Good News!

What is the Good News? The Gospel!

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

– Mark 1:15

By this gospel you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…

– 1 Cor. 15:2-6

1. What is the gospel?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the summary explanation of who he is and what he did. The word gospel literally means “good news”. It’s good news because it’s an answer to a problem. Therefore, in order to understand the gospel, we must first understand the problem.

So…what’s the problem?

Problem: Worthiness, or our lack thereof.

Worthy means to be deserving. Do you deserve to go to heaven when you die; are you deserving of good things in return for the life you’ve lived?

The Bible’s unequivocal position is that you do not, regardless of the amount of good or bad you have done, and regardless of your worldview, be it atheist, Christian, Muslim, agnostic, etc. Let me explain why.

Most people do live pretty good lives. We can be kind to others, volunteer for charities, give money, and so forth. But by the same token, no one is perfect. Besides our good deeds, you and I have also committed unworthyacts. We’ve each committed various injustices like lying, law-breaking, leaving some kind act undone, not being grateful, unfairly judging someone, and so forth.

Are those injustices really worthy of the ultimate good in return? Or if this helps drive the point home, consider the case of the people who have committed injustices against youDo people who have robbed from you or hurt you deserve the same heaven as those who gave to you or helped you?The people who have injured you or treated you like dirt – do they deserve the same reward as those who loved you and were your friends?

They don’t. Injustice does not deserve to be rewarded at all. If we are to accept that there is justice, either in this world or the next, then the consequence of unjust acts must be different from that of just acts.Even secular law reflects this: Justice and associated behaviors incur better consequences (rewards) than injustice. Injustice incurs either the subtraction of reward, or the addition of punishment, or both.

If the universe is a product of God, then he is our moral judge. And what is a moral judge to do with the injustices of which you and I are guilty? Should good result from evil? Might our good aspects cancel out our bad?

Inescapably, things like thoughtlessness, hurtful words, and pain that you and I caused cannot be taken back. We can no more undo our past sins than we can recall ripples on a lake. Their influence proceeds outward across time and history, touching more lives and for a longer period of time than perhaps we ever wished or imagined.

We all hate pain and suffering and injustice, yet we acknowledge this awful truth: we have each been someone else’s worker of iniquity. We have all been someone else’s thoughtless stranger, someone else’s hurtful friend. You and I are undeserving. I say this not to put you down, but to reveal everyone’s deplorable position before a perfect and just God.

What is the consequence of what we have done? What punishment does the guilt of our injustices merit?

The Bible reveals to us with painful clarity that in God’s court, the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Eternal death, or eternal separation from God, for any sin whatsoever. Worse punishment for worse sins (Luke 12:47-48), but zero access to God’s presence (heaven) for anything less than perfection.

Why is this? Why such an impossible, unachievably high standard?
The Character of God.

The character of God is our problem, and yet it is also our salvation.

God is “holy, holy, holy”. He is utterly set apart from all that we know, and pure in a way that is hard to comprehend. I cannot comprehend him beyond what he has revealed in the Bible, but what he has revealed is that he is holyhe is just, and he is love. He created each of us in order to love us and have us enjoy him forever. What he will not have in his presence, however, is sin.

Sin is anything antithetical to his holy, just, loving nature; our injustices mentioned above as an example. Those things God hates and keeps removed at a distance from himself. He would indeed destroy them immediately if we, those he loves, were not immersed in them so deeply.

Again, who is worthy of this perfect love? Who is so pure they are compatible with the holy presence of God? None of us. Neither you nor I. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We are each spiritual losers deserving of eternal separation from any and all of God’s glory. That is the problem. But it is also here where the solution so mercifully enters in – the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is one who is worthy of the glory of heaven and his name is Jesus. God himself came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Referred to as the Son of God, or Messiah (in Hebrew), or Christ (in Greek), and long prophesied throughout the Old Testament to come, Jesus first and foremost lived a life that was finally worthy of good in return. To Jesus alone did God say, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17). Jesus alone perfectly obeyed God’s laws. Jesus alone loved with a perfect love. Jesus alone committed no sin.

More than just coming to teach us and serve as our example for living, Jesus also came to die. When Jesus died upon the cross, he took upon himself sin’s penalty of death on behalf of all who will believe and follow him. Only Jesus was capable of dying for another’s sin because only he was without sin; he had no personal sin-debt to pay.

