments section.

Written by Paula Cross. Read Paula’s Testimony here