The word gospel essentially means “good news,” specifically about our relationship with God. We all like good news, especially if it addresses bad news we’ve just received. If you’ve just been told you have cancer, it’s good news when the doctor tells you it’s a type that readily responds to treatment.
The gospel is like that. It’s good news that directly addresses our ultimate bad news. The Bible tells us we were in deep trouble with God; we were unrighteous and ungodly, and God’s wrath is revealed “against all the godlessness and wickedness of men”; in fact, we were “by nature objects of [God’s] wrath” (Romans 1:18, NIV; Ephesians 2:3, NIV). Coming into the world as a baby, before you’d ever done anything bad, you were an object of God’s wrath. That’s the bad news.
Then the Bible tells us that God has provided a solution far surpassing our problem. The Good News always outweighs the bad—as in Ephesians 2:1-9. After telling us we were objects of God’s wrath, Paul added: “But… God, who is rich in mercy… raised us up with Christ, and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (NIV). That is surely a dust-to-glory story. What greater contrast could there be than an object of God’s wrath seated with His Son in glory?
This good news doesn’t begin when we die. It’s for now. We don’t have to feel guilt-ridden and insecure before God. We don’t have to wonder if He likes us. We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization, I’m accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.