The Gospel

What does “gospel” mean? Although we do just about anything we can to ignore it or explain it away, at some point we must face the fact that there is a dark side to humanity. It shows up in every period of history and every culture. Truth be told, it shows up in each of us. Why do we think and say the things we do? Why do we do the things we do? There is something wrong with each one of us. The Bible makes us stand face-to-face with this fact, helps us diagnose the real problem, and speaks the most wonderful and surprising news into our darkness. The word gospel means “good news.” It is the good news that God has come in the person of Jesus Christ into the darkness of this world to save us from the penalty of our sins and bring us into peaceful and joyful fellowship with God now and forever. This is the core of the Christian faith and the main message of the Bible. 

Why do we need to be forgiven by God? God, who has revealed Himself to us in the Bible, is the Creator of all things. He made man and woman uniquely designed for a relationship with Him. However, we have all turned away from God to be who we want and live how we want. We have exchanged the good and loving rule of God for our own self-rule. This is the essence of what is called sin. When you think about it for a moment, you begin to realize that sinning against God is the highest form of evil. God is holy, which means He is set apart from all that is evil and wrong and set apart for all that is good and right. God Himself is not only good but He gave us something good, our life. He gave us this life to be lived to its fullest in relationship with Him by loving, cherishing, and obeying Him. God has the right to take that life away if we reject the purpose for which He gave it. In fact, as a good God, He must judge and end all evil. The fact that God would judge people may surprise us. However, we know that it is impossible for someone to be good and remain casually indifferent in the presence of something wrong. We know it is impossible for even a human to be just and moral and remain unmoved by injustice and evil. How much more so God, a perfect Being? After all, God is the standard of what is right and wrong. Of course we should expect God to react to evil by ending evil. As sinners, we are part of that evil and we deserve His judgment. This judgment is nothing less than physical and spiritual death. 

So, then, how is the gospel good news? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is truly God and truly human. He was sent by God the Father to live the God-honoring life we did not, die on the cross in our place for our sins, and rise from the dead with the new life we need. Jesus did all of this willingly and by doing so He reveals the heart of God for sinners. This is why Christianity is characterized by forgiveness, grace, mercy, hope, and joy. 

How can this good news about what Jesus has done for sinners become good news for you personally? We respond to the good news of what Jesus has done by turning from our self-rule and sin and relying on Jesus Christ alone to reconcile us to God. Our natural instinct is to assume we must make ourselves worthy of such kindness from God by trying our best to clean up our lives. Or maybe we attempt to erase the wrong we’ve done in the past by doing good in the present. I’m guessing that if you’ve read this far into an explanation of the gospel, you know you can’t do that. You’ve probably already tried and failed, which has made your guilt and hopelessness even worse. 

Good news. The gospel is about receiving God’s offer of forgiveness and love in Christ and not about working for it and trying to earn it. The gospel is good news because Jesus does it all and through faith in Him, we receive His pristine righteousness and forgiveness for our sins. The gospel is good news because Jesus died for His people, which means He takes our place and pays the penalty for our sins. The gospel is good news because even the faith required to grab hold of Jesus is given to us as a gift of grace from God. 

What should I do next if I want to learn more? We would be delighted to help you learn more about Jesus and the gospel. Please visit us on a Sunday morning. At First Baptist Church, we believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the entry way into a reconciled relationship with God. We believe the gospel not only changes our relationship vertically with God but also horizontally with God’s people. This is why Jesus brings His people into His spiritual family, the church. Through His church, He continues to teach us, to protect us, to pour out His love upon us, and equip us to live a God-honoring Christian life. We exist for this very purpose and would be delighted to follow Jesus together with you.