The Gospel is about more than just our sins because the Gospel is about the whole person. We are invited to announce the good news of God's liberation—freeing the oppressed, healing the wounded, feeding, clothing, and loving the poor—and announcing God's restorative justice. This is the gospel.
Many of us have believed that when Jesus references eternal life in John 3:16, he talking about the future. Not just the future, but the future after our death.Yet, Jesus wasn’t dead when we invited Nicodemus to be born again. His death as it were, hadn’t yet paid for Nicodemus’ sins, yet Jesus is still inviting Nicodemus to surrender, to be born again. Is it possible that the Gospel covers more than our sins? Is it possible that when Jesus is speaking about eternal life he isn’t just talking about the afterlife. I would argue, “Yes.” He is talking about life right now. He is inviting us, just like he invited Nicodemus, to surrender, to come to him to learn how to live.
Like Nicodemus, since we really didn’t understand what Jesus was inviting us into, we decided to simplify it. We have reduce the Gospel from its announcement of Good News and turned it into a Gospel of Sin Management. While we have correctly identified the problem, our rebellion, our solution doesn’t fix the problem. In our efforts to make sense of what Jesus was inviting Nicodemus to do, be born again, we have mistakenly robbed the Gospel of its fullness and its goodness.