The Gospel is the greatest and most important message that can fall upon the ears of humanity. Its truth is so glorious, that the effects of its message have shaped the world for almost 2000 years. Darkness has tried to quench it, charlatans have tried to sell it, governments have tried to suppress it – yet all while labouring in vain. It will remain absolute and be proclaimed to the ends of the earth for all of human history and will be celebrated throughout all eternity.
Why is the Gospel such great news?
The Gospel is ‘good news’ because it is the remedy to the bad news. The bad news is, as humans, we all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and the wages of sin is death (Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 6:23), a second death (Revelation 20:10, Revelation 21:8), and these wages will be paid (2 Corinthians 5:10). It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31) but the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) so we first must understand the great peril that we find ourselves in before we can understand the good news that has been provided to us.
What is sin?
Sin is a failure to conform to the moral law of God in behaviour, attitude, or nature (1 John 3:4). The moral law of God, the 10 Commandments, has been provided to humanity as a decree which God commands all of mankind to follow (Exodus 20:1-17, Deuteronomy 4:13). Instead, we have all rebelled against God’s commands and have become unclean with our actions and attitudes being like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6, Romans 1:29-32, Romans 3:10-20). If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). You too, dear reader, have sinned against God (Jeremiah 16:12) and must be warned about God’s wrath that you are storing up for yourself on the coming day of judgment (Romans 2:5, Romans 14:12).
Will God simply forgive you?
There is a grave misunderstanding that God will simply forgive someone because they are sorry for their sin, or because their good deeds simply outweigh the bad ones. Just as this does not work in our judicial court settings here on earth, nor will it suffice in the eternal courtroom of our All-knowing God (Romans 2:6, Romans 8:8, Colossians 3:25). God is most Holy, and because He is Holy, He is perfectly just. He cannot condemn a righteous person or pardon a wicked one (Proverb 17:15). Therefore, every lie, every adulterous act, all forms of thievery, and all other acts of rebellion against His Law will be accounted for (Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-8). We know that the wages of sin is eternal punishment in hell, so this is a serious dilemma indeed.
What hope do you have?
Although you may be thinking, “It’s hopeless! Therefore, I may as well follow my own plans and act according to the desires of my heart” (Jeremiah 18:12), there is in fact a Great Hope that you must know. After all, the word “Gospel” means “good news”, and this news is most precious.
Though we are indeed in great peril, God has not left us in such a state. He could not simply ignore His Law and pardon sinners or He would not be just, so He satisfied all of the conditions of the Law Himself because He is also most merciful and is not willing that anyone should perish in the second death that He’s committed to administering as punishment (2 Peter 3:9, Numbers 23:19).
When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law…(Galatians 4:4-5). Jesus Christ lived the perfect life of righteousness that we can never live for ourselves as required by God. He was perfectly obedient. He accomplished what no other person could do by completely satisfying the righteousness that God required through His Law. Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bondservant, and being born in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All of us, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6).
You see, the death that Jesus Christ experienced on the cross was a substitutionary punishment on your behalf, where He paid your sin debt by experiencing the just wrath of God that you deserve in hell for the sins that you have committed. Right before Jesus died, He cried out; it is finished! (John 19:30), in other words; “the debt has been paid!”. Jesus Christ suffered and died in your place. But that’s not where things end.
On the third day after Jesus died and was put in a tomb, He was resurrected from the dead and ascended back to heaven. This was a visible demonstration which confirms that the payment He made for our sins was vindicated by God. This means that God can now justly forgive you for the sins that you have committed because Jesus Christ has already paid your fine. Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18). Just as your record of sins was transferred to Jesus while He was on the cross, His record of perfect obedience can be transferred to you! Not only that, but when you experience physical death here on earth, you will also be made alive in the Spirit just as Jesus was, and you will be given a glorified body without sin and blemish that is fit to enter into the presence of our Holy God to spend eternity with Him in heaven (1 Corinthians 15:50-57). Jesus Christ has already achieved it all for you! That is why salvation is found in no other, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
Forgiveness is costly, it is priceless, yet it is offered freely to all who believe that Jesus Christ alone is Lord and that He was raised from the dead (Romans 10:9). By Christ living a perfect life, going to the cross on our behalf, through being buried and rising from the dead, He has secured our justification. We are saved by God’s grace alone through faith in what Jesus Christ has already accomplished for us, not based on any works that we could ever do ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is a free gift from God to all who believe (Romans 3:23-26). That’s the Gospel. It is Jesus Christ alone.
Do you believe this?
Do you acknowledge your sins and great need to be reconciled with God? Then confess them in prayer directly to Jesus Christ and turn away from continuing to commit them without being a hypocrite. You may struggle with sinful desires for a time, but Jesus Christ will give you all of the strength that you need to break free from your sinful ways if you seek His help through prayer while making every genuine effort not to sin (Philippians 4:13). Read the Bible regularly, applying what you learn as you grow in understanding, and Jesus will assist you along the road of restoration and help you to grow in righteousness. In fact, God promises to transform your heart and your mind, and to put His Spirit in you to help you increase in wisdom of His Word and to desire the things that He desires (Ezekiel 36:26-27). He will never leave you, nor will He ever abandon you (Hebrews 13:5).
God says to you this very moment, You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart to what you have read like those who provoke His wrath (Hebrews 3:15), but seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Abandon your unrighteous ways and thoughts, and God will have compassion on you and will abundantly pardon you for your sins (Isaiah 55:6-7). For many, in tears, will desire to inherit the gift of eternal life once it is too late for them (Hebrews 12:17), and Jesus Christ will send them to hell to receive the eternal punishment which is required of them (Matthew 7:22-23, Matthew 25:41).
The “right time” is NOW. Today is the day of salvation! (2 Corinthians 6:2)