The word gospel comes from the Greek word evangelion, which essentially means “good news” or “good report.” But before we get into the good news we have to talk about the bad news, because the good news without the bad news is the wrong news.
Though God created us with perfect value, dignity and worth, we decided to rebel against God by sinning against him. Paul makes that clear when he says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We are all sinners by nature and choice. As a result, we are separated from God. Paul continues when he says, “For the wages of sin are death” (Romans 6:23). The punishment for sin is a just sentence to the conscientiousness torments of hell for an eternity — a place that Jesus talks about in the Bible more than anyone. God is holy and just and hates sin because it contradicts everything he is, yet you and I are filled with sin. Yes, God is love, but love is not God. Other attributes to the God of the Bible include wrath and anger and he feels that way toward sin and unrepentant sinners.
We are sinners. We deserve hell. On our own, there is nothing we can do to reconcile ourselves back to God.
The good news is God’s response to the bad news.
Perhaps the clearest description of the gospel comes from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 where Paul writes:
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. “
In his love, mercy, and grace, God came into human history as the God-man, Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the life we could not live, died the death we deserve to die, and has earned the gift we cannot earn. Though tempted in every way as we are, Jesus never sinned. To make payment for our sin, God sent Jesus to die a horrible death by way of crucifixion. Jesus died on the cross, in our place, and for our sins. On the cross, Jesus bore God’s wrath. We rightly deserve that wrath but Jesus substituted himself on the cross for us to remove the sins for those who trust in him. Not only that, Jesus also rose from death conquering Satan, sickness, hell, and wrath.
When someone responds to Jesus’ finished work by turning from sin and placing their faith in him, God responds to that faith by thinking of that person’s sins as forgiven — past, present, and future — and by thinking of Christ’s perfection belonging to that person. God declares them righteous in his sight, frees them from his wrath, adopts them into his heavenly family, and secures for them a place in heaven. All of this on the basis of what Jesus has already done and nothing we do! The work is finished, our job is to place our full trust in Jesus.
“Salvation is received, not achieved.” – Tim Keller
It’s not advice. It’s not a suggestion. It’s not self-help tips.
It’s news. It’s an epic love story. It’s the gospel.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:15
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