We believe that the gospel is the only foundation for Christian life and practice. It is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16-17), and the source of life lived “by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
What is the gospel? The gospel is both the bad and good news that “You are more sinful and wicked than you ever dared to believe, yet you can be more loved and accepted than you ever dared to hope, because Jesus Christ lived and died in your place.”
The gospel is the news of God the Creator of all things, perfect and holy, who requires holiness of His creatures. It is the news of human beings, created in God’s image, but lost in rebellion against God and standing under His judgment. It is the news of Jesus the Christ, God Himself in human form, who was born into the world to live a perfect and holy life in our place, and who then suffered and died on the cross, taking the wrath of God that we deserved. It is the news that because of Jesus, reconciliation and relationship with God is possible. We who are sinners can be considered holy and called God’s children, fully accepted into His Kingdom—and into His family.
This gospel—good news—is found only in Jesus. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth us all our sin and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith alone” (WSC 33, italics added). Only in Jesus do we find the righteousness that we need. Only in Jesus do we find our identity as human beings created in God’s image and redeemed by His Son.
The Scripture is our only source for understanding and growth in the gospel, and as such, holds a primary place in the life of the church. (2 Tim. 3:16, WSC)