The Bible is an amazing book with one central theme. That grand theme is the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem sinful people. This is commonly called the Gospel, which means “good news.” Many people today have heard bits and pieces of “the gospel,” but the message revealed in the Bible is often largely unknown. Please take a minute and allow us to share with you the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Bible, God’s Word. Of course, we will not say everything that could be said about the Gospel, but we desire to share with you the good news of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures.
1. THE GOSPEL BEGINS WITH GOD
Humankind is not allowed to define God however they choose. God has revealed Himself through the pages of His Holy Word, the Bible. Here are a few things that the Bible says about God:
God is Creator:
In Genesis 1:1, the Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This means that according to the Bible, God is the one who created the entire universe and everything in it.
God is Holy:
The Bible also makes it very clear that God is holy. Holy means that God is perfect, set apart, and unique. There is nothing like Him, for He is entirely set apart from all His creations. In Isaiah 6:3, the Bible says, “And one (the angels) called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
God is Good & Just:
If God was simply holy, that would be bad news, but God is also wonderfully good and just. Even though humankind is sinful, God is good. In Exodus 34:6-7 the Bible says, “The Lord passed before Moses and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who all by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” In other words, the God of the Bible is a gracious God who delights in forgiving sin and is overflowing with grace and mercy. However, the God of the Bible is also just, which means He cannot ignore sin or turn a blind eye to evil. As Exodus 34 clearly says, God will not “clear the guilty” but will judge those who continue in sin.
The Bible says much more about who God is, so it is not our responsibility to define God but rather to study the Word of God and to know Him as He has defined Himself. The good news of the Gospel begins with believing that the God of the Bible is who He says He is.
2. THE GOSPEL IS NECESSARY BECAUSE ALL PEOPLE ARE SINNERS
The Gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ coming into the world to save sinners. However, the good news of the Gospel assumes that there is also bad news. The bad news is that all men and women who have lived are sinners. According to the Bible, humankind is not basically good, with a few mistakes here and there. No, according to the Bible, all humanity is born in sin. Listen to what God’s Word says about our sins:
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it.”
1 John 3:4 – “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.”
James 2:10 – “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
What these verses say about the condition of all humanity is not pleasant, but it is true. Every one of us sins regularly, whether in our thoughts, words, or actions; sin is a regular part of the human condition.
However, just because sin is typical for all humankind, it does not make it acceptable before God. Not at all! In the Bible, God assures us that He must punish sin because it is ultimately against God. In Psalm 51:3-4, David wrote, “For I know my transgressions (sin), and my sin is ever before me. Against you, and you only, I have sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”
Not only is sin against God, but we learn in Genesis 2:17 that death exists because of sin. God told Adam that if he ate of the forbidden tree, “you shall surely die.” This death refers to physical death, spiritual death, and eternal death. Because of sin, physical death is now a reality. However, because of sin, spiritual and eternal death are also realities. Now, all people who do not repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ as their Savior will experience spiritual and eternal death, which ends in separation from God for all eternity.
In Hebrews 9:27, the Bible says, “Just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” This means that because of sin, God will judge everyone when they die.
The judgment from God for sin is serious. In the Bible, Revelation 20:15 says, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This lake of fire, what is commonly referred to as hell, is a real place. A place where people are punished for all eternity because they did not repent of their sins.
The reality of sin and the necessity of punishment for sin is the “bad news” of the Gospel. But it is imperative to understand the “bad news,” When we begin to understand the bad news, we realize why Jesus had to die in our place and take the punishment we deserved for sin.
3. THE GOSPEL PROCLAIMS THAT JESUS DIED IN YOUR PLACE
Because God is holy and just, He must punish sin. If God turned a blind eye to sin, He would no longer be Holy or Just. But because God is good and abounding in loving kindness, He provides a way for sinful men and women to be reconciled to Himself. This is the excellent, good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Listen to what God says in Romans 5:6-8, “For while we were still weak, Christ died for the ungodly at the right time. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person, one would dare even to die, but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” What an amazing statement! We are the ungodly ones in verse six and the unrighteous ones in verse seven, but Christ Jesus still died for us.
In Colossians 2:13-14, the Word of God tells us precisely what the death of Jesus Christ accomplished for all who repent and believe. “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Apart from Jesus Christ, humankind is described as “dead” or apart from God entirely. But Jesus makes it possible to be truly forgiven of the “record of debt” that stands against every person because of their sin! For all who call upon the name of Jesus will know the joy of being forgiven because Jesus suffered in their place and “canceled the record of debt that stood against us…by nailing it to the cross.”
Not only did Jesus die for you, and not only did He make forgiveness of sins possible for all who repent and believe, but Jesus also took our sin upon Himself, and He gives all who call upon Him perfect righteousness! In 2 Corinthians 5:21, God’s Word says, “For our sake He (God) made Him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God.” This is amazing! Jesus, who never sinned, took upon Himself the sin of all those He would redeem, and therefore, He truly suffered under the wrath of God in our place. And as if that was not enough, He gives to all who call upon Him righteousness in exchange! So not only is the child of God forgiven but they are made righteous by the work of Christ on the cross! Truly this is very good news!
4. THE GOSPEL DEMANDS REPENTANCE
Because of whom God is and because of how sinful mankind is, reconciliation with God necessitated the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. However, the question has yet to be answered, how can a person receive this gift of forgiveness and reconciliation with God?
God’s Word is clear, the only way to be forgiven and reconciled with God is to repent of your sins and turn to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:17, “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus sent his disciples out with a singular message in Mark 6:12, “So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent.”
Peter proclaimed a similar message in Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”
And Paul declared, “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4.
So, what does it mean to repent? It literally means “to turn away.” Repenting from your sins means recognizing that your sins are a heinous offense against a holy God and that because of sin, you deserve eternal punishment. To repent of your sins, then, is to agree with God about your sin, and to cry out to God in faith, believing that Jesus is willing and able to forgive you. God has promised in His Word to save all who repent and believe!
Romans 10:13 – For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
John 3:16-18 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
This brief walk through the good news of Jesus Christ demands a question: have you repented? Have you recognized your sin for what it is and turned from it?
Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified; with the mouth, one confesses and is saved.”
So, the question for you is, have you cried out to God in faith, confessed Jesus as Lord, believe He is risen from the grave, and is calling you to repent of your sins and trust in Him alone by faith alone for the forgiveness of your sins? Jesus is able and willing to save you to the utmost and extends this free, gracious gift of salvation to you by grace alone. Would you trust Him? Come as you are, a beggar in need of mercy, and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior today.