What is the gospel? #6: Faith

Here’s a reminder of the seven-fold summary –

1: the announcement of good news concerning the glory of God in King Jesus

2: bringing to conclusion the story of Israel in his

3: life, death, resurrection, & return (which)

4: brings victory over sin, Satan and death, (which)

5: brings salvation by grace to all who 

6: repent and believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour, 

7: following Him unashamedly with hope through suffering and life.


The reality of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and return, which brings victory over sin, Satan and death, which in turn, brings salvation by grace, demands a response. And the only right response is to…

Repent and Believe

The Gospel is both inclusive and exclusive. Its call is for everyone (inclusive) – but only those who repent and believe will receive its benefits – salvation (exclusive). And because it is a salvation by grace, this is not something we can earn or achieve from being good. Romans 3:23 makes it clear, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. Nobody can enter God’s holy presence and live – his glorious presence cannot tolerate sinful reality.[1]

This means the way we are saved and come to know God is through repenting and believing. Jesus preached this,[2] Peter preached it,[3] and so did Paul.[4]


Repentance is the twin process of changing your mind and turning 180 degrees in life, from rebel to Jesus. Part of the process is realising you are a sinner – you are someone who has rebelled against God. You have gone your own way, ‘like sheep have gone astray’, choosing your own life independent of God.[5]

Romans 1:18-25 clearly shows the reality of man’s sinfulness. We have exchanged truth for a lie, God’s glory for our own self-glory, and the Creator for created things. And for this cosmic rebellion we need to turn, turn, turn from our sins![6] We need to turn away from sin to the one who can forgive us. We need to turn from death to life. After all, but for being ‘made alive in Christ’, we’re ‘dead in…[our] trespasses and sins’.[7]

The reality of sin means we deserve God’s punishment. We deserve what the Bible calls hell, originally prepared for the Devil and his followers – and is the cosmic prison for all who rebel against God.[8] Jesus, more than anyone else, talks about it, so we cannot ignore it.

But the good news is Jesus has saved us from that fate because he’s tasted it for us.[9] However, in order for us not to be treated as our sins deserve – we need to repent. We need to turn from our sin to Jesus and ask for his forgiveness.[10]

Repentance and forgiveness as ‘gospel responses’ are evident throughout the gospel messages in Acts. Here’s a flavour of some:

Acts 2:38: ‘And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’.

Acts 5:31: ‘God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins’.

And believe…

Forgiveness is also spoken of in terms of believing too. Peter, speaking about Jesus in Acts 10:43 says, ‘To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name’.

If repenting is turning, believing is trusting. It is not just about believing in the facts of the Gospel – Satan believes Jesus died and rose again – and although it makes him shudder,[11] simple knowledge is not enough. You need to trust in what Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and return achieves for us: namely trusting in Jesus’ victory over sin, Satan and death, leading to our glorious salvation!

…In Jesus

So, we need to believe that the Triune God has saved us through the life, death, resurrection and return of Jesus!

One word to sum up both ‘repenting and believing’ is faith. Faith is trusting and turning to Jesus, because the object of our faith must be in the one who saves us. Our faith must be placed in Him.[12]

After all, as we’ve said above, we’re all sinners, we ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). But Jesus the sinless one, does not fall short. In fact, he not only meets the standard of God’s glory but is the glory of God.[13] Therefore, there is only one Saviour. Salvation is in Jesus alone.[14] He is our only hope. Our faith must be placed in Him.

…As Lord and Saviour

So our response is to come to Jesus because – yes – he is our saviour.[15] He saves us. We trust in his saving work. But the Gospel calls us to not only trust Him as Saviour but turn to Him as Lord.

This is the more difficult part of our initial response. We have to give up control and independence and bow the knee to King Jesus. After all, one day, willingly or not, that is what will happen: every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord and bow the knee to Him![16]

Peter makes the Lordship of Jesus clear when he’s preaching the gospel. He says in Acts 2:36: ‘Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified’.

Jesus even calls himself ‘Lord’ in John 13:13 and often receives this title from his disciples.[17]

Paul says you will be saved if you confess ‘Jesus is Lord’.[18] We also see this in response to the Philippian jailor’s question ‘what must I do to be saved?’, Paul replies, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus’.[19]

So, Christians call Jesus both Lord and Saviour. Paul makes this clear in Philippians 3:20: ‘But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ’. Peter also makes this clear-cut in his second letter when he uses the expression ‘Lord and Saviour’ four times. For example, he ends his letter: ‘But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen’.[20]

Jesus is Lord = Jesus as God

What is also crucial to emphasise when announcing this gospel, is that when we declare Jesus as Lord, we are declaring him as the Son of God, the second person of the Trinity. He is no other than God himself come in the flesh.[21]

This has already been made clear when we referenced Philippians 2:10-11. Earlier on in the chapter we read of Jesus giving up the delights of heaven to die on the cross.[22] Then we read that ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’. Paul is alluding to Isaiah 45:22-23 which reads:

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance’. Without a blink Paul, along with the early church,[23] equates a passage that is talking about God alone, with Jesus.

We see this in the Gospels most clearly when Thomas confesses ‘My Lord and my God!’[24] After all Jesus is the one who is the Word with God from the beginning, creating all things![25] He is God![26]

So what should our response to the Gospel be?

Repent and believe in Jesus as Lord and Saviour!

But that’s not all as we’ll see in our final post…

[1] Exodus 33:17-23.

[2] Mark 1:15

[3] Acts 2:38.

[4] Acts 17:30

[5] Isaiah 53:6

[6] See for example Ezekiel 33:11.

[7] See Ephesians 2:1-5!

[8] Matthew 25:41. This judgement in connection with the Gospel is also found in 1 Peter 4:17-18.

[9] The language of exile and curse suggests this – see for example Mark 15:34 and Galatians 3:13.

[10] Luke 24:47 and Ephesians 1:7.

[11] James 2:19.

[12] Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 3:9.

[13] See part one of this series and Scripture references such as John 1:14 and 2 Corinthians 4:4.

[14] Acts 4:12.

[15] See for example references like Luke 2:11; Acts 5:31; John 4:42; Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 3:18.

[16] Philippians 2:5-11 Cf. Isaiah 45:22-23. By then, for some, it will be too late for salvation but people will realise that Jesus is Lord, even if they do not trust Him as Lord.

[17] See for example Luke 5:8 or John 20:28.

[18] Romans 10:9

[19] Acts 16:30-31.

[20] 2 Peter 3:18. See also 2 Peter 1:11, 2:20 and 3:2.

[21] John 1:1-18.

[22] Philippians 2:5-9

[23] Paul is likely quoting an early song sung by the early church.

[24] John 20:28

[25] John 1:1-3

[26] For a thorough discussion on the theme Jesus is God, see the book Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ by Robert Bowman Jr. and Ed Komoszewski which uses the acronym HANDS – Jesus shares the same honours as God, the same attributes as God, the same name as God, the same deeds as God and the same seat as God!

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