WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

The Good News About God: Our Creator

The Bible is clear that God is the creator and in control of Everything (Gen 1:1, Psalms 24:1). You must wonder what causes the sun to rise, what has given us the ability to think and reason, what allows us to feel emotions towards those who are hurt, or why we even desire beauty. It is clear that God has written his conscience on our hearts and we enjoy his blessings everyday as he announces his rightful place as creator and controller over all that we know and see. God also desires for his creation, us, to be holy and pure. This is because God is perfectly holy (1 John 1:5, Matt 5:48). This is why God cannot be in the presence of sin; sin is anything and everything that separates us from the character and nature of God. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were in perfect unity with God’s holiness and glory. This is how God intended us to live amidst His presence, and as any perfect father would love His children, God gave clear commands to obey so that His created beings could live in His presence of holiness. However, Adam and Eve were not able to flee temptation when they were challenged by Satan. Satan was formerly God’s angel, but in his pride he wanted to be worshiped over God. Therefore, Satan tempted Adam and Eve because he wanted to pull them away from their worship of God and His presence. Satan’s plan is always the same, to make us sin and worship him instead of God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit from the tree, they now had to face the consequences of their sin. No matter how many things they could have done to counter the sin they committed, they would never be able to achieve perfect obedience. The Bible is clear that God requires perfect obedience to His law and commands, that if we kept every law and yet stumbled in one place we would be guilty of it all (James 2:10). This creates a big problem if we still want to be the presence of God because Adam now imputed his sin to each descendant of his. Sin has continually pass down through his seed and separated us as unrighteous and unworthy to ever be in the presence of God.

The Bad News About Man: Totally Depraved

Now as God’s creation, we see that the Bible clearly addresses our rebellious nature to break God’s law and be completely unrighteous (Rom 3:10, 23). The Bible is clear that our sin deserves an eternal penalty of separation and death as a result of this unrighteous and unjust behavior we demonstrate towards our holy and perfect creator (Rom 6:23). All other religions or belief systems sell you on a system of working towards something that results in being saved from this depraved reality and suffering in this world. However, the Bible is extremely clear that we cannot save ourselves by good works (Eph 2:8-9). We can only be saved according to God’s mercy, which is God not giving us the judgment that we deserve; and according to God’s grace, which is God’s blessing that we don’t deserve (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5).

The Good News About Christ: Our Savior

God’s mercy and grace were beautifully displayed through Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear that Christ came to the earth incarnated as fully God and as a sinless man (Col 2:9, John 1:14). The Bible says in John 1 that Christ came in the flesh that God’s glory, grace, and truth would be revealed. How did this happen? It happened by the birth of the Virgin Mary, where she became pregnant from the Holy Spirit, and not from the sinful seed of man. Christ had to be born of a virgin so that the imputed sin of Adam would not be a part of his flesh. The virgin birth is how Christ could live on earth in the flesh, but with none of the sin of the flesh imputed or given to him. His seed was from God and the virgin birth was God’s divine way of bringing Christ to live on the earth perfectly sinless, God’s way of restoring us to be in His presence. God demonstrated this love for us by sending Christ to die on the cross to pay sin’s penalty, the penalty that we deserved (Rom 5:8). When Christ (God in the flesh) died on the cross, all the sin of history was poured on Christ so that we wouldn’t have to face the judgment of that sin. Not only did Christ die for our sin, but the Bible is also clear that Jesus rose from the grave three days later and is alive today (1 Cor 15:4). This is so important because we see that God not only sent Christ to die for our sins, but He raised from death in victory over sin forever! We refer to this death and victory over sin as imputed righteousness or justification because Christ who knew no sin became sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21). That should blow our mind! To think that through Christ we can become the righteousness of God: both judicially, by making us right in standing (2 Cor 5:21); and relationally, being brought to God and alive in the Spirit of God (1 Peter 3:18).

Now, I want to make sure you are understanding everything I have just said about God’s plan for Salvation. That God is perfect in his attributes and as a result we are called to be perfect in his presence. That we are inherently sinful and could never do anything of our own works to obtain salvation or regeneration of our Spirit. That God sent Jesus Christ, who represented the fullness of the deity of God in bodily form, to be crushed for sins penalty, but never sinned himself. That Christ was the substitute for the penalty we deserve, which is why theologians call it a substitutionary atonement! That Christ’s death on the cross restores us to God, both judicially and relationally.

The Good News About Saving Faith: Knowledge, Intellectual Assent, Regeneration, & Personal Trust (Belief)

Now if you understand and have knowledge, and even intellectually agree with what the Bible says about God, Man, and Christ,  then you need to place your faith in Christ. In order to be saved, you must repent (change your mind from trusting in anything else) and place your faith in Christ alone. Salvation is only possible through the initial repentance (metanoia) of the regenerative work of God the Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13; John 3:5). Having faith in Christ is not something that’s simply added on to our life, but it becomes our new life. When we have saving faith we give our lives over to His Lordship, and we become slaves of Christ (1 Cor 7:22). We must repent of our sins and anything else that we have clung to for salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God to all who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Christ from the dead (Romans 10:9). When we confess that Jesus is Lord, we confess His Lordship over each part of our life and learn to repent from all that dishonors Him. As we live after God in faith, we learn to count the cost of all that were leaving behind, continually denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily to follow Christ (Luke 9:23). When we repent, we turn from every wicked way and thought and turn to God who has mercy and is the only God who can abundantly pardons our sin (Isaiah 55:7). We find no need to justify our actions or our need for earthly possessions, and turn from any faith in our own works to be saved.  Our life becomes solely fixed on what God has for us in his abundant grace. We place our faith in Christ as the Lord of our life who is in charge of all and faith in Christ as the only Savior from our sins who is alive today (Rom 10:9-10). You must ask yourself, ‘do I have this salvation.’ Do I long to be reconciled to God? Do I understand the problem with my sin, the relationship I need with Christ, and the beauty of being made right before a holy God? The Bible says, “Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2). Do you know today, that you have God’s salvation? Do you feel assurance from God that you are saved? Today you can trust in God alone, rely on His saving grace and no longer fear death. In other words, we are saved by grace alone (Sola Gratia), through faith alone (Sola Fide), in Christ alone (Solus Christus), according to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura), to the glory of God alone (Soli Deo Gloria). I pray that you take this seriously and call upon the Lord in Faith and Repentance. Take this seriously and surrender to the Lord. Come and speak to any of us here if you want to consider this further.