Define the gospel. As a long time believer in Jesus Christ you would expect that to be a simple request. Yet many believers struggle to put into words the essence of the Gospel, especially into understandable words.
With the help of my husband (guys check out his blog here) we have attempted to explain the Gospel, simply, honestly, and with the hope you will consider how this truth affects you and your loved ones.
- Always start with God. The gospel is what God has done for us, to extend His grace to us, to bring glory to Himself. God is holy, perfect, righteous, pure, and just. We are not any of those things. Therein lays the problem. God will not tolerate our sin.
- Us: We are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), created to be in a relationship with him, but sin separates us. Every person sins (Romans 3:23) and the penalty of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Our problem just got bigger.
- Solution -Jesus. Jesus is God’s son (Luke 3:22), is fully God (Titus 2:13) and became fully man (1 John 4:2, 2 John 1:7). He is the exact representation of God (Hebrews 1:3). He is sinless (1 Peter 2:22). He died in our place as the only perfect sacrifice, paying the penalty of our sin and absorbing the full wrath of God (1 Peter 2:24). He was forsaken so we don’t have to be forsaken.
- Faith. God requires faith that Jesus’ death on our behalf is all that is needed to declare us clean before God (John 3:16-17). Then we act on that faith by living according to His Word (James 2:14-17).
- Victory. After he was dead three days Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:39) by the power of God accomplishing full victory over sin and death. He extends the invitation to all individuals to accept his sacrifice on their behalf. I trust that despite the guilt of my sin God will declare my payment has been made in full by Jesus and I will be able to enter into eternity with Him.
- Help. God sends His Holy Spirit to live inside each individual that accepts Jesus’ sacrifice. It is by the power of the Spirit that I can obey God, seek forgiveness, and live a transformed life no longer defined by my sin (John 14:16-17).
- Future: Christ will return for his followers! Until then, we live in anticipation of His return and in anticipation of reigning with Him in glory forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Life goes on forever. Not physical life, of course, but our spiritual life. Once our physical life comes to an end, all who die in an unforgiven and sinful state do not enter into Heaven, but instead spend eternity separated from God in torment. The Good News is that Jesus solves the problem that we cannot solve on our own. It is called Good News because without it, we have no hope.
I cannot earn God’s acceptance. I cannot be good enough. Gaining God’s forgiveness for my sin requires a payment, it requires death. Either my death, both physically and spiritually resulting in eternity apart from God or Jesus’ death, which is already done and already victorious. I need to confess my need and accept the payment made on my behalf.
This is the Gospel. This is the Good News of Jesus. This is the central message that God has given us to pass to our kids, and their kids, and on and on and on. It is a multi-generational message of Good News not meant to be kept to yourself.
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:56-57
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