What is the Christian Gospel: The Bad News

What is the Christian Gospel? The Christian Gospel is based on the message presented in the Bible; it presents a problem and reveals the solution. The problem is sin and death, and that’s the bad news.

Sometimes the truth hurts, but if your conscience is bugging you and you realize something isn’t right in your life, don’t ignore it. The Spirit of God is doing His work in your life convincing you of sin, John 16:8. Only by recognizing this bad news as true for you, will you be able to appreciate the good news.

Free Will for All

The Bible is full of stories about people doing what they think is right, people excitedly telling or listening to some new theory or philosophy, people busily going to and fro about their daily business and people mocking or scoffing at the message from the Creator.

God has many times and in many ways tried to get mankind’s attention, but with limited response. He has issued warnings, extended invitations and given opportunity but very few have even bothered to listen to what He has to say.

Ecclesiastes 11:9 “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”

In life, you can do what you want, when you want to and how you want to. But after everything comes to an end, and you pass from this life you will be in for a rude awakening. Everyone will give an account to God of their life.

God’s Warning

It started early and it happened often. With the first instructions recorded in the Scriptures the Creator established the parameters and the consequences for those who chose to walk outside of the parameters.

In Genesis 1:16 – 17, “and the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” The instructions were clearly given, and the warning firmly issued, and the consequence clearly established.

In Ezekiel 18:4 and 18, God declares “the soul who sins shall die”. The warning firmly issued, and the consequence clearly established.

Romans 6:23 reaffirms what God established from the beginning ” For the wages of sin is death”. The consequence clearly established.

Decision / Consequence

It is widely accepted by most, that bad actions require punishment. Governments establish laws and enforce them, and in sports, there are rules, and if the participants don’t follow the rules, there are penalties.

The really bad news is, that all of us have done bad things against the Creator. Everyone of us is guilty of violating His laws and breaking His rules. In a court of law, we would be wise to enter a guilty plea.

There is no exception, and no one is better than the other. Romans 3:23 declares: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

Isaiah 53:6 declares: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way”. God shows no partiality, and declares: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10 to 12.

The Verdict is in: Guilty as Charged

Are you ready to stand guilty as charged? Here are three examples in the Bible of people who realized that what the Creator declares is true.

In Luke 18:9 – 14, we read the story of a publican who was guilty, and he knew it. In Bible times, the publicans had a bad reputation of collecting taxes and pocketing the surcharge. This sin (thief), likely weighed on his heart when he went to the temple to pray. You can read “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’”. The publican had no problems recognizing the bad news that he was a sinner. Quite the contrast to the Pharisee who boasted about how good a person he was. The Lord Jesus Christ clearly identified which of the two had the right attitude before God.

The man known as the Apostle Paul wasn’t always so. He grew up and was trained in the religion of his fathers and rose to the top of his class. He was zealous for the traditions of his forefathers and persecuted anyone who spoke against them. One day, Paul was stopped in his tracks, literally. In Acts 9:1 – 18 you can read how the Lord spoke to him. Later, Paul would tell the Philippians 3:1 – 11 that everything he had gained as a religious man was in fact rubbish. He realized that even though he thought he was doing what was right in the eyes of God, he was actually acting against God. With the wake up call on the way to Damascus, Paul realized the bad news that he was a sinner.

Cornelius was a good man. In Acts 10:1 – 48 you can read his story. He is described as “a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.”. He welcomed Peter into his home in order to hear the message God had for him. When Peter spoke of Christ, and later of forgiveness of sins Cornelius believed the message. Though he was a good man by any earthly standard, he realized that before God the bad news applied to him, he was a sinner and needed to be saved.

Action Point: Summarize the Bad News

  1. Watch the short video here: What is the Christian Gospel: The Bad News
  2. Read in the book of Romans from chapter 1 to chapter 3.
    1. Click here to download a PDF Reading Sheet: Romans 1 to 3
  3. Meditate on what the Word of God is saying to you about the Bad News.
  4. Pray that the Spirit of God works in you to reveal to you the truth about your sin.
  5. Find out here about the Good News part of the Gospel.
  6. Click here for an overview of the Christian Gospel.


