What is the gospel? What does it mean for us and why did it occur? All questions that men must ask after the 1st century. As the cross forever will split history.
I think in a sense it is the Culmination of all of history and especially redemptive history till the eschaton . From over 300 prophesies throughout the Old Testament fulfilled in Jesus Christ.The improbability of the gospel has caused many to become believers. For example:
All of the Bible testifies to Christ . To the Law and the Prophets testifying of him ( John 5:39-46, Luke 24:27 ) . The preordained plan of God throughout all of history to the incarnation and then the cross(Acts 17:26, Eph 1:11, Isaiah 46:10, Acts 2:23, 4:28, Rom 8:28) . It shows not a world of chance , but one of purpose and design . This is the way God shows his love for us. That while we were sinners Christ died for us (Rom 5:8) . This is the greatest way to show his love for us (John 15:13). That he took to himself and lived a perfect human life( 1John 3:5). That the perfect God would come into the alienated world to save sinners (John 3:16). All of mankind was his enemy ( Rom 1:18-32, 2:17-29, 3:10-20, 5:12-19, 8:3-8 , 1Cor 2:14, Eph 2:3). The history aspect is we all died in Adam and were left without any hope (Eph 2:12). So, God promised a messiah that would save his people and have victory over the evil one (Gen 3:15, Isaiah 53:3-12). This one action brought us into condemnation (Rom 5:18-19) . But God being rich in mercy sent his own son to do what no man could ever do ( Eph 2:4 , Rom 8:3). That’s to do the righteous demands of God . If you now believe in your heart that Christ is Lord and God in flesh you will be saved (John 1:1, 8:24, Acts 2:21, Romans 10:9 , 1Cor 1:2). That belief is a work of God and is apart from any deeds of holiness we try to do (John 6:29, Romans 3:28, 4:1-5:1, Eph 2:8-9, Gal. 2:15-3:29, Luke 18:9-14). It is all undeserved and all by the Grace of God. Putting your faith in the life , death , burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. Being born of a virgin ( Isaiah 6:9, 7:14, Matt 1:18-25, Luke 1:26-38, Gal 4:4). He both physically and spiritually rose from the dead (Luke 24:39, John 2:19, 1 John 3:2, 1 Cor 15:12-19). That He stood in the place of sinners and because of faith we are made right in the sight of God as the righteousness of Christ becomes ours (1 Peter 2:4, Isa 53:4-12, Matt 8:17, 9:11-13 , 20:28, 26:27, Luke 24:46-47, Colossians 2:14, Hebrews 7:27, 9:28, 10:10, John 1:29, 10:15 , 11:49-52, 15:13, 1 John 2:2, 2 Cor 5:21). As all of the events out history had to culminate so Paul could write “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.” To think the second person of the trinity took to himself a human nature for us.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
We shouldn’t try to make it attractive to the world. We need the true Gospel which is offensive to the natural man ( 1 Peter 2:7-8 ,1Cor 1:18, Gal 5:11).
This is not it the Gospel shows God’s sovereignty as well. As another council member pointed out.
“I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus”
-C.H. Spurgeon (From A Defense of Calvinism by Charles Spurgeon)
The things that had to happen so that the cross may come about was nothing other than divine providence. It started with initial creation and lead to a tragedy of the two in the garden. That would lead into his progeny. Which from their sons of Cain and Able . He murdered his brother and the world furthered into sin. So, God spoke to Noah and told him to build an ark and killed every other being on the planet. Then , you have the progeny being forced to move across the Globe. Then , God spoke to Abraham and gave him the Abrahamic promise . You after have Isaac and then his son Jacob . He would have a son(because of a coat) was sold into slavery and sold . He was thrown into prison because a false charge and because gift from God he rose to Egyptian prime minister. Which brought the Jews into Egypt. Which caused them to be forced into slavery and because of that came Moses. After that God would give the Law. Then he would bring the Jews into Israel. Then we had the period of the judges . Where they did what was good in their own eyes. He finally gave them kings . Which brings David and from all these lines of events to the Messiah. Through the future prophets and the times in Babylon and after they return. All needing the providence of God. This is a short list and is the story of man and the story of the children of the promise. As Romans 9 sets to point out God’s saving grace and plans have been in place since the beginning of time.
The Gospel is a statement of who God is. He’s a God that is good and just ( Deuteronomy 32:4 ,Exodus 15:11, 1Sam. 2:2 , Psalm 31:19 , 34:8 , 84:11 , 100:5 ,107:1, 119:68 , 145:9 , Isaiah 6:3 ,57:15 , 61:8 ,Matthew 19:16-17 , Romans 2:4 , 1 Peter 1:16 ,2 Peter 1:3 , Revelation 4:8). While also being a God rich with mercy (Psalm 51:1-2, Dan. 9:9, Matt. 9:13 , Ephesians 2:4-5 , 1 Peter 5:10). These that which make up the nature of God meet at the cross . He in an act of justice does not spare his own son , but gave him up for us all (Romans 8:32). It would be wrong not to point out its Trinitarian nature. As God the Father sends the son (John 1:1-18) . Then they send the Holy Spirit ( John 14, 17). The Father ordains it (Eph. 1:11).
This is why Paul could say “For I am not ashamed of the gospel , For It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
Repent and Believe.
Thank you and God bless.