The Gospel (Good News) Explained

The Bible teaches that God is absolutely holy and pure. And because this is his nature, he hates sin of any kind. God is also perfectly just in all he does. And because his justice is perfect, he cannot permit our sins to go unpunished. Finally, God is a loving God. And because of his great love, he still desires to save us from the punishment we deserve, even though we have rebelled against him.

According to Scripture, the punishment for sin is death (separation from God).

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The only hope for humanity is if God were to provide some means by which sinful people could be forgiven and made pure in his sight, so that they could then spend eternity in his presence. God has made a way, but there is only one way! This only way is found in and through the person of Jesus Christ.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

I John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Acts 4:12
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

But how is Jesus able to provide forgiveness and still satisfy God's justice? The answer is that God himself took the punishment we deserve upon himself when he died on the cross.

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God the Son left Heaven, became a man born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, performed many miracles that testified to his deity, and then gave his life as a sacrifice for us. This innocent Lamb is the one who died in our place so that we might receive eternal life.

John 1:29
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"

Of course, if Jesus just died for us, he would be little more than a martyr or well-meaning prophet who gave his life for a cause. What makes him unique is that he was sinless and also rose from the dead. Christianity is nothing without the resurrection!

I Corinthians 15:3-8
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

I Corinthians 15:14
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

I Corinthians 15:17
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.

I Corinthians 15:20
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

So God offers us eternal life through his Son; but like any gift offered, it must also be received. So how does one receive this gift? The answer can be summarised with three words beginning with "R."

1. Recognise your condition
2. Repent of your sin
3. Receive God's gift of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ

First, we must recognise that we are a sinful people in need of God's forgiveness.

I John 1:8
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Secondly, we must repent of our sin. This means that we must turn away from our sinful, selfish ways, so that we can then turn to God.

Acts 2:38
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."

II Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret.

Luke 15:10
"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

Thirdly, we must receive God's only provision for our cleansing and forgiveness. This involves placing our trust is Jesus' death and resurrection as our only means of salvation and entry into God's heaven.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

John 1:10-12
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

It is important to clarify at this point that there is nothing we can do to earn the gift of eternal life. Simply deciding to "turn over a new leaf" or to "do your best to live a good life" is not enough, and is tantamount to saying that God's provision of a Saviour was unnecessary. Whoever holds such a view is deceived and is actually trusting in himself, not in the work of Jesus on the cross. If we choose to trust in anything other than the finished work of Christ on the cross, including our own good deeds, we have rejected God's only way of salvation.

Titus 3:4-5
But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.

Galatians 2:16
A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works so that no one can boast.

So we now know that works are not the means by which we obtain eternal life, but as the following verses clarifies, works are still important to God. Once we turn our lives over to his control and accept Jesus as our Saviour, God wants us to begin living lives that honour him and that are filled with good works.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

John 15:8
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."

Turning one's life over to God's control is the most important decision anyone can ever make. But it is not one to be made without careful consideration of the cost involved.

Matthew 10:37-39
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Luke 14:33
"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

But once a person decides to surrender all to Jesus, this life-changing decision can be made through a prayer as simple as this one:

God, I know that I am a sinner separated from you. Thank you for loving me enough to send Jesus Christ to die in my place and to pay the penalty for my sins. I now turn from my sins, giving you full control of my life. I believe that Jesus Christ is my only hope for salvation, and I now trust in his finished work for me on the cross. Help me now to begin living a life that is pleasing to you as I seek to follow the teachings of your Word. Amen.

God's desire is that anyone who has placed their trust in Jesus Christ be confident that their destiny has been forever altered.

I John 5:13
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

And once you give him your life, God's Holy Spirit comes and lives with you to teach, comfort, convict, and assure you of your salvation.

Romans 8:16
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.

John 14:16-17
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever: the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you."

Ephesians 1:13-14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession to the praise of his glory.

The Bible also warns that there is a place, commonly referred to as "hell," which is the eternal destiny for all who will not repent of their sins and come to God through his Son, Jesus Christ. It is a place that was originally created by God for Satan and his demons.

Matthew 25:41
Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

It is a place of eternal torment away from the presence of God.

Revelation 20:11-15
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened. Another book was opened which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:6-8
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death."

II Thessalonians 1:8-9
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.

Mark 9:43-48
"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched."

Matthew 13:40-43
"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."

Matthew 10:28
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

For the follower of Christ, however, there is no longer the fear of death that unbelievers continually experience. Once a person receives God's forgiveness, a huge weight of guilt is lifted off their shoulders, and they are then free to serve God, without fear of what lies beyond the grave.

II Corinthians 15:55-57
Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In fact, the Christian even looks forward to death and the return of Jesus (whichever comes first), because when that day comes, he or she will be free from sin, and will be ushered into the presence of God forever.

II Corinthians 5:6-9
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

If you have never recognized your sinful condition before God, repented of your sin, and received God's gift of eternal life by trusting in Jesus as your Saviour, then you need to do so. Please don't wait until it is too late.