10 thoughts on “What is the Christian Gospel: The Bad News”

  1. Hi Mitch

    I used to work as a moderator on many sites that catered for people with rare illnesses. As moderators (and as a rule for the communities), we were told to avoid conversations on two topics – religion and politics – and that we should refer people to sites that focus on these two topics.

    Having read your article, I would be pleased to refer people.

    You are tackling a topic that can be controversial – it is deep for many people. Well done for giving it a go!



    1. Thank you for your encouragement. I want to commend you for taking on the task of moderating website discussion forums, I’m guessing it was not an easy job.

      I was just commenting to my wife that five years ago, I don’t think I could have done what I am doing with this website. Looking back, I know that the Lord has been preparing me to share the Scriptures in this way. A few things have happened over the last few months that has increased even more my confidence in the truth of Scripture.

      So many Bible topics are controversial, and I am praying that this website can take away some of the fears people have of the Bible.

  2. This is such a great inspirational and encouraging article. I think that after reading this post, your visitors can get the message and take so much from it. The “free will for all” section is just perfect. I truly believe that we must act accordingly to God’s words because otherwise we will have to face the consequences at the end of our days in this world. It’s great to read articles about the Christian Gospel; our society needs a lot more of this! Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. The “free will for all” is probably best summarized by what Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 11:9 “Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.” (ESV)

      He basically is letting the youth know that they can do whatever they want in life (free will)… BUT in the end, they will have to answer to God. It is a sombre message for those who think that “free will” is a God given right that gives them the freedom to do what they want.

      And thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. julienne murekatete

    I always feel joyful when i see word Gospel because it reminds me the Grace of Lord .When we read bible well ,we find that everyone on this earth is a sinner and none can do good as we are product of sin.From that we ca say that Bible has bad news for everyone either good or bad in front of society.

    But we have good news. Jesus has been punished in our place and we have taken his righteousness.We are righteous not by our good work but by faith.

    I am blessed to have grace of God.

    1. Amen to that. So glad to hear someone share a straightforward understanding of the gospel.

      May the Lord continue to bless you.

  4. I’m afraid I do not know my bible as well and so I am a little confused about certain things that has piqued my interest.

    Was Paul really an apostle of Jesus?  That is, was he one of the 12 disciples?  

    I thought I’d read somewhere that he wrote his part of the gospel 300 years after Christ.

    Or was that another Paul?

    Greatly appreciate the clarification.

    1. Excellent questions and thank you for asking.

      You are right in noticing a “discrepancy” in the naming of Paul as an apostle of Jesus Christ but was not one of the 12 disciples.

      Paul did not get saved until after Jesus had died and risen again. He was actually on his way to Damascus to persecute the followers of Christ when he got stopped in his tracks and got saved.

      Paul was taught the Gospel by Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:12)

      In many of the letters that Paul writes, he introduces himself as an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

      He was known as the apostle of the gentiles. (Romans 11:13)

      He had the same authority with respect to the gospel as did Peter, James and John (Galatians 2:6-10)

      He was also attacked and accused of not being an apostle and wrote a defense in 1 Corinthians 9.

      Paul is grateful for his call to be an apostle because he persecuted the church before getting saved and recognized that his calling to be an apostle was by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:9) 

      I think I am going to have to do a post on this topic… there is so much more to cover. Thank you for your contribution!!!

      As for the writings of Paul, he wrote a number of letters to individual churches, to groups of churches and to individuals. The books from Romans to Philemon are attributable to Paul. Some of the letters he wrote as a free man, while other letters he wrote as a prisoner in Rome. The best estimates put the death of Paul the Apostle at 64 or 67 A.D. likely in the city of Rome. All of the letters attributed to Paul were written before his death.

  5. Hello Mitch,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post “What is the Christian Gospel: The Bad News”.  You describe The Christian Gospel as the message presented in the Bible; it presents a problem and reveals the solution. The problem is sin and death.  

    Each paragraph describes the bibles stories of people trying to do what is right, but heeding the warnings that god is trying to give out.

    God has set parameters and yet people are still walking outside of the parameters.

    You state that everyone has done something bad and in a court of law should plead guilty. I agree and you must pay the fine.

    After you plead guilty, god will apply the proper punishment. As they say may god help you!

    Thank you for enlightening me on the Christion Gospel.

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