I was listening to a sermon last Sunday night (Click here if you want to take a listen) and the speaker encouraged us to take some time to write down the gospel. Obviously that could take a lifetime – no amount of writing can truly express what God has done for us. But nevertheless I decided to give it a go. The result is below.
What is the gospel? That’s a big question. But briefly: God created us (Humanity, Adam and Eve) perfect and in perfect relationship with him. Then they (and by consequence all of humanity) sinned – they rebelled against God, and the consequence of that sin was that death and suffering entered the world. Since that point every human being has disobeyed God. Therefore since God is good, just, holy and perfect, since he cannot stand sin, we all deserve his punishment. That punishment is hell – God’s wrath against sin and rebellion toward him. Yet he chose a people (Israel), rescued them from Egypt and told them his law. He did this to show them that they cannot keep his requirements. We cannot save ourselves.
But in his mercy, grace, love, compassion and kindness God then sent his son – Jesus – into the world as a man. Fully God and fully man means that Jesus was perfect – he didn’t sin or disobey God. But he could also die. He could take our sins on himself since he hadn’t committed any and he could die the death and suffer the punishment that we deserved. We crucified him, spat on him, mocked him, and yet it is his death that opens the way for us to come back into relationship with God.
If we put our faith (trust) in Jesus as the only one who can save and if we repent of our sin and rebellion against him then we will be forgiven for all the sins we have committed (and will commit). They are entirely dealt with by Jesus on the cross when he suffered God’s wrath for us. When we put our faith in him and turn from our sins to follow him we are made new creations (2 Cor 5:17), we are moved from enemies of God to children of God (Romans 8), Objects of wrath to co-heirs with Christ. This is not because we in any way deserve it. We deserve only hell. But it is because in his amazing grace God saw fit to glorify himself not only by showing his justice, perfection and holiness in judging sin, but by also showing his mercy, love, kindness, grace and compassion.
In Jesus we see God’s justice and judgement against sin and his awesome and marvellous mercy and grace toward a people who don’t deserve it (that’s you and me if we are Christians).
The result? Jesus rose again – he dealt with sin and so the consequence of it – death – could not hold him. He proves that he paid the price in our place by his ressurection. And he also proves that all his promises are true. He rose again, and so shall we – all people, Christians and Non-christians, will rise again and sit before God in judgement. Those who have not accepted Jesus as their personal saviour and Lord will face God’s punishment for their sins – the punishment that every human being deserves (i.e. hell). Those who have turned to Christ have been forgiven. Our sin is removed – it was placed on Christ and he died for us, taking God’s wrath that we deserved in our place. Since we are forgiven and adopted as God’s children we will be accepted into heaven to be with God eternally, glorifying him and delighting in his presence and his character for all eternity.
Are you a Christian? Are you interested? There is a cost. If we are truly sorry for sinning against God then we will turn from it. We will work hard to obey God and live his way – not because that saves us, but because we are saved. We will give our whole lives to God, submitting to him as king and LORD of our lives. Not in the hopes that we can be good enough to make it to heaven but as a response to the complete and full forgiveness we have in Jesus, our love for him and our thankfulness. And that’s hard. We are also called to tell people – which makes sense, since it’s such a glorious and wonderful gospel. But the result of that will often be that we are mocked and persecuted.
Are you willing to give your whole life for Jesus?