The Gospel

THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST

And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

Jesus' words in the Gospel of John 17:3


What it means to be a Christian: The most important thing for any person in this world to know is if He is a true Christian, a true child of God. There has been much debate and confusion over this question throughout the centuries, and it is paramount that every individual knows the answer, for his eternal destiny is at stake, either eternal life in heaven, or eternal wrath in hell.

First of all, it is important to understand that being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Becoming and being a Christian means you have embraced the truth about God, mankind, and salvation that is found in the Bible. Consider the following truths. John 8:31-32

God is Sovereign Creator: The truth, as the Bible tells us, is that man was created by a personal God, not as modern thinking incorrectly says, that man is the product of evolution. Since God is the creator, than He has complete authority over our lives. And since we are His creations, made in His own image, than we Him absolute allegiance, worship, and obedience. We need to realize that God made us so that we could have a relationship with Him, and so that we could fulfill His purposes. God knows what is best for our lives, that we are to love and serve Him, and to enjoy endless fellowship with Him.

God is Holy. God is perfectly holy and altogether righteous. (Isaiah 6:3). Therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil. God requires holiness of all people, and must judge all those who are not holy. 1 Peter 1:16 says, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." God can't accept or approve of anyone who is not holy, of anyone who is evil, of anyone who sins (James 1:13).

Mankind is Sinful: The Bible tells us that all men are sinners, and have sinned against God. "There is no man who does not sin" (1 Kings 8:46). This sin is seen in that man does not love and worship God, but in fact ignores God, disobeys His laws, and rebels against His authority. Men then become gods unto themselves. And this root sin of not loving God results in idolatry and many other sins - anger, pride, coveting, selfishness, immorality, laziness, loving pleasure, disobedience, etc. Consequently, man falls short of God's perfect standard. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:10-12, 23).

Sin Demands a Penalty: Man has sinned against holy God, and therefore man is guilty before God. God's justice demands that all sinners be punished by death - physical, spiritual and eternal death.  "The wages of sin is death." Romans 6:23. Physical death means that man's body must die. Spiritual death means that man's soul is separated from God; and because of his sin, he has no relationship, no fellowship with God. Ephesians 2:1-4. Eternal death means that man is eternally separated from God, and is forever punished in hell for his sins. "If anyone's name is not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." (Matthew 25:46, Revelation 20:15).

Oftentimes, people think they need to be good to please God, and to "get on his good side," but they don't realize they need to be perfect. Doing good works, going to church, giving money, an "above average" lifestyle, or changing your pattern of behavior do not satisfy God's demands for perfect justice. None of these works of man can take away God's penalty for sins, which is death. "Our righteous deeds are like filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6).

Jesus is Lord and Savior: The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the creator of all things, all life, and all people, and that He is Lord of all. Therefore He has authority over all our lives. The Bible also makes it clear that Jesus Christ was sent by God to this earth to become our Savior. He became a man, lived a perfect life, died in our place, and then rose again from the dead. Even though God's justice demands that sinners die for their sins, His love provided a Savior, Jesus Christ. By dying for us, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins, the penalty that we should have paid. Jesus was punished by His Father for our sake, for God poured out His wrath on Christ when He was dying on the cross. "For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18, Romans 5:8). Christ's death satisfied the demands of God's justice and enabled Him to save and forgive those who trust completely in Him and in His death and resurrection. (Romans 3:26)

Repentance and Faith: "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in the Lord Jesus." (Acts 20:21, Luke 3:3). Repentance is agreeing with God about your sin. It's recognizing that you are a sinner and that you have sinned against a holy God. It is openly admitting and confessing your sins to God; it is expressing your sorrow towards God for your sin, and your desire to turn from your sin and pursue God and Christ. Repentance involves a change in thinking about your sin, but it also involves a change of heart and attitude towards your sin.

Faith is also necessary for salvation. Faith means that you know and believe certain facts about Jesus Christ. It means you are trusting in Christ alone, believing in Him and in His death on the cross to save you from your sins. Salvation from our sins is wholly by God's grace on the basis of the redeeming work of Christ, and not on the basis of human merit or works. "By grace you are saved through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:9). "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Romans 10:9,  John 5:24). All those who are saved are kept by God's power, and are thus safe and secure in Christ forever. (1 Peter 1:3-5, Romans 8:28)

The New Life: Your salvation in Christ results in many great blessings. "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor. 5:17, Phil. 1:6.). At the moment of salvation you are immediately justified and forgiven of all your sins. You receive eternal life, a permanent and personal relationship with God. You become a child of God, a follower of Christ, and a member of the church. Not only that, God begins to transform you, indwelling you with the Holy Spirit so that you can grow in holiness, enjoy fellowship with Him, and fulfill His purpose for your life. (Ephesians 2:10). After you have finished God's work for you on earth, then you will immediately be taken to heaven to forever be with God and Christ, and with all the other angels and saints. 

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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