Before the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven, He charged His disciples to go forth and preach the gospel everywhere (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15). We, His believers, bear this burden joyfully, for God’s power to save everyone who believes is contained in the gospel. Man’s highest honor is to proclaim the gospel to men. The gospel we proclaim is abundantly rich and extensive. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul says it most clearly: “To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel” (Eph. 3:8). Thus, our gospel is simply Jesus Christ Himself.
He died on the cross as a man to fulfill all the righteous requirements placed on us by God. Thus, He has become our Redeemer. But even further, He is our Savior.
Christ is God, from eternity past to eternity future. Of the Three of the Triune God, He is the Son of God. He was the Creator of all things. All things came into being through Him (John 1:3). In time, He became a man and partook of our nature. He is the perfect man, having our created nature but without sin. He died on the cross as a man to fulfill all the righteous requirements placed on us by God. Thus, He has become our Redeemer. But even further, He is our Savior. Yet His salvation is not only from punishment, but much more it is a salvation in the divine life (Rom. 5:10). When He was born to be a man, He was named Jesus, which means Jehovah the Savior or Jehovah the salvation (Matt. 1:21). He is the Christ, the Messiah (John 1:41), the One anointed by God to accomplish God’s plan or economy (Eph. 3:11; 1:10). When He was on this earth, He was called the Lord (Luke 2:11; Matt. 3:3) because He is eternally God; and after He resurrected and ascended, He, as a man, was made Lord of all (Acts 2:36). He is the last Adam, who became a life-giving Spirit in resurrection (1 Cor. 15:45) to enter His believers and give them life (1 John 5:12). Today He is their life and their resurrection (John 11:25; 3:15; Phil. 3:10).
Christ is not only a wonderful Person but also One who has accomplished so much. His accomplishments are just as much a part of our gospel as His Person. His first major accomplishment was His incarnation. Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a human virgin (Matt. 1:18, 20). When He was born, He was fully God and fully man, a God-man. As a man, He experienced human living for over thirty years. He lived as a lowly man (cf. Isa. 53:2) and touched all kinds of people. He experienced human sufferings, sorrows, despisings, rejections (Isa. 53:3), trials, and temptations (Heb. 2:18; 4:15). This God-man even wept (John 11:35). Indeed, He was fully man.
After experiencing a full human living, the Lord Jesus accomplished an all-inclusive death. He died as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). On the cross He was lifted up as the bronze serpent, just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness and the children of Israel lived (John 3:14; Num. 21:4-9). Though He was in the likeness of the flesh of sin (Rom. 8:3), He did not possess the sinful, serpentine nature (Heb. 4:15). He was made sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21), and He died to deal with our sinful nature as well as with the source of our sin, the old serpent, who is the devil Satan (Rev. 20:2). His death was also as a grain of wheat falling into the earth and dying (John 12:24). It not only dealt with all the negative things in the universe but also released the divine life to His believers that they might be His many fruit. By such an all-inclusive death He accomplished His eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:12).
Christ accomplished resurrection (1 Cor. 15:4) as well. His resurrection was God’s vindication and approval of Him and of His work and becomes the proof of our justification before God (Rom. 4:25). By His resurrection He triumphed over Satan, death, Hades, and the grave (Heb. 2:14; Acts 2:31). Hence, after nullifying death through His death, He brought life and incorruption to light through the gospel by His resurrection (2 Tim. 1:10).
In resurrection Christ came back to the disciples and breathed into them that they might receive the Holy Spirit as their life essentially (John 20:22). Then He ascended and sat at the right hand of God, far above all in the universe (Mark 16:19; Eph. 1:20-21). After His ascension He poured out the Spirit of power upon His believers that He might be their power economically (Acts 2:4; 10:44-45). By this, He baptized all the believers once for all into the Spirit and into His one Body (1 Cor. 12:13).
Christ’s Attainments and Obtainments
Through all His accomplishments, Christ has attained and obtained a number of things that we proclaim as our gospel. He has attained to the height of the universe, far above all (Eph. 1:21). As the God-man, with both the divine and the human natures, He has attained to the peak of divine attributes and human virtues. In His human living He lived out the divine attributes in His human virtues. Then in His resurrection and as the exalted God-man in ascension, He uplifted the human virtues to their highest degree so that the divine attributes may be expressed in humanity for eternity. This glorified God-man has obtained the throne (Heb. 12:2), glory and honor (Heb. 2:9), a name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9-11), the Lordship (Acts 2:36), and the Leadership (Acts 5:31).
He is the High Priest to the believers, interceding for them before God that they may be saved to the uttermost. In Him the believers have an Advocate before the righteous God; He pleads our case and offers Himself as our propitiation, the offering that appeases God for us.
Our gospel includes what Christ does in this age, at His return, and in eternity. In the present age, Christ gives repentance and the forgiveness of sins to save sinners (Acts 5:31; 16:31). He saves sinners to make them His members for the building up of His church (Matt. 16:18), which is His Body (Eph. 1:22b-23). By building the church in this age, He establishes the kingdom of God on earth (Matt. 16:18-19; 6:10). Further, He is the Mediator of the new covenant (Heb. 8:6), which He established through His death (Matt. 26:28), and He is the Minister of the true tabernacle, ministering to the believers the heavenly life and heavenly supply of the divine riches (Heb. 8:1-2). He is the High Priest to the believers (Heb. 4:14), interceding for them before God that they may be saved to the uttermost (Heb. 7:24-26). In Him the believers have an Advocate before the righteous God; He pleads our case and offers Himself as our propitiation (1 John 2:1-2), the offering that appeases God for us. When Christ returns, He will transfigure the body of our humiliation (Phil. 3:20-21), thereby redeeming our bodies that we may enjoy the full sonship (Rom. 8:23). When He returns, He will restore all things of creation, which have been brought under the slavery of corruption (Rom. 8:20-23) through Satan’s rebellion and man’s fall. He will bring God’s kingdom to this earth, and the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15; 12:10). In eternity Christ is the Lamb upon the throne with God (Rev. 22:1). He is the Husband of all God’s redeemed people (Rev. 21:9, 2). In the New Jerusalem, the consummation of God’s work throughout the ages, God and the Lamb are the temple in which the redeemed serve God (Rev. 21:22), and the Lamb is the lamp of the city (Rev. 21:23). In this eternal city, Christ is the tree of life, supplying Himself as life to the entire city and offering healing to the nations forever (Rev. 22:1-2; cf. John 15:1).
Whoever repents and believes in this gospel will receive the redemption that Christ has accomplished and the salvation that He has prepared for them. Their salvation is to be forgiven of their sins, justified by God, reconciled to God, and regenerated and saved through His Spirit. This is indeed the glad tidings (Rom. 10:15)