Some thoughts on what the gospel is, and what it isn’t:
The gospel is not that we’ve been given a second chance to live as we should have done the first time around — only this time with Christ as our model. The Christian life is not to try to copy Christ in order to please God as he did. This “gospel” leads to a lack of assurance when failure comes, and spiritual pride when I feel I’m doing well.
Neither result leads to us to laying hold of Christ himself. And if I were ever to be “successful” in obtaining righteousness and acceptance from God this way it would a righteousness that is outside of Christ. In my desire to serve God under this “gospel” I would actually be rejecting the cross.
These are both law-based gospels.
They lead to insecurity and guilt, and/or judgementalism and pride. If you think along these lines you’ll probably swing between the two extremes depending on how well you think you’re doing.
The true gospel is something else:
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith inJesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”