The Gospel literally means good news.
But what is the good news?
It is good news that GOD has provided forgiveness for our sin so we can have peace with GOD…true reconciliation with Him in a relationship.
It cost Him everything. In terms of cost, it is free to us.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In order to get to the good news, we need to get some bad news.
It is a lot like going to a doctor. He may have a cure for you, but first he has to tell you the bad news–you are extremely ill. Spiritually, we are dead! That is the bad news. There is nothing we can do to fix this problem.
- That is the way it works with the Gospel. The bad news is that we are sinners. Everyone is. (cf. Romans 3:10-12, 23) Every part of us is affected by sin. It makes no difference who we are. The fact that we are sinners is totally an equal opportunity experience for every human being.
- Another piece of bad news is that we can’t earn our way to heaven or make ourselves good enough for heaven because the requirement to live with GOD is perfection. (Isaiah 64:6, Matthew 5:48)
- In order to understand how serious our sin problem is, we need to realize that sin involves both what we do wrong (sins of commission) (Exodus 20:12-17 ) and actions that we fail to do that we should do (sins of omission) (Exodus 20:3, 8-11). Sin also involves not only our deeds, but our thoughts and words as well. (Matthew 6:21-30). When we think of the totality of our sin and how it affects our relationship with GOD, we begin to understand why it required His intervention to pay for our sin. We certainly couldn’t take care of it on our own!
- The other part of paying for sin is that blood must be shed to pay for it. The sacrificial system precluded the reality of the cross. It is interesting to see the illustrations GOD gives in the Old Testament of how death and specifically the shedding of blood, was required to pay for sin through the various sacrifices. Sin is serious! (Hebrews 9:22-26)
- In order to satisfy GOD’s justice and His love, He had to send His Son Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, in human form to earth. Jesus was the perfect, infinite GOD-man. He had to be a man to live a perfect life as a human. He had to be GOD in order to step in to pay for the sins of an infinite number of people. (Exodus 34:6-8) (Philippians 2:5-11) (Colossians 1:13-23) He also had to be God in order to be holy and not need to have sins that needed to be forgiven.
- Jesus died in our place for my sin and yours. It is like He traded His record of living a perfect life on earth for 33 years for my record of my life here on earth. The record of every thought, word and deed, every sin of omission and commission. He took the whole record on Himself…mine and the sins of every other person. Then as we come to Him by faith to trust His ability to deal with our sin, He trades record books with us, so to speak. Now, as His children, we have a record book that says we are as righteous as Jesus…in terms of a legal transaction. When the Father looks at us, He doesn’t see our sin, but He sees the righteousness of Jesus! (Romans 8:1-4) (Hebrews 10:11-18) This is what it means to be “in Christ.” (A term used often in the New Testament books of the Bible.)
- This good news of the Gospel is not something that ends when we join the Family of GOD. The Gospel is good from the time we join the family on. We don’t need to work to become part of the family. We are part of the family based on the work of Jesus alone. It’s not based on what we do or have done. It is only based on what Jesus did. Out of our gratefulness to Him flows our worship and appreciation for what He has done. Out of our gratefulness to Him flows our service to Him as we minister to others around us in need. He forgave us. As time goes on, we realize and appreciate even more what a gift that forgiveness has been…whether we were a drug abuser or a murderer or someone who is self-righteous, or gossips. It makes no difference. We are all on the same ground when it comes to being sinners. (Galatians 2:20-21) We are all in Christ and He is changing us because of it.
- Yes, we come to God in repentance, turning in a new direction away from our sinful lifestyle and toward Jesus; away from doing life on our own and toward doing life with Him as we realize we need His help for everything, especially forgiveness. It’s a one time thing in one sense when we become part of God’s family. But it is an everyday thing too as we repent of sin daily and choose to follow Jesus and do life with Him instead of on our own. As we grow in our understanding of who God is and how pervasive our sin is, we become more and more aware of how big God really is, how much He loves us; how majestic He is; how faithful He has been; and…well, you get it. This gives you a taste of what the good news of the Gospel is. It helps you understand why we need to know the bad news in order to enjoy the good news…in order to have a wonderful life with God now and a glorious life forever with Him!