The word “gospel” simply means good news. It is essentially a piece of information, or a message. But in order to understand this message, you have to understand who the message was sent from and who the message was sent to. Once you understand that, the message makes much more sense.
For starters, the gospel is a message that is sent from the God of the Bible. The Bible explains that God is a supreme being and the CREATOR of everything.
...The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth…
- Isaiah 40:28
Additionally, the Bible describes God as HOLY, which means that there is no one like Him. He is greater than any other person or thing in this world.
There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.
- 1 Samuel 2:2
And as the holy Creator, God created human beings with a special purpose. He created people in his image, which means that humans are to represent God in certain ways.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
- Genesis 1:27
In particular, God created people to worship and bring glory to Him as they obeyed him and reflected his character in the world. As they did this, they would experience a life-giving relationship with God.
However, rather than worshipping God by obeying him and reflecting his character in the world, people have REBELLED against God and have chosen to live in ways that are contrary to His character. The Bible calls this act of rebellion sin and explains that every single person that has ever lived is guilty of this rebellion against God.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- Romans 3:23
Now, because of this rebellion, people are no longer in a life-giving relationship with God. Instead people are actually SEPARATED from God because of their sin.
...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
And not only is this God that people are separated from holy, the Bible also explains that he is JUST. And because he is just, he cannot let sin and rebellion go unpunished.
“[God], his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
- Deuteronomy 32:4
According to the Bible, God’s justice demands that people be punished for their sin. And this punishment that people deserve because of their sin against God is DEATH. This is not only a physical death. It is a spiritual death as well, where sinners are separated from God and experience His judgment forever. This is what everyone deserves.
For the wages of sin is death...
- Romans 6:23
This is bad news for people...
But it’s at this point that God sends the message of good news to people. The gospel is a message from a good God to sinful people. This good news is that although He is just and must punish sin, he is also GRACIOUS, meaning that he is willing to forgive people of their sin and rebellion against him.
God [is] merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness...forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...
- Exodus 34:6-7
But because he is just, he cannot simply let our sin go unpunished. Therefore, he made a way for someone else to be punished for our sin.
The Bible explains that because God is a loving God, approximately 2000 years ago He sent his one and only Son, Jesus, who was both fully God and fully man, to live on this earth. And instead of joining the rest of the world in rebellion and sin, Jesus lived a perfect LIFE of obedience. He did not sin one time.
[Jesus] committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.
- 1 Peter 2:22
But even though Jesus never sinned, Jesus died a sacrificial DEATH on a cross, taking the punishment for sins that he himself did not commit.
[Jesus] bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
- 1 Peter 2:24
After his death, Jesus’ body was placed in a grave. But three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, demonstrating that he is more powerful than anything, even death. This power was put on display through his RESURRECTION.
[Jesus] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead…
- Romans 1:4
This is the good news that God has sent to people: that Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross for sinners, and rose from the dead three days later. And it is through Jesus that God is creating a group of people, which the Bible calls the church, who are forgiven of their sins and who strive to love and obey God with their whole heart.
But not everyone is included in this group. Not everyone is forgiven of their sins. The gospel is a message that demands a response from every person. The Bible says that in order for a person to be forgiven of their sins and consequently saved from the punishment that they deserve, they must repent (which means to TURN) from their sin and they must believe (which means to TRUST) in the gospel.
...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
- Mark 1:15
...If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
- Romans 10:9
Repentance involves turning from anything that does not please God. It means that you no longer live your life the way you want to live it but instead live your life the way God wants you to live it. It means that you give control of your life to God.
Believing the gospel involves trusting that Jesus died on the cross and was punished for your sin.
The Bible promises that everyone who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus will be forgiven of their sins and be reconciled to God. Those who turn from their sin and trust in Jesus experience a RESTORED relationship with God and will ultimately spend eternity with God in heaven, which the Bible describes as eternal life.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…
- 1 Corinthians 5:18
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life...
- John 3:36
But, the Bible also warns that everyone who continues to live in sin and REJECTS Jesus will experience the punishment that they deserve, ultimately spending eternity in hell, which the Bible describes as a place of eternal punishment.
…[those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus] will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
- 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
So the question that you have to ask yourself is, "How will I respond to this message?" Will you join those who turn from their sin and trust in Jesus or will you stay with those that continue in their sin and reject Jesus? Think hard about this, because how you answer that question will determine where you will spend eternity.
But before you rush to make a decision, you need to count the cost. Jesus taught that in the same way that a person would make sure they have enough money to build something before they actually start building it, a person must consider what it might cost them to follow Jesus before they decide to do so. Because following Jesus can be costly. You might lose friends if you follow Jesus. You might lose your job if you follow Jesus. Many Christians have lost their life for following Jesus.
But, any loss that you may experience here in this life for following Jesus is nothing compared to the loss that you will experience for eternity for rejecting Jesus. So following Jesus is totally worth it, and we hope that you will come to that same conclusion as well.
So if you are convinced that these things are true and you want to turn from your sin and trust in Jesus, you can express that commitment to God in words like these…
God, I know that I have sinned against you and that I deserve to be punished for my sin. I also know that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for sinners like me. I trust you to forgive my sins because of what Jesus has done for me on the cross. Please take control of my life and help me to live a life that pleases you. I can't wait to spend eternity with you in heaven!
If you have just made the decision to turn from your sin and trust in Jesus, please let us know. We would love to help you figure out what it looks like to start living for God. Or, if you would just like to talk more about what it means to turn from your sin and trust in Jesus, we would love to do that with you as well. You can contact us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (334)246-1557.
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