Jeremy Myers, of GES fame but who has a great new blog, wrote an article for the last Journal called The Gospel is More Than “Faith Alone in Christ Alone,” where he states something very intriguing,
“[i]t can easily be proved from Scripture that the gospel is more than faith alone in Christ alone. Much more.(The quote he uses here is from an article called “euangelion” by Freidrich, from Kittel.)
…It includes everything from the ‘eschatological expectation, the proclamation of the kingdom of God, … the introduction of the gentiles into salvation history, the rejection of the ordinary religion of cult and Law.’”
Jeremy's article has a lot of helpful detail. He shows that there are either multiple gospel messages (about future reign and present empowerment for instance) or better, that there is one broad NT gospel which covers a lot of territory. Very helpfully, he includes a chart that demonstrates 50 truths, with some overlap, that the NT includes in the definition of the gospel: Jesus born in Bethlehem (Luke 2:10), Mary’s virgin conception (Luke 1:19), the coming baptism of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:18) Entering God’s Rest (Hebrews 4:2) Sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 1:10), etc. The article and the chart are worth reading through.
For a while now I’ve been mulling over what the relationship is between the gospel, and the offer of eternal life, and the call to discipleship, and the New Covenant, with the hope of getting a more crisp definition of each element. So in that spirit, the following definitions are tentative and I’ve included scripture more as examples than evidence…
(1) The New Covenant is the eternal promise made by God to Israel that enables and empowers the kingdom.
Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9)(2) The Offer of Eternal Life is how the kingdom is populated. (Basically a rephrase of what Hodges says)
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. (Hebrews 13)
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3(3) The Gospel is the announcement of the arrival and future arrival of the kingdom or some aspect of it.
In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.'" (Matthew 3)(4) The Call to Discipleship is how to live in it.
And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Luke 6)(5) The Call to Repentance is how to launch or reenter a kingdom-ready lifestyle.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1)