What is the Gospel?
The word "gospel" means "good news." It is good news because by His grace, God has made a way to forgive us of our sin, save us from the penalty we deserve, and promise us eternal life. To understand why the gospel is such "good news," we need to understand how badly we human beings need to be forgiven and reconciled to God. The Bible shows us the standard by which God calls us to live.
The Ten Commandments
These standards are summarized in the ten commandments:
1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not make for yourself and idol.
3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.
5. Honor your father and mother.
6. You shall not murder.
7. You shall not commit adultery,
8. You shall not steal.
9. You shall not bear false witness.
10. You shall not covet.
God Knows our Heart
God calls us to be perfect as he is perfect (Mt. 5:48) and to be "holy as he is holy," (1 Pet. 1:16). According to God's perfect, holy standard if we've ever told a lie, we are a liar. If we have every stolen, we are a thief. If we have ever misused God's name, we are a blasphemer. Even more unsettling is the truth that God knows the secrets of our heart (Psalm 44:21). If we have ever looked with lust we are an adulterer. If we've ever hated someone we are a murderer. If we're honest with our selves, it's not hard to understand that according to God's perfect standards we are all liars, thieves, blasphemers, adulterers, and murderers at heart! The Bible tells us that the wages of our sin is death (Rom 3:23). That is, eternal separation from God. The good news is that God does not want anyone to perish (Ez. 18:23).
"God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have everlasting life." (Jn. 3:16) Therefore, he sent his Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. He paid the penalty we deserve for breaking God's law. Then, Jesus conquered sin and death when he was raised to new life and ascended into heaven. When we put our faith in Jesus, God credits Jesus' righteousness to us. He forgives us of our sins without compromising His holy and righteous character. Then, God gives us the Holy Spirit to live within us. He gives us a new heart so we will seek to love Him with all that we are, and love our neighbor as our self. He calls us to a life of gratitude as we worship and serve him with brothers and sisters and Christ. He gives us joy and meaning in this life, and the certain hope that we will spend eternity with God and all God's children in heaven.