Few places in all of scripture are clearer on the gospel than Isaiah is in chapters 52 and 53. I personally nearly always go there first when explaining it because it’s so clear. Other favorites of mine like Romans 5 are rich and good tools in evangelism, but as I lay out a few observations of Isaiah 52 and 53 I think you will start to understand why I prefer the gospel of Isaiah.
Quickly, what is the gospel? Is the incarnation of Christ the gospel? What about Christ’s sinless life? The resurrection, is it the gospel? What about our repentance? What about our faith? Are any of the above things the gospel? They are not.
The incarnation of Christ is miraculous, but it doesn’t save us. Without it the gospel wouldn’t be possible, but it is not the gospel.
Christ sinless life… Is His sinlessness the gospel? Praise Him for it, because without a sinless sacrifice their is no salvation. It also evidences that Jesus is Immanuel. God with us. But Christ’s life is not the gospel.
The resurrection? God showed all of mankind and the angels that Christ’s gospel was approved by the resurrection. We can trust that those who believe the gospel will rise with Him, but Christ’s rising is not the gospel.
What about man’s response, or reaction to the gospel? Repentance and faith? Without turning from sin to trust in Him a person can not be saved. Of course faith and repentance are more than that. Simply trusting in God or even Jesus can not save a person if they do not believe the gospel. Putting your faith in Jesus, yet not trusting the gospel is still damning.
So what is the gospel?
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And byHis stripes we are healed.
6 …And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
8 …For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
11 …By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many,
For He shall bear their iniquities.
12 …He poured out His soul unto death,
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.
The gospel of Isaiah is not complicated, nor it the gospel else where in scripture. Christ, Jesus, and here “My Servant” is the one who acted. The gospel is what He did. He was wounded, bruised, chastised, striped, burdened, stricken, put, made an offering, justified, grieved, poured out, numbered and made intercession all for one cause. He went through all this for His goal. This cause was salvation from our transgression, iniquities, sins, our grief and our death. To bear our iniquity, for our peace, to justify many, to pour out His soul for our death, and make intercession for transgressors. His soul was made and offering for our sin.
The gospel is what Christ did for mankind so that we would not have to suffer the penalty of our sin. The pleasure that God would have had in bruising us, justly punishing our sin, Christ took in our place. He took God’s wrath so that we would not have to. This is the gospel. This is the love of God toward man. While we were yet still sinners Christ died for us, as Romans 5 explains.
Your repentance is an idol if your faith is in it and not the gospel. Believing the right facts is not saving faith, but trusting in Christ’s sacrifice. Saving faith is simply a response to what Christ has already done for you. Man’s response of repentance and faith is the effect the gospel has on a person. A changed life. You believe that He bore your sins and depend upon His work on the cross for your salvation, nothing in yourself. You rend your heart, because He is so good. You mourn over your sin, because He is so longsuffering. You turn from your sin to follow Him, because He is worthy!