That’s what the word “Gospel” means — good news.
Maybe you’ve heard the word “Gospel” before. Maybe to you, it’s just a religious word. The funny thing about the word “Gospel” is that it destroys the basic idea of religion, and emphasises something else instead.
You see, religion is the man-made idea that if you try really hard to be a good person, you will find favour with God. This means that He will bless you financially here on earth, it means that you will enjoy a peaceful life, and it means that after you die, you get to live in Heaven with God. This common thread runs through most of the world’s different religions. Sure, these religions use different terms and have different requirements, but at their core, it’s all about doing good enough to gain favour with God.
If religion is true, that’s terrible news.
Why? Because all of mankind lives with a fatal handicap that makes it impossible for us to do enough good to please God. That handicap is called sin. Sin is any infraction of God’s law, and the Bible says that all people are sinners. Literally, we have all committed sin.
Romans 3:10 - As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:23 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
“But wait!” you might say. “I know some really nice people! In fact, I’M a really nice person.” I’m sure that’s probably true! I know a lot of nice people as well. But the problem isn’t that we’re lacking in our goodness, it’s that we are inherently rebels against God and His law. Even the nicest people in the world have broken God’s law dozens and dozens of times. Every single one of us has lied, stolen, cheated, coveted, and the list could go on and on. There can be no doubt, the Bible is 100% accurate when it says that all of us are sinners.
Romans 3:19 - Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
So we are all lawbreakers, and we all stand guilty before God. No matter how hard we try, our good cannot outweigh the guilt we have before God. The verdict has already been passed - we have no case.
When the law is broken, there is a penalty. God decreed long before sin entered the world what the penalty for sin would be. With the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, God laid down the law and told them what the penalty of breaking that law would be.
Genesis 2:16-17 - And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Romans 5:12 - Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death…
The Bible speaks of two types of death for the penalty of sin. The first is physical death…every human being will one day die.
Hebrews 9:27 - And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
The 2nd death is a death you are born into…spiritual death. Spiritual death is separation from God. Every human being faces this separation from God because of their sin. You may be physically alive, but make no mistake, you are spiritually dead.
Colossians 2:13 - And you, being dead in your sins…
Should a human being die physically whilst still being dead spiritually, then the Bible teaches that this separation from God will last for all eternity. This means our immortal souls will spend eternity in a place that the Bible calls the lake of fire. Originally created for Satan, it is a horrible place of torment.
Revelation 20:14-15 - And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
So again, if the main idea of most of the world’s religion is true (that we must gain favour with God through our good works), then it is terrible news, because there is no way that you or I can erase our infractions of God’s law through our good works. That would be like trying to atone for a lifetime of crime by helping a little old lady across the street. No matter how much good we do, it doesn’t eliminate the sin of which we are guilty.
But that’s not the end of the story. And it’s certainly not the Gospel — the good news.
The good news finds its foundation on this singular truth - God loves you. You see, this eternal punishment of sin was never what God wanted for you. He loves you in a way that no other human being could ever love you. His love is indescribable, unconditional, and eternal. And because He loves you so much, He had to devise a way to overcome this fatal handicap of sin.
II Samuel 14:14 - For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.
So what was this way? What grand plan did God devise to overcome our sin and the penalty therein? How did God show His love towards us?
Romans 5:8 - But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I John 4:10 - Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The greatest expression of love that God could have possibly given was to come to us in the form of Jesus Christ, the very Son of God. The Bible teaches that God was indeed the Father of Jesus, because it was the work of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin woman named Mary that brought Jesus into the world. As the Son of God, Jesus was God, meaning He had an advantage that no other human being had - He was without sin.
I Timothy 3:16 - And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…
Philippians 2:5-7 - Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
II Corinthians 5:21 - For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Since He was God and was without sin, that made Him the only one who could pay the penalty of sin on our behalf. Jesus’ death on the cross, while quite famous, is often drastically misunderstood. He died in your place. He took your penalty. He was YOUR substitute!
Isaiah 53:4-6 - Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Having paid the price in your place, this means that you don’t have to pay it yourself. God, by the work of Jesus Christ, is offering you a wonderful gift.
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Three days after He died, He rose again from the dead, proving His power over sin and death, and proving that He has the power to offer forgiveness of sin and eternal life to you.
So you have a decision to make. You can accept the gift or reject the gift. God will not force Himself upon you - it truly is your choice.
How do you accept the gift? You must make the decision that you are placing your full faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. This is very important, because Jesus made it clear that the only way we gain favour with God was through Him.
John 14:6 - Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
So you cannot trust Jesus and your baptism. You cannot trust Jesus and another religion. You cannot trust Jesus and your attendance to a church. The only way we can stand justified before God, assured of eternal life instead of eternal death, is by placing our faith in Jesus Christ alone.
How do you reject the gift? Trust in literally anything else. Trust your heart if you believe God doesn’t exist. Trust your religion if it tells you that you must pay something or do something to have eternal life. Trust the philosophy of men. Perhaps you will trust in your own goodness, believing you are the exception - you are good enough to be saved in your own strength. But if you choose to go that route, I call your attention to the following verse…
Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
So which decision will you make today? Will you choose to accept the gift or reject the gift? If you choose to accept it, the Bible instructs us to call out to God for salvation…this simply means to pray and tell God of your decision.
Romans 10:13 - For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
If you want to call out to God today, you could pray something like the example prayer below. However, you don’t have to say those words exactly to be saved - they are not a magical incantation. You might express your decision differently, and that’s completely fine. However, the only decision you can make that will solve this fatal problem of sin and give you eternal life is to trust Christ fully.
I understand that I am a sinner, and I freely acknowledge that truth today. I stand guilty before you, in danger of eternal condemnation in the lake of fire and separation from you because of my sin. I understand that there is nothing that I can do in myself that can fix this problem.
I also understand that you have provided a way of escape from this awful judgment - the gift of eternal life through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you, Jesus, for being willing to come to this earth and give your life for my sake. Thank you for providing the gift of eternal life.
Today, I place my faith and trust in You and You alone for my salvation. I no longer trust in my good works, recognising they will never be enough. My faith for salvation is in Jesus alone, and I am accepting your gift of salvation. Please be my Saviour, and please help me grow and follow you in the days to come.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ today, would you be willing to reach out to us so we can help you know some next steps to take? You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will have someone reach out to you. We are very excited for you and this huge decision you have made.
It really is good news, isn’t it!?