The word gospel means good news, which sounds appealing and positive, like something we might be interested in. But when the Bible uses this term, it does not equate it as a positive message among a sea of favorable reports. Rather, the Gospel is the greatest of all announcements, on which we should all be gloriously focused.

It is not only the apex, but the core of the Christian faith. As Tim Keller put it, “The Gospel is not just the A-B-C’s of Christianity; it’s the A to Z. The Gospel is not the first layer in a slab of Christian truth, in a pile of Christian truth; it is the hub in the wheel of Christian truth.”

So what is this news? In short form, the Gospel can be defined as this: Jesus died and rose again to save sinners. The apostle Paul, who previously cooperated in the murder of Christians and then became one their most effective evangelists after an encounter with the truth of the Gospel, proclaimed that the most compelling information for the world was the story of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of God’s Son (1 Corinthians 2:1- 2; 15:3-9).

If this is the best news, there is an assumption of bad news. The bad news is that we and our world are broken. We attempt to be moral, and if we compare ourselves on a human continuum, we may convince ourselves that we are okay. However, our mirror and the Bible tells us otherwise. When compared to the complete perfection of God, we are found lacking. The Apostle Paul told the Christians in Rome, “It is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Romans 3:10-11).

This is a bleak picture of the human condition. It pulls no punches. Mankind is so crippled that it cannot get to God. But God… that all so incredible “but”… but God so loved this broken world that He came to us. God the Son became one of us. He walked this fractured earth. He grieved the death of loved ones. Friends betrayed him. He was misunderstood. He was a hero one week, and crucified the next.

This is not a God who is distant from us and our pain. This is a God who “became flesh and dwelt among us” as one of us (John 1:14). This is a God who empathizes because He has walked a mile in our shoes. And He went the second mile by taking our sinful record upon Himself on the cross.

The Gospel is not a checklist for people to obtain the favor of God. It is a declaration of what God did to restore what is beyond repair. What should you do with this message? Admit you are a broken sinner. Confess your inability to please Him and thank Jesus for securing your acceptance upon the cross. Do not insult God by trying to be good enough for His acceptance. Believe that Christ accomplished all you need to be approved by God. Turn to the God who was broken for you. “Repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).