What is the Gospel?

The Gospel or “Good News” is the heart of Christianity, the message of the Bible, by which Christians are “saved” if we hold fast to it in faith (1 Cor 15:1-2). It can be understood simply under 4 headings: God, Man, Christ, and Response.

GOD

The gospel begins with God. The Bible starts this way: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1). It tells us that God is eternal, outside the bounds of time, and He is perfectly holy, which means without sin (Rev 4:8). Because He created all things, and by His will all things exist, He is worthy to receive all glory, honor, power, and worship (Rev 4:11). In His own image, God also created humanity, blessing us to rule the earth under His authority (Gen 1:27-28) and to enjoy knowing Him in relationship forever (John 17:3). In sum, everything was “very good” (Gen 1:31) when God entered into a covenant with the first human, Adam. In this covenant Adam was free to choose to trust and obey God’s Word and enjoy eternal life as God intended OR to doubt and disobey His Word and face death and eternal separation from Him (Gen 2:17). Which brings us to Mankind.

MAN

Sadly, the Bible tells us that the first humans, Adam and Eve, freely chose to disobey God, rejecting His rightful rule, and rebelling against His Word. And so, sin entered the world (Gen 3:6), the impact of which is felt even to this day, as every human offspring since then has inherited that very same sin nature (Rom 5:19). Consider dear reader: is anyone truly righteous? Left to ourselves, does anyone even seek for God? The Bible gives us the tragic answer: “no, not one” (Rom 3:10-11), for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Yes, we who were created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, choose instead to live our lives independent of Him, disobeying and rejecting the God who made us. It is no wonder the Bible goes on to depict a world far from “very good”, but rather full of evil, suffering, pain, and brokenness. This is the mess we have made, in our lives and in the world, and God cares about what we have done. For He cannot allow sin to go on without judgement (Heb 9:27), His justice demands that we are held accountable (Heb 4:13). And so, the Bible tells us: “the wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23). Death! God gives humanity what we have asked for: an eternity separated from Him, where we will face the just consequences of our sin (John 3:36). But, in the midst of this most dreadful reality, dear reader, there is yet hope (Gen 3:15).

CHRIST

God so loved the world that He gave His own Son Jesus Christ (John 3:16), fully God and fully man, to come to earth and live the holy, sinless life that Adam, Eve, and none of us could. Indeed, this is what Jesus did, obeying God’s Word in full, living in perfect righteousness, truly deserving eternal life! And yet, because of God’s love for us, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). For us! He who “knew no sin” bore our sin (2 Cor 5:21), suffered in our place on a cross we deserved, the righteous substituted for the unrighteous, all so that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). You see, as Jesus hung on that cross, He bore God’s wrath for every sin committed by every person who would ever believe. Jesus humbly paid it all! What’s more, the earliest eye-witnesses delivered to us as of first importance “that Christ died for our sins…that he was buried (and) that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4). Resurrection! God accepted Christ’s sacrifice (or atonement) for sin, and by His power, raised Jesus from the dead, to show the world that eternal life was possible once again, for any who would come to none other than Jesus alone (John 5:39-40).

RESPONSE

Dear reader, the good news of the gospel is that sinners like you and I can be reconciled to God! But how do we obtain right-standing (or relationship) with Him? Can we earn it by doing good works? By no means! For we are saved by God’s sovereign grace alone, through His gift of faith in Christ (Eph 2:8-9). Jesus himself commands everyone everywhere: “REPENT and BELIEVE in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). By repenting or turning from our sins and confessing them to God, the Bible promises that we can be forgiven in Christ (1 John 1:9). By believing or trusting in the good news of Jesus, we can be assured that we will be saved from eternal death and granted eternal life with God instead. Moreover, see what God does when you respond to the gospel with repentance and faith: His Holy Spirit dwells within you (Eph 1:13), you are accepted into the family of God (the church), and your heart has been regenerated by God himself (John 1:12-13)! New desires will awaken, causing you to store up God’s Word in your heart that you might not sin against Him (Ps 119:11), causing you to submit your life to the rule of Jesus, keeping His Word as you await His return (Rev 22:7).

Dear reader, if the gospel convicts your heart this day to repent and believe, without further delay, here is a simple prayer you can say to God right now:

Dear God, You are holy, and the eternal creator of all things, worthy of glory and worship. I am a sinner who has rebelled against you and disobeyed your Word again and again. I deserve to be separated from you forever, I need forgiveness. Thank you for loving me by sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins and rise from the dead to grant me eternal life with You! Help me to repent and believe in the gospel, to trust and submit to Christ and His Word from this day forth. Amen!

If this was your prayer, we at SCF would love to hear from you, to go over the gospel, answer any questions you may have, and pray with you. We would also like to gift you with a Bible if you do not have one and connect you to the church family, including a fellow believer who could walk with you as you begin this life-changing journey!

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