The Gospel: a term often used as short-hand for the message of personal salvation, and a formula for how a person can be forgiven and have a personal relationship with God. While true, this may be too small an understanding of the Gospel. In its original context, the Gospel included the message of personal salvation and a great deal more.
Gospel comes from the Greek work euangelion, meaning good news or glad tidings. The Hebrew equivalent occurs often Isaiah’s prophecies, and it is always connected to the Messianic Kingdom coming to earth. Isaiah 40:9-11 and 52:7 are examples of the prophet declaring the good news (Gospel) of the Messiah coming and establishing Yahweh’s kingdom on the earth. The references to good news in the New Testament draw on this Old Testament background, pointing to the fact that Israel’s long-awaited Messiah had finally arrived. His name is Jesus Christ.
When the angel announced the birth of Jesus, he said, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people,” (Luke 2:10). In these terms, the message would have been understood in the context of the Kingdom Isaiah presented. This is what the people of God had been waiting for. Gabriel told Mary (Luke 1:32-33) God would give the Messiah the throne of David and that He would reign over the house of Jacob and His kingdom would last forever. Notice what the glad tidings were not: they were not that Jesus was coming to offer a system of personal salvation, or that He was coming to make it possible for every person to have a relationship with Him. Of course, these things are part of the Good News and should never be minimized. Gabriel’s emphasis was more universal.
The Gospel is summarized by the announcement that Jesus is Lord and His Kingdom is being established. The full realization of this will not be apparent until He comes again. But His work of redeeming creation has begun and it started with the Gospel proclamation.
So when Paul speaks of “the Gospel of Jesus Christ” it should be understood as the conquering, triumphant entry of a new King and Kingdom that affects every area of life. There is no area the Gospel doesn’t touch. The Gospel proclamation is the announcement that He is Lord over all of creation and every area touched by the curse.
Soli Deo Gloria!