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What is the Gospel? Print E-mail

Maybe you’ve wondered if it really matters what you believe, as long as you're sincere. However, Jesus' own teaching, if we take it seriously, effectively prevents us from thinking like that. His words were unmistakably clear: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) That, along with everything else Jesus said and did, makes it essential that we correctly understand both His teaching and the significance of His life and death. Our pastor has often been asked to explain the gospel. This is his response to the question:

What is the Gospel?

1. God and Creation
In order to understand the gospel, we must begin at the beginning. The first book of the Bible, the book of Genesis, teaches us that God is the Creator of all things. The very first verse in the Bible tells us: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He spoke and everything we see and know came into existence. We, as human beings, were made in God’s image and made to bring Him praise and glory. God placed Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, in a garden and gave them everything they needed. He also gave them one command: You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for the day you eat of it you shall surely die (Genesis 2:16-17). Of course if we just started the story there we might protest and ask: ‘What gives God the right to give them a command?’ Yet, since we know that He created the man and the woman, we know that He has rights over them as their Creator. So, how did they respond to God’s command?

2. Man and the Fall
The very next chapter of the Bible tells us that Adam and Eve did eat of the tree that God told them not to and because of their disobedience, God cursed them (see Genesis 3). The Bible calls this the Fall of man and teaches that every human being, save One, has been born as sinners against Almighty God (Romans 1-3, esp. 3:23). If we are honest with ourselves, we must recognize the fact that we too are sinners and that we too have not followed God, but have rebelled and gone our own way. The reality that all men have sinned and rebelled against God introduces the great dilemma of the Bible: How can a holy God, who can have nothing to do with sin and wickedness, love rebellious humanity? What real hope can we as sinners have?

3. Christ and Redemption
The dilemma is not answered until the pages of the New Testament. In the opening chapters of Matthew (the first book of the New Testament) we are told of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, who has come to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach us that Christ came and lived a perfect life. He was perfectly obedient in every way to the Father. The Bible also teaches us that Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. In other words, even though He was perfect and did nothing wrong, He was willing to die on the cross and face the judgment that every sinner deserved, namely the wrath of Almighty God. Thus, Christ took my place on the cross and took the judgment that I deserved. And we know that the Father accepted this sacrifice for sins because three days later He raised Christ from the dead. This is the glorious good news of the gospel. Christ has defeated all my enemies: sin, Satan, and death. Not only that, but Christ, by dying on the cross and being raised on the third day, has made it possible for God to justly forgive people of their sins and have a relationship with them (Romans 3:21-26). Through Christ, the dilemma has been solved.

4. Response
The only remaining issue is how should we respond to such good news? I mean, since Christ died does that mean that everybody is alright, and none of us need to worry about judgment or forgiveness? No, the Bible makes it clear that only those who repent of (turn away from) their sins and believe in Jesus Christ will be saved from judgment (Acts 2:37-41, Romans 10:5-13, Galatians 2:15-16). Only the person who gives up trying to do things his own way (repentance) and becomes a follower of Jesus Christ (belief) will be prepared to face death and judgment. I encourage people to think of it this way: you are a sinner, you have rebelled against God and gone your own way. Someone has to pay for your sins and there are only two possibilities: either you can pay for them by spending eternity in hell, or you can repent of your sins and believe in Christ so that he can pay for them on the cross. Those are the only two options. Thus, I plead with you, repent of your sins and believe in Christ. Give up following your own ways and become a follower of Jesus Christ. Get involved in a local Church that faithfully teaches the Scriptures so that you can be taught and discipled as a Christian. Follow hard after Christ, seeking His glory alone, until He calls you home or comes back for His Church.

~ William Marshall ~

For Further Reading:

Quest for Joy by John Piper... Finding happiness where you might least expect it

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 29 April 2006 )

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