Sometimes back while I was in the fifth year of my schooling at the majestic and world-renowned institution that is famous for churning myths and legends, I mean Ainsworth Street Primary School which is in Eastleigh aka Little Mogadishu as it is nowadays known, my English Language teacher, her name is Mrs. Kiarie, reprimanded the class for our overusing of certain words and phrases that are commonplace in their everyday usage, she informed us that instead of using those words, we should be utilising their synonyms, and by the way, the synonyms of that word include bromide, platitude, remark, input, banality, comment, and truism. So, which word am I exactly referring to? It is cliché. There’s no need of giving out any example of it as we are all guilty of still using them (please don’t shtaki me to her or she’ll come and discipline me again). One of the drawbacks of clichés is that we clearly think and understand what the word or phrase we are referring to means, but we’re far from truth, no matter English is one of the subjects with very low number of high passing grades of A- or A historically in our country Kenya at high school level.
The same is equally true with the most important message in the world that has been given to man – the Gospel. Since we’re living in a country that apparently has a very high percentage of professed ‘census Christians’, we usually hear, read, or come across this word on a daily basis, but if you took time to figure out what it means, you’ll get as many answers than even the number of the periodic table elements. One may say that the gospel refers to the words of the Bible, another might say it means the first four books of the New Testament, another might say it is what the pastor preaches at church, I even once heard one saying that it is the songs which Willy Paul and Bahati sing –unlike those by the other mainstream musicians, and on and on it endas. Truly, there is ‘some truth’ (kindly note that I’ve put it in quotes) in them, but biblically, is this the truth? In short, the answer is no, and as a result, we’ve lost not only its meaning, but also its repercussions to both of us who are adherents of this message of the gospel, and those who are still not yet professors of it. With this in mind, in this short article, I’ll try to explain what the Bible tells us what the Gospel really is, so that you may come into a better grasp of it, believe it, and then go out and proclaim it to others so that they too may proclaim it.
Every created thing had a beginning, Genesis 1 & 2, and the One who created them all is none other than God Himself, Genesis 1:1, 21, 6:7, Nehemiah 9:6, Psalms 89:12, 47, 148:5, Isaiah 40:26, 42:5, 43:7, 45:8, 12, Ezekiel 28:13, John 1:3, 10, 1:25, Colossians 1:16, etc. From these verse, we can see that God is the Creator of all, and that everything was created for the sole purpose of glorifying Him.
After God created anything, He said that it was good, Genesis 1:3, 9, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31. Man was then appointed to be the one in dominion over all creation, and was told that he may rule over all creation, and eat from any tree of the Garden of Eden apart from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Genesis 2:17, and that if he disobeys it, he will die. However, the devil came in form of a serpent and tricked them to disobey God’s command and they ate the fruit, Genesis 3:1-7, and as a result, man was banished from God’s presence, Genesis 3:22-24. As a result of the fall, everything created was affected, and sin has been reigning ever since upon us children of Adam, Romans 5:12, making us its slaves, Romans 6:20, and in the end killing us for death is its wages, Romans 6:23.
God’s holiness and wrath
Because God is Holy, Leviticus 11:44-45, He demands the same standard of holiness from us, lest He send wrath upon us. But as we saw previously, none of us is holy since we are all affected by Adam’s sin, Romans 5:12, Romans 3:9-18, and have fallen short of God’s glory, Romans 3:23, and thus we all deserve a just recompense which is death, Genesis 2:17, Romans 6:23. This death is physical Hebrews 9:27, spiritual, Genesis 3;24, and eternal, John 3:16, Revelation 22:12-15.
Even whilst God was meting out His judgment to the serpent, Adam, and Eve, Genesis 3:14-19, He gave our first parents the first promise of a coming Redeemer that will crush the head of the serpent and thus bringing out salvation, Genesis 3:15. Actually, this is the first instance where the term gospel, or euangelion, as it is called in Greek first appears in the Bible. It is with the backdrop of this promise, that when Eve bores Cain, Genesis 4:1, she thinks that this was the seed to crush the serpent’s head, but it wasn’t so. As time progressed, God judged the world by sending a worldwide flood, and He saves Noah through whom He uses to repopulate the earth, and then He calls Abraham, through whom all the families of the world will be blessed, Genesis 12:3, Genesis 18:18 & Genesis 22:18. God further uses Isaac, the promised son, then through Jacob, followed Judah, and finally we learn that the seed will come from David’s House, 1 Samuel 7:4-16, and the prophets pick from here giving us more prophecies concerning this Messiah who is both the root and shoot of David, Isaiah 11:1.
Jesus Christ, the Promised One, finally arrives in the scene. However, He was rejected by Israel, and thus condemned to death on a cross. However, He came to seek and to save those who were lost, Luke 19:10. He lived the life we should have lived, as He was perfectly sinless unlike us, Romans 5:12-19, Hebrews 2:16-18, & Hebrews 4:15, and also suffered the punishment that was due us, died, buried, and resurrected, Isaiah 53:4-6, 1 Peter 2:24, 3:18, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, so that through it, we might be set free, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 3:13. Also note that Christ was the Only Qualified Lamb as He is truly God and truly man.
The appropriate response for this is work of Christ Jesus on our behalf is that of faith and repentance. We need to believe in order to be saved, John 3:16, for that is why God sent Him, and He is the One worthy of putting our faith in, Romans 10:9-10, Acts 2:37-38. Repentance is a turning from sin and unrighteousness towards God, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, Ezekiel 14:6, Romans 6:12.
In proclaiming the pure gospel, not the cliché one that is cultural, we have to clearly understand it at least a minimum of these attributes if we really want to be faithful to it. Some of the books which I may recommend that explain it better than I ever will include The Gospel and What is The Gospel that have been published by 9 Marks. If you’re interested in getting them, contact us, and we will assist you.