The gospel is not everything. By this I mean to say that the gospel isn’t necessarily this message of the holiness of God and sin (and indeed it is not). It is not the message of heaven (though that may be a result). The gospel is much more focused than that. Pure and simple, the gospel is the euangelion, the good news, the news that is better than anything else we have ever heard. It is not about the holiness of God, though that may be part of it, or sin, though that is also part of it, but on the person of Jesus Christ, the foundation of the Christian faith.
I have placed as a cover photo the first words of the book of Mark: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” We forget that the the gospel is this gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. The centre of the Gospel is not our redemption from sin, or our placement in heaven, it is not the defeat of darkness, it is not the holiness of God, nor the restoration of the world. No, the gospel is this: God was made man and that man was the person of Christ and fulfilled the promises of God. This is what we see in the traditional headings to each of the four gospels: “The gospel according to.” Each of the four gospels is a telling of the one news of Christ for their respective audiences. The gospel, the good news, is the message of the life of Christ. This is of note because when we talk of the gospel we so often forget that Christ is the gospel. We focus so much on why we need Christ and what faith in Christ grants us that we lose focus on the person of Christ. The good news is what we see at the very beginning of Romans:
the good news of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ
The gospel is the story of Christ that he fulfilled scripture and that through him humanity is brought into grace. The gospel is not so much what we believe to obtain salvation as much as it is a faith that the promises of God have been utterly and totally fulfilled in the person of Christ, and salvation is the effect of a belief in the unyielding faithfulness of God and the completion of his promises. It is belief in the olive branch of Christ that has ended the enmity between ourselves and God though the blood of the cross.
However, though the gospel is not everything, the gospel changes everything and for each person the gospel is different and will be different each time we come to a more full understanding of it. For those who have not yet heard the gospel, when we believe in the person of Christ, we believe that christ is sufficient to bring is to reconciliation with God, we believe that the gospel truly tells us that the forces and the dominion of darkness over humanity has been shattered. The gospel for the new Christian is the answer to “what must I do to be saved.” For the Christian who is struggling with the troubles of this life the gospel is the message that Christ is the true King and that we are ambassadors and sojourners in this world. The gospel is the message of our adoption by Christ, and of the promise of the future kingdom of God. For those who are suffering under the threat of war, the gospel is the message that in the Kingdom of God there will be no more war because Christ is king and Christ is the fulfillment of the promise of him who will beat swords into ploughshares and usher in the period of the peace of God. The gospel, the good news of Christ, affects everything which is why everyone needs it.
Believe on Christ because Christ is the solution to all the problems of the world. Christ is the substance of the gospel, he is the Word made flesh with glory as of the only-begotten of the Father. He is our Prince of Peace, the mighty God. He is the one who will judge between nation and beat our instruments of war into the tools of a true peace. He is our redemption from sin. He is the fulfillment of all the promises of God. Christ is the gospel, and him the good news. The gospel is one truth, but it is one truth that changes everything; believe it, for there is nothing better.