What is the Gospel?
If you are like most people living in the south, you've probably heard the word, "gospel" meaning "The Good News" of what a good God has done for bad people. You've probably also heard of -Jesus?, the guy who died on a wooden cross and rose from the dead. But what you may not have heard is why this man died on that cross and why the gospel is such good news.
Well it all starts with God. GOD is the only God, the Holy and Just creator of the universe, and he created us for his glory, (Rev 4:11); that is, we were created to live lives that show off how glorious, perfect and beautiful God truly is (1 Cor 10:31). But we have all failed to glorify God in this way this is what the Bible calls sin (Rom 3:23).
What is SIN? ...is sin just doing bad stuff? No, sin is a failure to be perfectly righteous like God... in how we act... in our attitude... in our nature. We are sinners because of what we do -break God's commands. We are sinners because of what we love & desire -creation, not Creator. We are sinners because of what we are -humans born from other humans. Many people say, 'I'm a good person, I do good things, God will forgive me." But the Bible says, (Is 64:6) "all our righteous deeds are polluted garments" Literally meaning (dirty menstrual rags). That's what our best works are worth when we stand before God to be judged. To hand your kindness, faithful church attendance, memorized Bible verses, sincerity repeating the sinners prayer, tears, mission trips, etc, to God in hopes of receiving forgiveness from him is actually an offensive to him, its spitting in God's face. So the morally clean church member and rebellious God-hater or both guilty before God as sinners, and fully deserve eternal death and torment under God's righteous wrath in hell (Rom 1:18). That may sound harsh because it is, "The penalty for sin is death" (Rom 6:23). Even one sin against an eternal God, is fully deserving of an eternal punishment.
Your probably thinking? "Where's the good news, I thought gospel meant good news"? It does, here's the good news ...JESUS. The good news is... we are guilty, but Jesus is innocent. We are sinners, Jesus is sinless. We failed to glory God, Jesus glorified God -perfectly! Because Jesus was the commandment keeper, he can save commandment breakers! The Bible says, "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" therefore "we shall be saved by him from the wrath of God" (Rom 5:8-9). Jesus was God damned in your place. Here's how this works... "For our sake he(God) made him(Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21). Some call this "The Great Exchange", Jesus gets our sin, we get Jesus' righteousness. The mortal blow of God's wrath that should have pounded us, instead pounded his Son, and "it pleased the Lord to crush him, when his soul makes an offering for sin" (Is 53:10). And Jesus proved that he made the offering for sin and accomplished our salvation, by rising from the dead (1 Cor 15:4). This is good news!
The Bible says, in light of what God has accomplished in Christ, we should respond with repentance and faith (Mark 1:15) "Repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). Repentance is turn your back on sin and turn your face to Jesus -Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out" (Acts 3:19/26:20). Faith means we trust Jesus' death fully satisfied God's wrath on our sins "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31) Faith is being satisfied in God as you live for Jesus. Jesus said, "He who believes in me, shall never thirst" (Jn 6:35). When we love, trust and believe all of what God has done for us in Christ, God is glorified in us and we are satisfied in him -forever.
Some people think forgiveness is the greatest thing about salvation, but forgiveness is only a means to an end, forgiveness makes it possible for bad people o be brought back to a good God. "For Christ suffered once for sin, the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). The good news of the gospel is that... we get to enjoy God -forever!!!