What Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

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Image by Mario Rottonara. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

Last edited on 7/Oct/2020

The Bible’s Answer

Introduction

The gospel is the most important message anyone can ever hear: firstly, because it is relevant to all of us, and secondly, because choosing to accept, reject, or ignore it has eternal consequences. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and resurrected on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1–4), so that all who believe in this will be forgiven by God of all their sins and have eternal life in Heaven (Romans 3:21–26). So how is the gospel relevant to us?

Sin

The gospel is relevant to all of us because every human has sinned. In other words, we have all disobeyed God’s laws and commandments and done what is evil in his eyes. The Bible says:

For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. (Romans 3:9b–12)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

God’s Law

God has given us his Law for our own good. When we follow it we do good towards God and his creation, but when we disobey it we harm others and ourselves, and draw farther away from God. Here are some examples of God’s commandments:

“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. (Exodus 20:12–16

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgement.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21–22

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27–28)

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:17)

God expects us to live up to his standards. Because no one has followed God’s commandments perfectly, and because we have done wrong against God and each other, we are all sinners, and consequently, our relationship with God is broken.

Judgement

God is a holy and righteous judge. He loves justice and hates evil. One day we will all stand before God and he will judge us according to all of our thoughts, words, and deeds. The Bible says:

on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:16

I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36–37

For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God; … 12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10b, 12)

Because God is a God of justice, he must punish sinners who do evil by breaking his commandments. Will you avoid God’s punishment on the day of judgement, when you have to give account for every wrong thought, word, and deed you have done in your life?

Death and Hell

The consequence of sin is death. God’s punishment for sin is eternal separation from his presence in a place called Hell, because no evil can enter God’s eternal kingdom, which is reserved only for the truly righteous (Revelation 21:27).

For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a

but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. (Isaiah 59:2

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels … And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:4146)

People suffer in Hell because they have no access to God’s loving presence due to their sinfulness. Because all people have broken God’s commandments, everyone deserves eternal punishment in Hell.

God Loves You

But God loves you and does not want anyone to suffer in Hell because of their sins. So God the Father provided a solution to our sin problem: he sent us his only Son, Jesus Christ:

The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promise as some count slowness, but is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus Fulfilled the Law for Us

Although we failed to keep all of God’s laws and commandments, Jesus kept every single one of them, and is the only human who has never sinned:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus Paid the Sin Penalty for Us

When the time was right, after living the perfect life we failed to live, Jesus, who is God in human flesh (John 1:1, 14), the second Person of the Trinity (Matthew 28:19), took all of our sins upon himself and died on the cross as our perfect sacrifice and substitute. On the third day he rose again from the dead:

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13–14

he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:31–32)

By fulfilling the requirements of his own Law as our representative, and by paying the full punishment for sin in our place, God displayed both justice and love for us. God himself has done everything that we were unable to do for our salvation.

Salvation and Heaven

In order to receive the forgiveness of sins, a restored relationship with God, and eternal life with him in Heaven, we have to put our faith and trust in Jesus as our only Lord and Saviour (John 14:6) and what he did for us on the cross, and we cannot rely on anything we do:

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15–16)

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10–11)

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

When we believe in Jesus we receive his righteousness, so that we are no longer guilty in God the Father’s eyes but innocent (Philippians 3:8–9). If we choose to reject or ignore the grace of Jesus, then we will face God’s just condemnation either on the day of judgement before we die, or after we die (John 3:18). Would you like to accept the free gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ offers you right now?

The Next Step

If you would like to put your faith in Jesus, you have to repent. This means that you must be genuinely sorry and remorseful for your sins, that you accept Jesus as the one who saves you from your sins, and that you seek forgiveness from God through him, with the full intent of living a reformed life. You can do this by praying to Jesus right now. Say that you are sorry for your sins and that you accept him as your Lord and Saviour and the Son of God. Ask him to take lead of your life, and to make you the kind of person he wants you to be. When you believe, you will receive the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, as a constant companion throughout life (John 14:15–16), who will make you God’s very own adopted child (Romans 8:15–17) and dwell in you as his temple (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).

Then change your life, stop following your sinful passions, and instead devote your life to God with the help of the Holy Spirit, who gradually conforms us to Christ’s image and likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18). Pray to God every day, read the Bible every day, and attend church regularly (one that accepts the Apostle’s, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds) so that you can know God more personally and strengthen your faith. Also, you should get baptised as soon as possible. Baptism is a significant moment when God meets us in a special way, welcomes us into his family, the church, and gives us another unique experience of his grace.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

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