How could Jesus transact this?

While God’s holiness keeps us at a distance from him, and God’s justicerequires that sin and sinners be dealt with, it is God’s love and mercy that we have to thank for providing the one way we can become holy and enter his presence. That way was for God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, to bear his own legal consequence of our sins for us. Jesus could transact this because:

  • Jesus’ characteristic of holiness enabled him to live a life free of sin, perfectly obeying all his laws, which qualified him to serve as our guiltless substitute (foreshadowed by the Old Testament’s sacrificial use of spotless lambs),
  • Jesus’ characteristics of being both just and eternal permitted his substitutionary death on the behalf of others, which fully satisfied his law, and enabled him to survive the grave; plus…
  • Jesus’ characteristic of love led him to endure that ultimate penalty on our behalf so that all who believe in him will be imputed with his own holy righteousness and thereby qualify to enjoy his glory forever.

So what does it mean to “Believe in Jesus”?

If you believe in Jesus, then you recognize and admit your sinfulness; you repent of each and all your sins. 
In other words, you acknowledge them to be the rebellion against God which Jesus proclaims they are. You utterly forsake them; all of them when you first come to Christ, and then individually when they arise during your continuance in the faith. If in reverence and humility you ask God for forgiveness, he promises to place your guilt upon the cross of Christ, wiping your own record clean.

Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, – Acts 3:17-19

If you repent, then it was your penalty for sin that Jesus bore on that cross. As Isaiah prophecied more than six hundred years before Christ’s atoning act (53:5-6):

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

If Jesus paid for your sins, God’s wrath over your sin debt no longer remains. In exchange for the payment of Jesus’ life, the righteous worth of Jesus’ life is now extended to you, and you are saved from eternal separation from the Lord. Because Jesus himself was without sin, he rose again from the dead to be with God the Father; providing us with the utter certainty of who he was. Jesus now reigns from heaven with all authority given to Him; his salvation work accomplished, his life for yours, your spiritual debt paid in full.

If your sin debt was fully paid by Jesus, then the life you’re living now fully belongs to him. You are a new creation, a continuation of Jesus Christ’s life; you are no longer your own. The words you choose, the actions you take, the people you touch: it should all be as Christ. Jesus-the-hand in you-the-glove. To the extent you’re living the life of Christ, you are worthy. Christ’s essential commission for you: ‘I’ll finish your life; you finish mine’.

If you are living Christ’s life, not only is he in you, but the Bible says you are in him. That might be how, in the spiritual sense, the moment you believe, your old self effectively died back on that cross two thousand years ago. Consider every core aspect about you as crucified; your pride, your selfishness, your lusts, your will, every sinful aspect of your soul – now all dead to the world, but alive to Jesus Christ.

Not being physically dead, of course, and still subject to sin until you are, God commands you to be a living sacrifice. Every day you are to put to death what resembles your old self and grow closer to God. Filling yourself with his Holy Spirit whom Jesus has sent to help each and every believer, you are to persevere over the inclination to sin, and thereby grow towards the goal of living in perfect and continual communion with the Father.

Love the Father as Jesus loved him; serve as he served, obey as he obeyed. That is being a Christian; or literally a “little Christ”.

The gospel is thus humanity’s single hope for eternal life; a call to repentance, self-denial, submission to the will and authority of God, and following in the teachings, love, joy, and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That is what it means to believe in Jesus. If you truly believe in him, you act in concert with his living presence. If you are in concert with him, you not only share in his death on the cross, but you share in his righteousness, or spiritual worthiness. By sharing in his worthiness, you are enabled to share in his eternal life. Have faith that Jesus has accomplished all of this for you, for that is the good news, and that is the only way anyone is ever rescued to heaven.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

– Acts 4:12 [emphasis mine]

If you believe the wonderful message presented above and want to be reconciled to our loving God, then follow the these directions:    

Just pray in your own words and from your heart:

Oh, God, I know I am a sinner.

I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior, and when He died,

He was buried and rose again from the dead.

I believe He paid and purchased my salvation for me.

I know that His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for


This moment, I place my trust in Him as my Savior.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the wonderful gift of God!

In Jesus’ name I pray and ask these things, Amen.



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