If you have never really read through the Bible before, there is one passage which captures my attention each time I study it because it puts into very simple form the gospel message. Keeping in mind that the "gospel" really means "good news", then the "gospel message" must also be a message of good news meant to be shared with all people for all time! There are various passages in the scripture which point to the good news about Christ - his coming, life, death, resurrection, victory over death, hell, and the grave, etc. There are also select passages in which the entirety of the gospel message is captured in just a few short verses - making the message not only "compact", but easy to glean without a whole lot of study. The good news: God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth!
God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is: There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. God showed us this at the right time. (I Timothy 2:4-6 CEV)
So, if God wants everyone to be saved, and to know the whole truth, the entirety of the truth, then why is it some still struggle so much with the truth and the reality of the gospel message? I think it may be that we complicate the message too much! It really is a pretty simple message - but because we like to "over-think" things, we make it much harder than it has to be!
- There is only one God. This is the first of the truths explained for us - something God wants all mankind to know. Whenever we introduce any other god than the only true God himself, we introduce things/people/objects which are just imitations of the real. At best, they add complexity to our lives and do nothing to help us recognize the reality of the truth. There are a lot of ways we complicate our lives, but having anything or anyone else as a "god" in our lives (capturing our thoughts, will, and emotions), we are in danger of filling the space God himself designed for none other than himself!
- There is but one way "to" God and that is through his Son, Jesus Christ. Any other means of approaching God is pretty futile because it is not the "means" God intended. If we think our good works, sacrificial giving, or the like will get us into heaven and keep us from hell, think again! There is but one way into the presence of God the Father and that is by Christ bringing us there! One God, one means of access to him, and anything or anyone else is just not the truth!
- There was but one sacrifice which made this access possible - the death of Christ. The purpose of his coming was our entry into the kingdom of God. The means of us enjoying the presence of God himself will always and for all eternity be the blood of Jesus, offered as the perfect sacrifice for all of mankind's sin. No other work is necessary. No other person or action can substitute for this perfect sacrifice.
- There is one need of all mankind - to understand their need of "rescue". If you truly understand the need of rescue, then you also come to recognize there is no other hope unless there is a rescue! To be rescued, one needs to recognize the futility of their present course or path. For example, a person set adrift in a life-boat is not completely without some hope, but unless someone comes along to pull them out of the currents they are adrift within, they will likely perish on the high seas due to a lack of the necessary things which help to preserve life. The same is true when we consider our need for rescue in a spiritual sense. We are adrift spiritually - thinking we are afloat and okay - but in reality, we are adrift and totally out of control of where our future state will end. We need a rescuer and that is none other than Christ himself.
In a nutshell - this is the good news. If you haven't stop to consider the reality of the gospel message, this passage will explain it to you pretty simply. One God, one means to get to know him, and all of our own efforts will never help us to really get on the right course. Simply put, truth liberates! Just sayin!