The gospel is the good news of the kingdom of God made manifest in Jesus Christ. It was proclaimed throughout the Old Testament, inaugurated in Christ’s life, death and resurrection and will be finally consummated in His future return.
We inhabit a broken world. Cancer, war, poverty, disease, and death threaten joy and crush hope. But, imagine a world perfectly subdued and liberated from all the effects of sin. This is what the kingdom looks like.
Chaos and disorder did not originally reign. Created good, the world was fractured through mankind’s rebellion against the King. The one who was to bear the divine image instead imaged sin and was exiled.
Even so, the King set aside and sent out a people to rescue humanity in the nation of Israel, but she herself was lost at sea in sin and the kingdom tottered and seemed to fail.
But the kingdom was not truly thwarted for the King Himself was always to rule among His people and so the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
In His public ministry, Jesus began to put right all that was wrong and proclaimed as proof “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them" (Luke 7:22). The kingdom is already, even if it is not yet. In Christ’s life we see the in-breaking and inauguration of the kingdom.
But Christ’s work was not fully accomplished in teaching and healing. He came to die to bear the punishment of His people. The King suffers for His subjects that they might enjoy His kingdom. Jesus Christ has died to reconcile the world to Himself and risen from the dead as evidence that He reigns over all things. Therefore, the call of the gospel is an appeal to lay down our arms and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ who is coming again to rule and reign among His people.
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).