The Gospel Message
The word “gospel” comes from the Greek word euangelion and literally means “good news.” That means that the gospel message is good news. Good news suggests that there is also bad news. Therefore, the gospel message has two parts: The good news part and the bad news part.
The bad news is that we are all sinners. Sin is any action or attitude that goes contrary to God’s perfect holiness. Romans 3:23 says, that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This includes me. This includes you. All means all. We are all sinners. In a world that likes to pretend that everything is okay, it is not very popular to say that we are sinners. However, if you look at your life, you know it to be true. Nobody is perfect. We have all sinned, and the big issue, the real bad news, is that our sin separates us from God.
Why does sin separate us from God? If God really wants to have a relationship with us, why doesn’t he just overlook our sinfulness? The reason he does not, cannot, do this is because he is holy, which means perfect. God’s perfection cannot allow sinfulness into his presence. It is an insult to him. He cannot stand it. So, rather than have the relationship with us that he designed us for, he has separated us from him. This has three results in our lives:
- If we were created to have a relationship with God but cannot have it, we experience a lack of purpose that we cannot fix. We try to satisfy ourselves through distractions in this world, but ultimately, they do not fulfill.
- We cannot fix this problem ourselves. We are sinful and there is nothing we can do about it. Many people think that getting to heaven is a scale. If their good works outweigh their bad works, God will let them in. It doesn’t work that way. Even if we could somehow live perfectly from this point on, we have already blemished our lives with sin. We have fallen short.
- If we die separated from God, then we have to continue in that separation. We cannot spend eternity with God. Instead, we spend eternity in hell, a place of separation.
This is indeed bad news.
The Good News
The good news is that even though we could not do anything to fix this sin problem, God could, and he did. John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that gave his one and only son (Jesus) that whosoever believes in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” Romans 6:23 tells us that “The wages of sin is death…” Jesus, who is God, took on human flesh (see Philippians 2:5-8), lived a perfect life (see I Peter 2:21-22), then died in our place. He took the penalty of our sin upon himself, and thus provided for us the opportunity to receive his righteousness (see II Corinthians 5:21). In the Jewish temple, there was a veil that hung as a symbol of our separation from God. When Jesus died on the cross, that veil tore (see Matthew 27:50-51), indicating that the way had been opened up for us to have a relationship with God. The good news is that God fixed what we could not.
However the good news does not end there. What would you pay for this salvation from sin? What would you pay considering that the cost was the blood of Jesus Christ? What could God charge us for this? The answer is that it is priceless and God could charge us whatever he wants. However, he chose to make this a gift. In Romans 6:23, after we are told that the wages of sin is death, we find out that “…the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Ephesians 2:8-9, we are told that “For it is by grace you have been saved,” meaning that it is a gift that we do not deserve, “through faith,” more on that in a moment, “and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” God made this relationship available to us as a gift.
So, how do we receive this gift? We saw in Ephesians 2:8 that it is through faith. It is about belief. Belief in what? It is the belief that Jesus is God, that he died on the cross, and that his death can pay the penalty of your sin. In is the belief that if you ask him to save you, he can and will. It is the belief that Jesus can set you free from sin and the penalty thereof. Romans 10:9 tells us that “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” John 1:12 tells us that, “to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave them the right to become children of God.” We are washed clean of sin and the relationship is healed.
Do you want to receive this gift? Then ask for it. Talk to God. Tell him that you recognize the sin in your life and the toll it has taken on your relationship with him. Tell him that you do not want that sin and separation anymore (the Bible calls this repenting). Tell him that you believe that Jesus is Lord and that Jesus has paid the penalty of your sin by dying on the cross. Tell him you want that gift. You want to live for him. He will save you. He will make you one of his children.
Once you receive Jesus, two major things will change in your life. The first is that you will now be free to have a relationship with God. This means that you will have purpose. Grow in that relationship. Pray to God faithfully. Read his Word, the Bible (If you do not have a copy, let us know. We can get one for you). Find a group of believers that can help you to grow (we would recommend Millgrove Bible Church, but there are other good churches out there), and meet with them regularly. The second thing that will change is that the purpose you have will be redefined. God has a plan for you (see Ephesians 2:10). As you grow in him, he will help you to understand the plans that he has for you and to live those out.
If you have any questions, please contact me, Pastor Josh, at 716-937-7926 or through our contact form. Share your story with me. If there is anything I can do to help you in your walk with Christ, I would be more than happy to do so.