The word gospel means good news. Jesus’ gospel is good news because it
solves the problem of very bad news. What is the bad news? We human
beings no longer have a vital, personal relationship with God. This sad
reality affects all of our relationships. We routinely harm each other, and
we live in disobedience to our Creator.
The bible says it this way: humankind is created in God’s image. God is
very relational, and he designed us to have a relationship with him. This
involves knowing him and sharing the responsibility of ruling the earth
with him in a way that brings him glory.
God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.” SoGod created mankind in his own image, in the image of God hecreated them; male and female he created them. God blessedthem and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fillthe earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birdsin the sky and over every living creature that moves on theground,” (Gen. 1:26-31).
Our Creator shows us where our problems come from. They come from
refusing a relationship with God and his design for our lives. Our
disobedience causes separation from, and shame before God. Humans
ignored God and listened to the devil instead of God (Gen. 3:1-24). This
resulted in separation from God (Is. 59:2). Mercifully, God prevented us
from eating of the tree of life, which would have caused us to live forever
as slaves to Satan and our sin. Death is God’s merciful gift until the
resurrection from the dead, when all who believe in Jesus will be given
All people everywhere have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and now live under the
devil’s control (1 Jn. 5:19). There is no spiritually neutral ground. People
are either in the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Darkness ruled by the
devil (Col. 1:13).
This is why there is so much discord between humans. This is why we are
not getting along with each other, and why many are not in a meaningful
relationship with God.
Is there a solution? This is not something that people have been able to
find on their own. God provided the solution for us. God sent his son,
Jesus, to destroy the devil’s work and liberate enslaved mankind. 1 Jn. 3:8
says, “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has
been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was
to destroy the devil’s work.” Because of his great mercy, God has chosen
not only to destroy the devil’s control over humanity, but also to punish
his own Son with death in the place of his rebellious subjects (Is. 53:5-6;
Heb. 9:26-28; Eph. 2:1-5). God “has rescued us from the dominion of
darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom
we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13-14). This amazing
act of God’s love allowed him to maintain his justice while rescuing the
creatures he loves. He could not ignore all the wrong that we have done.
Nor could he leave us enslaved to sin and Satan.
Rom. 3:25 explains it this way, “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of
atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received by faith.
He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance
he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.”
Eph. 2:1-10 continues the explanation, “As for you, you were deadin your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live whenyou followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of thekingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who aredisobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time,gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires andthoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead intransgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And Godraised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenlyrealms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he mightshow the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in hiskindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have beensaved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the giftof God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’shandiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which Godprepared in advance for us to do.”
The Creator King has chosen to pardon and reconcile to himself all who
repent and swear allegiance to him by putting their faith in Jesus (Mk.
1:15, 8:34-38; 2 Pet. 3:9). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the
life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn. 14:6). “‘The time
has come,’ Jesus said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and
believe the good news!’”(Mk.1:15). The result of faith and repentance is a
real relationship with God. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know
you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (Jn. 17:3).
Humans are restored to a right relationship with our King and Father
through Jesus (1 Pet. 3:18). We begin the process of being renewed into
God’s image by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit received at the moment of
conversion (Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:17-18). Acts 2:38 tells us, “Repent and be
baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness
of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Now in Christ, your life is completely made new (2 Cor. 5:17). God gives
you a new nature and places his Spirit inside of you. You are now a vital
part of his forever family, and begin living your life in the context of his
people and purposes. His will and kingdom is now your life and purpose.
Jesus said, “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born
again,” (Jn. 3:3).
After you have believed in Jesus’ death, and been born again by the Holy
Spirit, you must turn from sin and begin following Jesus as your Lord (King).
This is not an option. 1 Jn. 2:6 says, “Whoever claims to live in him must
live as Jesus did.” Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands,” (Jn.
14:15). Without being born again by the Spirit, no one can live as Jesus did
or keep his commands.
To demonstrate trust in Jesus, and commitment to him as King, new
believers must obey Rom. 10:9, “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.”
You do this by telling others, especially those closest to you, that you are a
Christ-follower, and publicly proclaiming your faith by obeying Christ’s
command to be baptized (Mk. 16:15). God wants all people everywhere to
come to the knowledge of the truth, and to return to a relationship of
worshiping and serving him (1 Tim. 2:3-5).
The movement of all human history is headed toward the great day when
people from all ethnic tribes and languages will stand before him as one
people, worshiping and adoring their great Creator and Savior (Rev. 7:9-
12). Rev. 5:9 says, “And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to
take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your
blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and
people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to
serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.’”
Who are those whom God has pardoned? Only those who choose to enter
the kingdom of God, and live under his rule for their lives. This involves at
least three things:
Trusting Jesus as the only Savior (Jn. 3:16, 18, 36).
Receiving the Holy Spirit (Jn. 3:3-6).
Repenting from all sins (Mk. 1:15; 8:34-38; Acts 2:38).
Acts 4:12 makes clear that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is
no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be
saved.” Jesus makes this demand: “Whoever wants to be my disciple, must
deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever
wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and
for the gospel will save it” (Mk. 8:34-35).
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived andenslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived inmalice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But whenthe kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us,not because of righteous things we had done, but because of hismercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewalby the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously throughJesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace,we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”(Tit. 3:3-7)
God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord
knows those who are his,” and, “everyone who confesses the name of the
Lord must turn away from wickedness,” (2 Tim. 2:19).
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are inChrist Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spiritwho gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Forwhat the law was powerless to do because it was weakened bythe flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinfulflesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, inorder that the righteous requirement of the law might be fullymet in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according tothe Spirit” (Rom. 8:1-4).