Here’s a beautiful summation by John Piper of what the gospel is:
What’s the Gospel?
What’s the gospel? I’ll put it in a sentence.
The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.
That’s the gospel.
You Can’t Outgrow the Gospel
You never, never, never outgrow your need for it. Don’t ever think of the gospel as, “That’s the way you get saved, and then you get strong by leaving it and doing something else.”
No! We are strengthened by God through the gospel every day, till the day we drop.
You never outgrow the need to preach to yourself the gospel.
How the Gospel Strengthens
Here’s an illustration, and I use it not because it’s any big deal to speak from my life, but because it’s what I walked through and where I most pointedly in the last year experienced the power of the gospel to make me strong. (Many of you are walking through things much heavier than prostate cancer—much heavier.)
Do you remember the verses that I shared with you back in February that were almighty for me? It was that moment right after the doctor says, “I think we need to do a biopsy,” when this stab of fear comes. It didn’t last long, mercifully.
And then came—what? 1Thessalonians 5:9-10. It’s just as pure gospel as you can get.
God has not destined you for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,who died for you so that whether you wake or sleep you will live with him.
Settled. Peace like a river.
The Gospel Is Perfect for Your Needs
That’s just gospel—perfectly timed, perfectly applied, perfectly suited to my need. That’s why the Bible is so thick—because there are so many different needs that you have. And there are suitable places where the gospel is unfolded for you, so that if you immerse yourself in the whole book, always with an eye for what Christ has wrought for you and purchased for you in this thick, glorious history of God’s interaction with people, he will give you what you need.
Therefore, everything in me says, and I hope to say until the day I die, “Now, to him who is able to strengthen me, according to Paul’s gospel, to him—to that God—be glory forever and ever.”
God came into history in Jesus Christ; he died in order to destroy the power of hell and death and Satan and sin; and he did it through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
A Plea to Believe
I know that there are people reading this who are not trusting Jesus Christ, and therefore can only expect condemnation. So I’m just going to plead with you here at the end, lay down that rebellion. Lay it down. And simply embrace the gospel that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Righteous One, died for your sins. He was raised on the third day, triumphant over all his enemies. He reigns until he puts all of his enemies under his feet. Forgiveness of sins and a right standing with God comes freely through him alone, by faith alone.
I plead with you, don’t try to be strong in your own strength; it will not be there when you need it. Only one strength will be there—the strength that God gives according to the gospel.
Don’t put it off.