What is the Gospel?

The Greek word translated “gospel” literally means “good news.”  The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ.

            What is this good news? 

            Before this good news can be fully understood, we first need to understand some bad news.

            In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1.)  God is the Creator of everything.  Nothing that exists has come into being apart from Him (Jn 1:3.)  As the Creator, God has the right to make the rules.

            Why would God create the heavens and the earth? He created all things for His glory (Rom 11:36, Rev 4:11.)  This means that God created all things to reflect something of His character.  Everything was made by God to show forth to all creation who He is and what He is like.

            But all human beings have failed to fulfill this purpose.  We are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23, Is 53:6.)

            What does it mean that we are sinners?  It means that we fail to live by the standard which God expects of us.  It means that we fail to reflect His character in our lives.

            What does God expect of us?  Jesus sums up God’s expectations for us in Matthew 22:37-40

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV) – 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

            Do you love God with every aspect of your being… all the time… with all the strength you can muster?  Of course not.  None of us do.  We all put things before God.  The Bible calls this idolatry… and it is sin.

            Do you love other people as much as you love yourself?  All the time?  Without fail?  Of course not.  None of us do.  We all tend toward selfishness.  None of us love all the people we encounter as much as we love ourselves.  We are sinners.

            And God is holy.  To be holy is to be separate from anything that is common or mundane or polluted.  It is to be separated from anything that is sinful and wicked.  God is holy… and not just a little bit holy… He is infinitely holy (Is 6:3.)   There is no sin in Him whatsoever (I Jn 1:5.)  His eyes are too pure to look upon sin (Hab 1:13.)  He detests sin in every form.

Psalm 5:4-5 (ESV) – 4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.

            Notice how much God detests sin.  He hates sin… and He hates all who commit sin.  He tolerates no sin in His presence; otherwise He would no longer be separated from sin.  He would no longer be holy if He allowed sin to exist in His presence.

            Scripture also teaches that God is righteous; meaning He always does what is right.  God hates sin.  It is an offense against His holiness and, therefore, as a righteous Judge, He must punish sin.  If God did not punish sin, then He would no longer be righteous, because He would not being doing what is right.

            This creates a problem for us because all have sinned (Rom 3:23.)  Without exception, every human being has sinned against God.

This means we are in trouble.  This means we should expect to be punished.

What is the punishment for sin?

Romans 6:23 (ESV) – 23 “For the wages of sin is death…” 

The consequence for sin is death.  Not just physical death, but spiritual death.  The Bible calls this “hell” and Jesus speaks of it as a place of eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt 25:41.)

            This is what we deserve as sinners and this is what we will receive from the holy and righteous God of the universe if our sin is not forgiven. 

This is the bad news.

            The gospel is the good news that there is hope for sinful people like us and this hope is found in Jesus Christ alone. 

            How can a holy and righteous God forgive the sin of people like us?

            Only through the work of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (ESV) – 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

            Christ died for our sins.  These are beautiful words.  God’s righteousness demands that there must be punishment for sin.  So God, in His grace and love, sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, who died in our place.  He bore the punishment we deserve for our sin when He suffered and died on the cross.  The debt we owe God was paid in full when Jesus died on the cross for our sin.

            But He did not remain dead.  He rose again the third day.  He rose victorious over sin and hell and death.

            He suffered the punishment we deserve and He offers us forgiveness of sin and eternal life if we will repent of our sins and trust in Him (Mk 1:15, Acts 3:19.)

            What does it mean to repent of our sin?  It means to see yourself as a sinner and to hate your sin and to turn away from your sin to God.  It means to acknowledge that you are a sinner and to cry out to God to save you from the judgment to come.

            What does it mean to trust in Jesus?  It means to believe that He is the Son of God who died for your sins and rose again on the third day and to place all of your hope of eternal life in Him.  It means to rely upon Jesus and Jesus alone to save you from the punishment which you deserve for your sins.

            The gospel is the good news that God provides salvation for sinful men and women who deserve the punishment of hell for all eternity through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            The apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15:3 says that this is of “first importance.”  Nothing is more important than knowing and trusting in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

            Do you understand the gospel of Jesus Christ?

            Do you believe the gospel of Jesus Christ?

            There is no other way to be saved from the wrath of God to come (Jn 14:6, Acts 4:12.)

            I urge you to turn from your sins and trust in Jesus Christ today.

 

 

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