OnFaith asked me to note ten things I'd want everyone to know about the gospel. So I obliged with eleven! (I always liked the bonus question on an exam). They posted it today, so I am free to share it.
Here is the link for the full piece and a sample.
1. The word gospel refers not to a kind of music; it meant “good news” in the Roman world.
The word gospel was originally about a kind of public announcement that was seen as good news. When the church took up the term, they were declaring that the message of salvation in Jesus Christ was good news. They were calling on people to repent and join the kingdom of God. (Don't worry, the discussion on faith as the response comes later)
In Greek, repent means to change your mind about something. In asking people to repent, the early Christians were saying, “Change your mind about the way your life and God work.” That need was met by the story of what Jesus had done. So they tell the story of Jesus’ work in order to share the gospel. (See Mark 1:15.)
2. The gospel is not primarily about sin.
Often, when people hear about the gospel, they think the emphasis is on sin, or more particularly, forgiving sin. That is actually only part of the story. More important is what happens as a result of sin being forgiven. There is a permanently restored relationship with God that is the key result. The gospel is more about reconciliation than about the forgiveness that leads to it (See Ephesians 2:11-22)
3. The gospel does not mean automatic salvation.
Some people think that their salvation is a given unless they do really bad things. That is not what scripture teaches. Rather, we all stand in need of salvation, but need to exercise faith in what God has done to receive it. Salvation, therefore, is received by faith by the one who turns to God seeking forgiveness. (See Romans 3:21-25a.)
For 4-10, plus the bonus, click