Like so many Bible terms, the word GOSPEL has been given various definitions contrary to its original and proper meaning.
The word has its origin “in Christ before the foundation of the world.” This was contained in the “promise” God made before the foundation of the world. (Tit. 1:2) The “gospel,” the “good news” or “good tidings” is the declared fulfilment of that promise.
In Isaiah 61:1-3 is found the outstanding proclamation made by the Sum and Substance of the good tidings, — Jesus Christ Himself:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the meek, He has sent Me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of
vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn. To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.”
The Redeemer repeated this same proclamation of Himself in the synagogue.
While this prophetical statement is often quoted, its full significance is rarely understood. In this one sweeping declaration, there is encouched – not the beginning of the gospel, not a part of its fulfilment, – the grand total of what the Son of Man declared on the cross: “IT IS FINISHED”!
The Greek word “evanggelion” is translated “gospel” in the King James Version. This word, together with its rendering of “good tidings,” glad tidings” and “preach the gospel” occurs some one hundred and eight times in the New Testament, none of which intimate anything less than “finished redemption” in Christ.
“Only one saving message is attested by the NT. The “gospel to the circumcision” preached by Peter and his colleagues did not differ in content from the “gospel to the uncircumcised” entrusted to Paul (Gal. 2:7), though the form of presentation might vary according to the audience. Paul’s testimony is, “Whether therefore it was I or they [Peter and his colleagues], so we preach, and so you believed” (1 Cor. 15:11).
The basic elements in the message were these:
1. the prophecies have been fulfilled and the new age inaugurated by the coming of Christ;
2. he was born into the family of David;
3. he died according to the Scriptures, to deliver his people from this evil age;
4. he was buried, and raised again the third day, according to the Scriptures;
5. he is exalted at God’s right hand as Son of God, Lord of living and dead;
6. he will come again, to judge the world and consummate his saving work.”