The word gospel means good news. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of His coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who believe.
Ever since Adam and Eve’s original sin in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been under the condemnation of God (Romans 5:12). Since He is holy, He cannot abide the blemish of any sin so our fellowship with Him is hindered when we walk in sin (Romans 3:23).
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
We never outgrow our need for the Gospel because Jesus is the center of the Gospel. The story of Jesus and His sacrifice for all people isn’t something we graduate from. As long as we are sinners… we need to be reminded of the Good News. From Genesis to the book of Revelation, we realize the Bible is one unfolding story of God’s love and saving grace toward sinners. The Christian faith isn’t complicated. It is simply ALL ABOUT JESUS.
The Greek word Euangelion means Good News. The Gospel is taken from the idea of a runner announcing GOOD NEWS to those in the capital that victory was achieved on the battlefield.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1 (NKJV)
“And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27 (NKJV)
God’s standard for us is to keep the 10 commandments, but we can’t live by God’s standard. We were born with a sin nature and our nature is predisposed to love everything besides God. We love “self” more than God. We love wrong more than right. Our hearts are totally opposed to our heavenly Father. We are naturally rebellious toward God. Thus, we are dead in our trespasses.
Attempting to live by the 10 commandments can leave a believer in despair. Just be good is easier said than done! Jesus said in 1 Peter 1:16, “Be holy, for I am holy.” Has God set us up to fail? Is He asking too much of children? God reveals our short-comings and failures. To leave it in our hands with mere human effort puts a weight on us that is impossible to bear.
How can sinful man be reconciled to a just God? A God whose justice demands punishment? Yes, we are not good enough to live up to God’s standard but with Jesus covering us with His blood we become righteous for He is our righteousness. We owe a debt to Jesus who bore our sins, took them to the cross, and suffered the wrath of God which we deserve. We have forgiveness through Him and walk in His righteousness because He is rich in mercy.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” John 14:6
Some believers might say, I can’t do enough to please God so why even try. I’ll live to my own pleasures. But Christianity is not about doing works to earn salvation. We cannot earn salvation by being GOOD. A be good message damns believers for it will lead to either pride or despair.
The story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-22 is an example of human pride and performance. “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” It is not our acts of kindness and servitude that gain us an eternal home. Justification is the act of being declared righteous in the sight of God even though we are guilty of sin (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are justified by faith alone in Christ Jesus and not by works. Our faith in Jesus provides salvation and out of our faith the fruit of good works become evident. A regenerated heart produces fruit.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”
We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, according to scripture alone, all for the glory of God alone. (Acts 15:1) Jesus did not come to save people who do their part but rather He came to accomplish it and give it freely to all.
Other religions require good works to gain eternal life. They are reconciled to God by their own virtue, morality, and work. They must earn the right of eternal life. A Christian is the only person who can say they are going to heaven without being self-righteous. They are not recognized by their own virtue or merit. Rather, we are reconciled to God through the merit and sacrifice of Jesus. The Gospel is not what must I do but what has Jesus done? The Gospel holds the promise that we will be changed from within, to our very core. The more we grow in the understanding of the Gospel, the more we will grow in devotion, worship, and our love of God.
*Inspired by the documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone