What is the Gospel?
So glad you asked! Simply put, the gospel is the incredible news that God's forgiveness and favor have been won by Jesus Christ through his death for sin on behalf of any who would turn from their sin and trust in his righteousness. While the full story of the gospel spans 66 books written by dozens of authors on multiple continents over a thousand years - the central story has four main elements:
A Holy God - The fundamental reality of the universe is God. He was before all things and created all things and now holds all things together. God, as perfectly righteous, all-powerful, and infintely-good made everything in the universe to reflect and display his glory. In other words, we were made by Him, live through Him, and exist for Him. How we relate to Him is the most important question any person can ever ask.
A Sinful Man - Mankind, the pinnacle of God's creation, was originally created perfect and free of any sin or defect. There was perfect intimacy between God the Father and his children. However, mankind chose to believe the lie that God was withholding something good from him and so he rejected God's rule and chose to go his own way. This rebellion destroyed his perfect relationship with his Heavenly Father and introduced sin and death into a world that has never recovered. All the pain, sickness, misery, evil, and death that are now a part of our world are mere symptoms of man's deeper underlying disease - SIN.
A Perfect Savior - Although no human had ever lived a life worthy of God's love and forgiveness, God continued to pursue his people. He taught them what he demanded of his people through His Law (holiness) as well as what their sins demanded through the OT sacrificial system (innocent blood). God's enduring love for his people, as well as his righteous standards, and mankind's inability/unwillingness to conquer their sin meant that if mankind were to be saved someone else would have to do it. So, almost 2,000 years ago, God sent His son in the person of Jesus Christ to live the life we couldn't live (of perfect holiness) and pay the price we couldn't pay (innocent blood) so that we could be with Him forever.
A Repentant Response - Jesus came declaring the message, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." What he was (and is) saying to everyone of us is that absolute forgiveness and cleansing from sin is available to any who will turn from their own sinful path and follow this crucified and risen savior. All we need to do is repent (turn) from our sinful rebellion against God and believe that He can and will save all who put their hope and trust in him. And God's promise to us is that, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead then you will be saved."
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