Friday, June 24, 2016

What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert

My brother gave my sister and I a little book on Gospel. This book, What is the Gospel? by Greg Gilbert, is part of a series put out by Mark Dever's IX Marks ministry. Each book talks about one healthy element each church should have.

Because the Gospel has done so much in my life and grows increasingly sweeter year after year, I was eager to see what they had to say in this book.

The Book [from Goodreads]
This newest addition to the IXMarks series presents a clear, straightforward statement of the gospel, the third mark of a healthy church.

What is the gospel? It seems like a simple question, yet it has been known to incite some heated responses, even in the church. How are we to formulate a clear, biblical understanding of the gospel? Tradition, reason, and experience all leave us ultimately disappointed. If we want answers, we must turn to the Word of God.

Greg Gilbert does so in What Is the Gospel?. Beginning with Paul's systematic presentation of the gospel in Romans and moving through the sermons in Acts, Gilbert argues that the central structure of the gospel consists of four main subjects: God, man, Christ, and a response. The book carefully examines each and then explores the effects the gospel can have in individuals, churches, and the world. Both Christian and non-Christian readers will gain a clearer understanding of the gospel in this valuable resource.

My Thoughts 
One time I was talking with a friend about legend. She told me that God's redemptive, legendary work through history was so much more spectacular, so much more moving and incredible than any legend man could have possibly invented.

I had always thought of God's work as special. Saving. Powerful. But--moving and incredible? Legendary?

Then gradually, more and more of the Scriptures began to unfold. More of my sin, more of God's love, more of his work on his own behalf and his people's. I can truly say now, in the most reverent sense I could possibly mean, that God's work is legendary to me. Not comparable to human legends--but so far surpassing it in truth and beauty that anything we try to make ourselves is a pretty silly copy.

The Gospel. God is the authority. Man rebelled. God provided a solution. Man responds in acceptance or rejection.

We hurry over those words. Sometimes we linger in guilt, sometimes we yawn and rush past them as an often-heard entrance gate into salvation. I used to. Sometimes I still don't value it as I ought. But gradually, the grace of God is shaping my heart to teach me that these very concepts are the core of my existence and the center of everything I do.You cannot do anything in a fruitful way without the Gospel being the guiding focus behind it. You cannot have any worthwhile joy without Gospel joy being at the core of it.

If you feel passionate about the Gospel, then Greg Gilbert's little book What is the Gospel? will be a feast of grace. If you don't feel this way, but want to, then this book will give you clear explanations of the glorious redemption the Gospel provides to believers.

Here's what I loved about it:

First of all, Gilbert starts out by explaining what the Gospel is. The four points I included above are what he boils it down to. They're simple, graspable points that we can use to remind ourselves and also use to witness to nonbelievers. Using this book as a guide in explaining the Gospel is one of the great key benefits of reading it.

The second reminder I appreciated was what sin is. Sin isn't a bunch of scattered actions or bad emotions or discouraged feelings. Sin is a disease--a deep pollution of our very natures. God saves us from that deep, complete contamination by the full and free redemption of his Son. He gives us that righteous nature. Once we grasp the horror of our sin, it doesn't take long for the Holy Spirit to bring us to our knees in tearful awe--that God would take something completely filthy by nature and redeem it to be completely pure.

Once in BSF our teacher said, "Nothing defiling will enter heaven. Your presence will not defile heaven." It moved me deeply at the time. I know my presence defiles. I still have a sin nature, albeit redeemed, that taints so much of what I do. But through Jesus, we will no longer defile his dwelling place, feel defiled, or defile his people. That's the power of the Gospel.

Last of all, I especially enjoyed the final chapter on our response to Jesus' redemption. We find rest. We rejoice. We tell others about this good news. This Gospel will keep renewing our hearts until God calls us home. Whenever life gets overwhelming, I suspect the Gospel hasn't been at the forefront enough. And that reminder to rest in Christ's power is healing in itself.

This book will help you glory in the cross of Christ. That's the chiefest reason I could possibly give for why it would be worth reading.

I hope you too find encouragement in these life-giving truths.

Housekeeping note: I'm taking a TLC break this coming week from blogging, but be sure to come back July 5th for a fantastic article on why modern readers should care about history! You won't want to miss it! 


  1. I need to read this soon. I loved your review. :)

    1. You should! I'd love to talk about it with you. <3


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