The Gospel. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have heard the word before. You have seen it on t-shirts, church signs, and tracts. Maybe you have even heard people talking about it. You have noticed vague allusions to it in literature and art. But do you really know what it is?
The Gospel (good news) is the message from God to mankind that teaches us how we can be right with Him. It is the most important information you will ever reject or believe. Meaning, hope, and the answers to life’s greatest questions are all found in this one message.This one message is found in God’s timeless Truth for mankind: the Bible. Something this important is worth a couple of minutes, so keep reading. Let’s start from the beginning…
How did it all begin?
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalm 90:2)
It begins with God, who has always been. He has always existed, and He has always existed exactly as He is now. If it seems confusing, it’s because He’s beyond our comprehension.
In the beginning, God spoke and everything came into existence. By His word, the entire universe was created and filled with a dramatic display of galaxies, stars, and planets-including Earth, on which was a perfect garden of paradise called Eden. Of all the beauty He created, the masterpiece was a man and a woman. God made Adam and Eve in His image to reflect Him. They were created with the grand purpose of worshiping Him, serving Him, and enjoying relationship with Him.
By God’s design, all of creation was in harmony and was exactly the way it was supposed to be. During this time there was no pain, suffering, sickness or death. There was complete love, acceptance, and intimacy between God and man, between Adam and Eve, and throughout creation. But something tragic happened.
What went wrong?
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)
Adam and Eve were far from being equal to God, yet He lovingly placed them in charge of all He had created in Eden. He gave them the freedom to make decisions and govern the Earth with one rule: not to eat fruit from a specific tree. One day, God’s enemy, a fallen angel named Satan, wanted to overthrow God so he took the form of a serpent and lied to Adam and Eve. He deceived them into thinking God was not good and did not have their best intentions in mind. As a result, they knowingly disobeyed God. In rebellion, Adam and Eve ate the fruit, deciding they, not God, would determine right and wrong.
The consequences of their actions were devastating. Like a virus, sin entered into all of creation and into the hearts of Adam and Eve. Sin, suffering and pain were passed down from generation to generation; all of creation was distorted from its original design. We have all read or heard the stories of war, poverty, disease, greed, and scandals that plague our world today. Those are all a result of sin.
When we think about the perfection and love that existed at the beginning of creation, we realize how flawed and sinful we really are. Just think of the grudges we’ve held, the lies we’ve told, and the thoughts we’d never dare say aloud. An honest glance into our own hearts reveals the truth: We are all guilty. Everyone has sinned, and the ultimate consequence, even worse than physical death, is eternal separation from a loving God, in terrible conscience misery.
Can anything be done?
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” (1 Peter 3:18)
“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:” (Galatians 1:4)
A Promise Made
God removed Adam and Eve from Eden as a result of their sin but left them with a promise of rescue and hope. He promised them one of their descendents would someday rescue mankind from sin. Over the next centuries, God prepared the way for this person who would become the Savior of the world. Exact details of His birth, life, and death were recorded in the Bible many centuries before His coming. In fact, the whole Bible ultimately points to this one Person as the focal point of all human history. His purpose in coming was “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). So who was He?
A Promise Kept
The promised Savior, simply, was God. God became human in the person of Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago, fulfilling all the predictions in the Old Testament. Jesus’ birth was miraculous since His mother was a virgin. His life was unique: He perfectly enjouyed and obeyed God without sin. This ultimately led to His agonizing death on a cross as He willingly, obediently, and sufficiently died to pay for the sins of mankind, according to God’s plan. In the greatest display of mercy and grace the world has ever known, Jesus’ life and death became a substitute for all who would trust in Him. The perfectly innocent died to rescue the hopelessly guilty from sin and Satan.
But the grave couldn’t hold Jesus. Three days later, Jesus emerged from His tomb, fulfilling His earthly mission to defeat sin by rising from the dead-just as God promised. Forty days later He returned to Heaven where He reigns as the rightful King.
But it doesn’t end there…
What will the future hold?
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea…And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:1, 3-4)
For all those who trust in Jesus alone, God has also promised He will make all things new. The new heaven and new earth will be completely free of sin and selfishness-a place of perfect friendship with God, others, and all creation. No more shattering earthquakes, devastating tsunamis or violent storms will plague the earth. No more pain, broken hearts, sickness or death to trouble us. Everything will be restored to the way it was meant to be. God’s original purpose will flourish, as those that trust who trust in His rescue will enter into the grand purpose of worshipping Him by loving Him, serving Him, and enjoying fellowship with Him forever.
What's Your Part?
“…Repent ye, and believe the Gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When you know God, you will find forgiveness, purpose, and satisfaction. This comes through repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
Repentance can take place when you realize your sinful condition and utter helplessness before God. It is a change of mind: to see God for Who He really is, and sin for what it really is, to have remorse over that sin, and to turn to God for the remedy.
Faith is trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you. It means instead of believing you can rescue yourself from the consequences of sin, you transfer your trust to the rescue He purchased for you by His death. Those who place their faith in anything other than Jesus will find themselves forever separated from God. That painful separation will be conscious torment in Hell.
The Creation: In the beginning, God created everything to be perfect.
The Fall: Man rebelled against a loving God and believed Satan’s lie. Sin entered into the world & into every human heart. Everything is now distorted and broken. Everyone is guilty before God.
The Rescue: Jesus, who is God, came to rescue people by His death and resurrection. By faith alone in Him, all who are separated from God can have their sins forgiven and enjoy eternal life with Him.
The Restoration: God will restore everything to the way it was supposed to be, and those who trust in Jesus will get to enjoy eternity with God.
The Response: When you repent from sin and place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation, you become a child of God. (Romans 10:13).
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” (John 6:47)
Now you know what the Gospel is. And now you have a decision to make. If Jesus Christ is who He says He is, then you are left with a decision. You know what the Gospel is, so what will you do with it?