2010-01-18

Gospel in One Word

What is the Gospel? 

If you can only summarized it in one word, what word will it be?
Applying this one-word formula will force one to pick up the most important ingredient of the message.

So what is your one-word gospel?

For me, the one word will be Life (zoe).

Let's look at John 3:16
  • Joh 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The last 2 words "everlasting life" describe the type of life that God has given to those who believe in Him.

We have to go back to the original Greek to have a better understanding.

Everlasting is aionion G166 Thayer Definition:
1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be
This means that time is no longer a restrictive dimension. It goes beyond the limitation of time. It transcent time. The speed of light is 300,000 km/sec. It is the fastest speed possible and is the constant in the E=mc^2. Our solar system belongs to the galaxy called Milky Way. It is 100,000 light years across. The universe has many galaxies. You can understand that the speed of light is indeed very slow. But now, with the new Zoe life, we transcend the limitation of time and can travel to any where in the large universe instantly! We can appear and disappear any where. Of course, not with this present body but with the glorified body as Jesus did. ( Jn. 20:27 As they were gathered in the house, behind closed doors, the risen Christ came and stood among them.2 Cor 5: 4b we want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life.)

Life is zoe G2222   Thayer Definition:
2a) of the absolute fullness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature

Everlasting is not a good translation. Unsaved sinners also have everlasting life, except that they are suffering in hell. The Thayer's definition of without beginning and end is a much better translation. Only God is without beginning and end. God transcend time. So a better translation is 'timeless', to 'time-transcending', which is an attribute of God.

Zoe in Thayer's definition is clear in saying that it is God's kind or God's quality of life. This Zoe-life is higher than human-life, animal-life and plant-life.

So John 3:16 says that if we believe in Jesus as Son of God, we will have a new kind of life, the God's kind of life.

God's kind of life will have attribute that it is righteous, complete, full, sinless, holy, timeless, power, etc .... like God. If we don't have God's kind of life, we cannot be children of God and we cannot inherit His Kingdom.

The Common Gospel Message
Most of us heard the gospel as "Jesus came to paid for our sins and give us eternal life".

We ask the people to pray the sinner prayer so that they can be saved. A typical sinner prayer goes like this " Dear Father, I confessed that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins. I thank you for sending Jesus to die for my sins. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Amen!". A better version will add "I am now a new born Child of God.".

What is wrong ? Compare this to John 3:16. With following verses...
  • Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
  • Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 
  • Joh 6:40  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 
  • 2Ti 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel
  • 1Jn 4:15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 
  • 1Jn 5:13  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
  • 1Jn 5:1  Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God:
The criterion for receiving eternal life is simply "believe Jesus". It has no mention of sin! One can argue that "sin" is implied in the "believe Jesus" part. What is the meaning of "believing of Jesus". What to believe about Jesus?
  • Jesus is the begotten Son of God (John 3:16, John 6:40)
  • Jesus as Lord of all, including me (Rom 10:9)
  • Jesus has resurrected (Rom 10:9, which also means Jesus came as man, and die for man for our sin on the cross. Here sin is mentioned. See 1 Cor 15).
  • Jesus is sent from God that we believed (John 5:24)
 In 1 Cor 15, Paul gives a fuller explanation of the Gospel that he preached.
  • 1 Co 15:3 ...how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 
  • 1Co 15:4  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
  • 1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
  • 1Co 15:34  Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
  • 1Co 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Emphasize New Life and We Will Sin Not
What is my point. My point is that we have placed too much emphasis on sins and not on the New Life. The only way to overcome sin is not be sin focus but be life focus. This is in 1Cor 15:34 awake to New Life of of righteousness and sin not.

When we shine the light of the New life, the ugliness of sins will reveal. The goodness of God will bring conversion rather than condemnation of sins (which most people will say they are not that sinful to receive such condemnation and curse God!). We don't know how bad we are until we see how good God is. The Law that was given was to show the goodness of God. It was the Law of Liberty (James) but was some what distorted to become the Law of Bondage! We seek books for secrets to happiness, how to be millionaires, how to be successful in life etc... But the secrets are in the Ten commandments all along! How corrupt one can be until we see the light.


I am not advocating that we ignore sin - Overcome sin with Life living.
We have not spend enough time and exposition on the New Life of, with, and in Jesus Christ. Spend more time living the healthy and victorious new life in Christ. Php 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Php 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If we sometime do fall in sin, meet sin face on. Call a sin sin rather than give excuse. Bring the light of Christ, the power of Christ into our sin and see the deliverance. Get up and get going.

Here is a balanced view.


  1. Unbelievers =  No Concept of Debt of Sin and No Provision of Life (by Christ)
  2. Legalism = Know Debt of Sin and Not Seeing the Provision of Grace/Life of Christ.  Resulting in life of Fear, Pride, Judgmental, Burnt-out, Complains,
  3. Easy Believers or Ultra Grace = No Understanding of Debt of Sin (See sin very lightly) and Seeing the Provision of Grace, result in unchanged life.  See grace as license to sin! Hell insurance bought.
  4. True Believers = See Debt of Sin (treat sin seriously) and seeing the Grace/Life Provision of God and therefore living in Victory and Joy.
Victory comes from living in the new life in Christ. A life of light (as in 1John) and righteousness and empowered by grace. 

The Gospel is about Zoe-Life and not just forgiveness of sins.  It is a rebirth - Born Again into God's Life. The Cross has two sides. It proclaimed the death of sin. It is the beginning of New Life. Live on the new life and not on the past sins.

See also Demands of Eternal Life - Love God & Men.