Issue at Hand, January 2024: What Is the Gospel?

What better way to begin the new calendar year of Beacon Lights than to start with the central message of the Christian faith? No matter how familiar the gospel might be to us, it remains the single most important topic to know, to understand, and to share with others who don’t know Christ as their Lord. This truly is the “good news” that stands above any other message we can communicate to others. 

As we consider the content of the gospel message, it’s good to remember what we mean. While the word is sometimes used broadly to refer to the entirety of God’s word (as in 1 Tim. 1:10–11), what is intended in this month’s issue is its narrower use. Simply put, this narrow use of the word “gospel” is the good news “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (v. 15).1 This means that Christ is the focal point of the gospel and his saving work on the cross is the heart of its message. 

Much of the content in this issue of Beacon Lights is intended to round out this truth. Our feature articles address four key aspects of the gospel. Together these articles will explain Christ as the object of the gospel, preaching as the means by which the gospel is proclaimed, repentance and faith as the calling of the gospel message, and finally, the warning of God for those who hear the gospel and reject it in unbelief. This warning needs to be heard in our country today, as the heart of the gospel has been largely neglected by many churches and individuals who associate themselves with Christianity but have left “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). None of this ought to leave us without hope, however. The devotional this month, which is focused on the “light” of the gospel, is good evidence that God is faithful to his word and will never leave or forsake those who live by faith. 

This year we look forward to a new series of church history articles by Prof. Doug Kuiper and also welcome Jacob Vander Kolk as a regular contributor to the devotional section of Beacon Lights. Thanks be to God for providing us with the opportunity to spread the gospel through printed word and the means to continue with this work as we begin the year afresh!