The word “gospel” means “good news.” The message of the Christian faith is gospel; it is good news. It is a message that brings hope, forgiveness, newness, love and life. The gospel is grounded in the historical reality of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which brought about the spiritual salvation that we can enjoy in Him. The following is a summary of the good news of Jesus.
God created us to know, love, and glorify Him. The crowning moment in the creation story of Genesis 1 is when God makes man and woman in his own image. Humans were able to relate to God unlike anything else in creation. We could know Him, love Him, enjoy Him, follow Him, and — bearing His image — live lives that display His glory in this world. God gave humans authority over the earth, expecting them to rule on His behalf, exercising their authority under His leadership.
But man rebelled against God’s authority. You know the story of Adam and Eve in the garden. They were tempted by the serpent to eat of the fruit of the one tree from which God had commanded them not to eat. Their disobedience changed them. They had sinned against God. This is called the Fall.
The Fall makes sense of the world’s present condition. Because humans were given authority over the world, when they sinned, the whole world was affected. The natural disasters, disease, and death that plague the world are the groanings of a world in bondage to sin, awaiting redemption from God. The suffering of this world is meant to show us the seriousness of our sin, what an offense it is to God.
Not only did the Fall affect the physical world, but it also had an affect on the human heart. After the first man and woman sinned, all humans were born in sin. The Bible likens this to being born with a “heart of stone,” meaning that we are born spiritually dead to God, rebellious against His will and ways. We can see this by considering the Ten Commandments. All of us have broken God’s laws, whether by making other things or people “gods” in our lives, dishonoring parents, telling lies, desiring that which does not belong to us, or breaking any of the other commandments. The consequence of breaking God’s law is judgment. We deserve punishment for our sin, and that punishment is death, physically and spiritually. As Paul wrote, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
In His love, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the penalty for our sins. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, became a man in order to do what no other human being could ever do: perfectly obey God’s law and give Himself as a substitute for sinners. As Jesus walked this earth, He always did the Father’s will. In every area of life in which you and I disobey God, Jesus was obedient. For this reason, Jesus did not deserve death and judgment. Yet, because of His love for us and in obedience to the Father, Jesus willingly gave His life for us. He died on the cross the death we deserve. On the cross, the Father poured out His wrath for sinners. Jesus paid the penalty of sin for all who would trust in Him. Three days later, Jesus was raised from the dead. This was God’s way of showing that Jesus’ death on the cross was enough to satisfy His wrath for sin and that He lives as Savior and Lord over all.
We must all deal with the reality of Jesus and what He did on the cross. We must decide what we will do with the good news of Jesus. This gospel message is to be received and believed, but not all do. Some reject it. If you believe that you have broken God’s law and deserve His wrath, turn away from your old ways and follow Jesus. Trust in what Jesus did on the cross. Rely solely on Him and His work for your salvation. Follow Him as the rightful Lord and Master of your life. Read the Bible to know Him and love Him more. Join a church that will encourage you to follow Him.
“For our sake He [God] made Him to be sin who knew no sin [Jesus], so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ!