The Christian faith is roughly 2,000 years old and at it’s center is what separates it from every other religion in the history of the world, the Gospel. This Greek word, translated literally, simply means the “Good News.”
However, many who have heard the word fail to understand what the Gospel is and its importance to them in this life and the next. Some over-simplify the Gospel by defining it solely as the “Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ” where others over-complicate it by adding to it things that are not necessary to disclose or even come to agreement on.
What I would like to do in this article, is simply explain the Gospel by separating it into four chronological sections.
The Gospel in Four Parts
In it’s simplest form it is the message which teaches us about God who inserted himself into human history as the man Jesus. More to the point, it is the story of his life, death, and resurrection which alone can save us from what we deserve, by offering us what we can never earn.
Long ago, everything that we see came into existence by the hands of the one and only creator (Isa 45:5) who has always existed outside of time (2Pet 3:8) and space (John 4:24) as three distinct persons known as the Father (Phi 1:2), Son (Jhn 1:1, 14) and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4). We call this creator God.
In the Bible, which we have strong reason to believe contains the very words of God given to us, we learn that God made everything we see and when he was done it was considered very good (Gen 1:31). While there is often debate over how literally we should take the language of the Bible’s creation account in Genesis 1, the one thing that is clear is that whenever the universe was created, it was God who did it.
The last object of God’s original creation was a man (Gen 2:7) we know of as Adam and from him God made a woman (Gen 2:21-22) named Eve. He placed both of them in a garden made for them called Eden (Gen 2:8) and gave them two commands, multiply (Gen 1:28) and do not eat the fruit of a particular tree (Gen 2:16-17).
Everything went well, for awhile.
Sometime after creation, while Adam and Eve were in the garden, we are told that the serpent, who is later revealed to be the a fallen angel named Satan, came to the woman and began to misquote God (Gen 3:1) in an attempt to persuade her into thinking that she could become like God by simply eating the fruit of the tree which God forbade them to eat from (Gen 3:4-5). Sadly, the serpent was able to deceive Eve into eating the fruit, some of which she then gave to her husband, Adam (Gen 3:6).
Immediately their eyes were opened and they felt the need to cover their nakedness (Gen 3:7) and hide from God whose steps they then heard in the garden (Gen 3:8).
When God called out to the man (Gen 3:9), Adam responded (Gen 3:10) and quickly informed his creator that a command had been broken (Gen 3:11). As a result of what is often called the first act of cosmic treason, many things changed: Most notably death entered the world (Gen 3:19), but also the ground was cursed which increased man’s labor for food (Gen 3:17-18), women’s birth pains were multiplied and a struggle for power and position in the marriage relationship began (Gen 3:16).
Because of Adam’s disobedience, which is also called sin (Rom 5:12-13), all of creation has been effected and separated from a right standing and relationship with God (Rom 3:23). But because of the love that God has for his creation (Jhn 3:16), he promised that one day he would come to make an offer that no one in their right mind would ever want to refuse (Gen 3:15).
Over the span of thousands of years, hundreds of prophecies were written about the events that would come to pass when God declared war on the Devil and initiated a rescue plan to save those who would accept what he had been preparing to offer the world.
Then at just the right time in history, a virgin (Luk 1:34) from a small town in Israel miraculously conceived (Luk 1:31) and gave birth to a baby boy in the town of Bethlehem (Luk 2:4-7). This boy grew up instructing the intellects (Luk 2:46-47) of his time and living in perfect obedience to his heavenly Father. At the age of thirty, he was baptized (Luk 3:21-22) and entered into a three year ministry where he gave healing to the sick, sight to the blind, humility to the proud and life to the dead.
Ultimately, he was executed on a cross (Luk 23:33) for claiming to be God (Jhn 5:18), by people who refused to hear his teaching and acknowledge the proofs that he gave to back up his claims.
But in an undeniable act of God, showing his triumph over Satan, sin and death, this small town man was resurrected from the grave on the third day, showed himself to hundreds of people and then returned to the place he came from (1Cor 15:3-7), which is the right hand of God the Father (Heb 10:12).
The man’s name is Jesus who is God in the form of man (Jhn 1:1, 14), the second person of the Trinity whom we know of as the Son. What he did through his life, death and resurrection was take the punishment we deserve for the treason we committed so that we could spend eternity with the one who created us. We receive what Jesus did for us much like we receive any other kind of gift (Rom 6:23); by putting our heart felt trust in the knowledge that it is truly ours to receive because of Jesus and what he has done for us (Eph 2:8-9).
Upon putting our faith in Jesus, all our sins are forgiven and we are returned to a right standing with God the Father (Rom 5:1), which is an event known as Justification. Additionally God’s Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us (Acts 13:52) to start the next process.
The Bible tells us that for those who put their faith in Jesus, God will begin a process of making all things new (Rev 21:5). We read of a new Heaven and a new Earth (Rev 21:1-2) where there will be no more sin, no more death, no more pain and no more separation between mankind and God (Rev 21:3-4).
Within the one who has put their faith in Jesus, a new work is started called Sanctification which means “set apart.” Here both the believer and the Holy Spirit begin to work together to produce a more Christ like character (Phi 2:12-13) over time. The result of this will be things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
It is important to know that faith is only as good as who you put it in. The false definitions of Jesus by groups such as the Mormons (Jesus is the half-brother of the devil), Jehovah’s Witnesses (Jesus is an angel who was made into a man), Muslims (Jesus was just a prophet), and New Agers (Jesus was a man who was in tune with the divine consciousness) cannot save you from your sins. Only faith in Jesus as he is described in the Bible – the original record – can save you from the consequence of your wrongful actions (Jhn 14:6).
If you want to put your faith in Jesus then there is no greater time than right now! To help, I encourage you to pray the following prayer, not because it is the words that grants you salvation, but because it aids you in understanding the decision you are making and is a verbal declaration of what is already true in your heart and mind.
Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I have sinned against you. I am in no way perfect and therefore cannot please you as a result of my own efforts. What I deserve is judgment for my sins and not rewards for my attempts to be good.
Jesus, I ask you to forgive me of my sins. Cleanse me and make me right before your eyes. I accept and trust in what you have done for me on the cross. I receive you as Lord of my life and the savior of my soul. Save me Jesus. Amen.
If you agree with the statements in the above prayer and firmly believe what it says, welcome to the family of God! Please contact us to let us know about your decision to follow Christ in response to the Gospel and to let us know if we can answer any questions you may have.