what is the gospel?

taken from Dr. A.L. Barry's LCMS pamphlet
entitled "What is...The Gospel?"

why do we need the gospel?

We cannot really understand how good the message of the Gospel is until we understand how bad our situation is without it.  We are poor miserable sinners.  We sin daily [by breaking God's Law in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done and by what we have left undone] and deserve nothing but God's wrath and punishment.

Without Jesus Christ, our situation would be totally hopeless.  The Scriptures describe human beings as dead in trespasses and sin.  Without the mercy and cleansing of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, there awaits for us only everlasting punishment in hell.  Thus, we need the Gospel--desperately!

what is the gospel?

The word "gospel" is a translation of a Greek word that means, "an announcement of good news."  The Gospel is the good news that God the Holy Trinity decided not to abandon humanity when Adam and Eve first fell into sin.  God decided then and there that sin and death would not have the last word.  He promised to send a Savior.

When the time was right, God sent His Son into our world to be born of the Virgin Mary.  Our Lord Jesus Christ lived a perfect life for us.  On the cross, He received the penalty and punishment for  the sins of the whole world, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin.  Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over our ancient enemies:  sin, death, and the devil.

Therefore, each Christian is able with great joy and confidence to declare before the whole world:

My Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.

What glorious good news!  The one, true eternal and all-powerful God came into our world to live, suffer, die, and rise again for us.  We, who are unholy and unrighteous, receive the forgiveness of all our sins and thus receive the perfect holiness and righteousness of Christ our Savior--as a free gift--purely because of His love for us.  That is good news!  That is the Gospel!