In Tim Keller’s sermon titled “Meeting the Real Jesus” he explains:
Throughout history people have understood that ‘a’ gospel was the announcement of a historic event that brought about a new joyful order of things. It was not a word that was used lightly. It was only used to explain a historic event that brought about a new wonderful order.
For example, in the announcement of the coronation of Octavian Augustus becoming Emperor of Rome a bulletin was sent out that read “This is the beginning of the gospel of Caesar Augustus.”
The word was commonly used when a good king was crowned or invading army was defeated.
This is the idea that Jesus and the authors of the Bible are conveying when they use the word “gospel” or the phrase “good news.” They are trying to communicate that something in history has been accomplished and because of that accomplishment there is now a joyful new order of things. In sum, when the word “gospel” was used it was REALLY good news.
The Definition of “Gospel”
In fact, the literal definition of the word gospel is good news. In many of our English bibles translators use “gospel” and “good news” interchangeably to translate the same root word.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is not just another gospel like the beginning of Caesar Augustus. It is THE gospel of all gospels. It is the best news because the historical events about Christ’s life bring about the greatest joyful new order.
Have you ever thought about what this means if the central message of Christianity is by nature news?
The Implications of “Gospel”
If the main message of Christianity is first and foremost NEWS, then at its very core Christianity is NOT good advice. It is NOT good standards or morals for living. It is NOT even good religious teachings or ethics or philosophies.
By choosing to call the main message of Christianity good news, it makes it very clear that at the heart of the Christian message is something that has already been done. An incredible event in history has taken place! A new joyful order of things has begun!
Why does it seem most people (even those who regularly attend church) think the main message of Christianity is a list of things for you to do? This just goes to show how poorly we understand true and biblical Christianity because this idea is actually what separates biblical Christianity from every other religious faith.
Tim Keller explains:
“The historical events that recored the beginnings of all other religions explain how someone (Buddha, Muhammad, etc…) learned the way of salvation, but the historical events of Christianity explain that the events of Jesus Christ’s life ARE THE WAY of salvation…All other religions are philosophies on how to reach up to God, but Christianity is a gospel. In Christianity God has reached down and became man, lived the perfect life we should have lived, died the death on the cross that we deserved, and then rose from the dead triumphant over sin and death.”