Have you ever heard the Gospel? The real Gospel, that is? Not a gospel of man’s imagination or of some religious institution, but the Gospel according to the Bible! Have you ever heard it? Has anyone ever explained it to you?
The word gospel means “good news.” It is the good news message “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3,4).
The Good News is…Christ Died for Our Sins
Before you can understand or appreciate the good news, you need to hear the bad news. Why did the Lord Jesus Christ die on the cross? The scripture says, “For our sins!” Dear reader, the reason you need to hear and believe the Gospel is because you are a sinner.
God says: “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16). His standard of holiness is His written Law [the ten commandments]. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). Violating just one of God’s commandments makes you a lawbreaker: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). Yes, it just takes one sin to make us a sinner, but the reality is that you are guilty of committing many sins. The Bible declares: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10);“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory [holy standard] of God” (Romans 3:23).
The Bible says: “the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). No doubt your family, your friends, and your acquaintances have many good things to say about you, but as God looks upon your heart, He sees you as a sinner through and through: a sinner by birth, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies” (Psalm 58:3); a sinner by nature, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9); a sinner by deed, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17); and a sinner by choice, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19). Furthermore, there is absolutely nothing you can do to change yourself: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jeremiah 13:23). You can dress up your outward appearance with religion, good deeds, and clean living. You may impress men, but you cannot change your heart. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
Sin has consequences in this life and the next! “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The entrance of sin into God’s perfect creation brought immediate spiritual death, “Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God” (Genesis 3:8); and the sentence of physical death, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). But sin also condemned man to an eternal death — the awfulness of being separated from God for eternity, forever!! The Bible says: “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This judgment is not one to see if your “good” outweighs your “bad,” for there can be no sin in Heaven, not one! “And there shall in no wise enter into it [the Heavenly city] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). Judgment Day offers you no hope — only eternal condemnation: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life:…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12,15).
That’s the bad news. You are a sinner, lost, and facing a Christless eternity without any hope — forever! Thank God for the good news! Christ died for our sins. You see, God hates your wickedness but He loves you! He cannot (and will not) overlook or excuse even one of your sins, yet He desires to save you from Hell and bring you into a personal relationship with Himself. God’s righteousness and God’s love have met and are satisfied in Jesus Christ: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The Son of God bore no sin of His own. He is “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26); He “did no sin” (I Peter 2:22). As Jesus hung upon the cross almost 2,000 years ago, God the Father literally “made him to be sin for us” (II Corinthians 5:21). Yes, Jesus took your place. He paid your debt — IN FULL! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit” (I Peter 3:18); “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24).
The payment God demanded for your sin was the blood of His own dear Son. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:24); His precious blood can cover and cleanse all your sins: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7); “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14).
The Good News is…Christ Rose Again
The Bible declares that Christ “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). If He just died and was buried, we could never really know if His offering for our sins was sufficient. If Christ remained in the tomb, He’d be just another dead founder of another dead religion. But the Bible triumphantly proclaims, “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:23,24).
Because of His resurrection we can stand justified before our Creator. Justified means, “Just-if-I’d never sinned!” “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1); “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Romans 5:9,10); “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).
Dear reader, can you not see that the Gospel is indeed “good news!?” The Bible says Christ “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Timothy 1:10).
What Must I Do to Be Saved?
It is not enough to know these facts, as true as they are. Jesus said: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Salvation is freely offered to every sinner, but it is a gift that must be received: “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). To be saved, you must personally receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
Effectually believing the Gospel requires repentance and faith on your part. Repentance means a change of mind. Whereas before you thought of yourself as good enough to get to heaven, you now realize you are a sinner that needs Jesus Christ as your Saviour. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Repentance involves a 180 turn around. Whereas you are walking down the broad way “that leadeth to destruction,” you must willingly turn to Christ by faith; enter in at the “strait gate,” and take the narrow way “which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:13,14). Faith simply means believing — taking God at His Word. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).
Salvation is a heart and a mouth matter: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9,10). To confess with the mouth is to call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, receiving Him as your Lord and Saviour, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Dear reader, if you have taken the time to carefully read this guide, then you have heard the Gospel. The question now becomes, “What will you do about it?” Will you believe, or will you reject it? The Gospel comes with a gracious invitation: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). Will you not right now come to Christ on His terms and receive Him as your personal Saviour?
“Knowing that in God’s sight I am a sinner and that Christ died for the ungodly, and desiring to turn from my sins and myself, I now receive the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, from henceforth to live for Him Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
A Solemn Warning
There is one who will do all he can to keep you from hearing and believing the Gospel. Please read: II Corinthians 4:3,4.
There are many false gospels that are contrary to the Word of God. Please read: Galatians 1:7-9.
There is a clear and present danger in rejecting the Gospel. Please read: II Thessalonians 1:7-9.