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The Gospel

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What is the Gospel? 

The Gospel is the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. It is summarized in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 as the good news about Christ's death for our sins in accordance with the Hebrew Scriptures, His burial, His resurrection on the third day, and His physical appearance to the apostles subsequent to His resurrection. This summary should be fleshed out by asking three questions: What is sin? Why did Christ die and rise? How can we be saved?

What is sin?

Sin is two things. First, it is the cosmic power that compels the world, especially the human nature, to militate against God. Ever since the fall of man described in Genesis 3, all people have been conceived corrupt, enslaved to this cosmic power. Second, sin is disobedience to the law of God. Like any crime, sin incurs judgment. Romans 6:23 says, "the wages of sin is death," and Jesus makes it clear that, on the last day, He will judge the living and the dead. Some will live in eternal joy with God, and some will go to eternal suffering in hell (Matt. 25:31-46).

The Scriptures teach in Romans 3:10-12, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Since all have sinned and are therefore unrighteous, all people are bound to eternal suffering in hell as the just punishment for their sins.

Why did Christ Die and Rise?

Although God is a just judge and will most certainly judge the sins of mankind, the Scriptures also teach that God is love. "Because of His great love with which He loved us" (Eph. 2:4), God became a man in the person of His only Son, Jesus Christ, and lived a perfect human life. He never once sinned; He is perfectly righteous. Jesus Christ became a man so that He could give His perfect life as a substitute for mankind in receiving the penalty for our sins. 700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah the prophet said this about Jesus Christ in Isaiah 53:4-6:

 

"Surely He took up our pain

and bore our suffering,

yet we considered Him punished by God,

stricken by Him, and afflicted.

But He was pierced for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,

and by His wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to our own way;

and the LORD has laid on Him

the iniquity of us all."

Simply put, Jesus Christ was crucified in order to bear the wrath of God in place of guilty sinners. His death was the righteous for the unrighteous; the perfect for the corrupt. We deserve the wrath of God in hell, but instead, Christ bore His Father's wrath on the cross so that we could be forgiven and counted righteous in God's eyes.

Three days after His death on the cross, Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead and was seen by the apostles. The Scriptures make it clear that Christ rose from the dead in order to secure our own resurrection as well -- spiritually now, and physically when Christ returns (Eph. 2:6; 1 Cor. 15:22-26). All who are in Christ are given new life and have assurance that, at the return of Christ, they will rise again to a glorious and eternal life with God because Christ rose from the dead and defeated death.

How Can We Be Saved?

The Scriptures teach that repentance and faith are what is required to be saved from one's sins and gain eternal life. Repentance is the change of heart that occurs when one's eyes are opened to the glory of Christ. It results in the reformation of the sinful life and cessation from patterns of disobedience that hinder the Christian's pursuit of God. Initial repentance is never already perfected, but rather results in continuous repentance from sin as God continually makes the Christian's heart holier.

Faith is genuine belief in the Christian faith and reliance upon Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins. Faith therefore involves two things: intellectual persuasion concerning the truths of the Bible and actual reliance on Jesus Christ for redemption.

Whoever repents of their sins and trusts in Jesus Christ has eternal life. Jesus Christ said in John 5:24, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." If you trust in Jesus Christ, you will not be eternally punished for your sins. Instead, you will be given the reward of the righteous life Christ lived: eternal glory.

What Next?

Upon repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ, the Christian, in obedience to the commands of Jesus Christ, must be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). The Holy Spirit has chosen the local church as the means of continued encouragement in the Christian life and as the vessel that spreads the gospel in the world (Heb. 10:24-25; Eph. 3:10). Therefore, a Christian should join a local church in which the Gospel is rightly preached, the Word of God is proclaimed, and Baptism and the Lord's Supper are practiced.

If you have any questions about the Gospel, the Christian life, being baptized, or our local church, feel free to contact us.

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