What is the Gospel?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

When you hear the word gospel, what comes to mind: music, church, religion?

The word gospel actually means good news. But good news implies there must also be bad news. And so if you look around you and in particular at your own heart, I am sure you will admit something is terribly wrong.

Jesus said, “out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matt. 5:19). And so this fact is humanity’s biggest problem and the reason why the world is clouded in unkindness, violence, hate, lawlessness, etc.

The Apostle Paul said, “for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:3-4).

BAD NEWS

And so mankind’s biggest problem is this, God is Holy and we are not. God’s standard is moral perfection and we all fall miserably short.

Ask yourself the following, have you ever lied, stolen, hated, lusted? In this regard, Jesus said, “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). Jesus also said, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.  But I say to you that…whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matt. 5:21-22).

You see, the way God judges us is not only by our actions, but by looking at the attitudes of our heart and the thoughts of our mind. Therefore, we all stand guilty before a perfect and holy God.  “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

God created us in His image to be a reflection and an expression of His glory, holiness and goodness. He created us to love Him above all and enjoy Him forever. We tarnished this through our disobedience to Him and by falling into sin. And  so the punishment He has determined for disobedience is eternity in hell. “And these will go away into eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:46).

We can also not earn God’s approval by our good works. That’s why Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:21-23).

Being saved means, being know by Christ and not necessarily you knowing about Him or giving some mental or verbal approval of who He is. Being saved is a spiritual thing. It means to be transformed in the inner parts of your being by the Spirit of God.

God said, “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Jer. 36:26).

You see we hate, lust and have evil desires because of the hard heart we are born with. David, who sinned against God by committing adultery knew this, “I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5).  The solution is to be born again; to receive a new heart through a second spiritual birth that will long and desire after God.

Jesus said, “no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again” (John 3:3)…no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:3, 5). To be born again you need to deeply understand your sinfulness and run to Christ for mercy. “He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner'” (Luke 18:13).

GOOD NEWS

But the gospel is good news because God provided the solution to sin by sending His only begotten Son to reconcile sinners to Himself. “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:20).

Jesus Christ, the eternal son of God took on flesh and lived a life of perfect obedience to God the Father – He did not sin in word, thought or action unlike all of humanity who sins every day. “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22).

He then voluntarily went to the cross and took the punishment we rightly deserve. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). He defeated sin and death forever.

Three days later he rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, where he reigns forever to save everyone who put their trust in Him alone. “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).

And so you see the solution to our predicament of being in sin and under the judgement of God is to look at Christ and be saved. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14). Jesus became a man so that He might be placed on a cross to pay the price for my and your sin.

SALVATION?

The question is what will you do with this good news? Will you reject God’s offer of salvation or will you humble yourself, see yourself as someone that has offended God by your sin and in need of a saviour?

Because of sin, the only guarantee you have in this world is death. No matter how healthy or wealthy you are you cannot escape this reality. “Everyone is appointed to die once, and after that comes judgement” (Heb. 9:27). But Jesus Christ came to unite lost sinners to God. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

So the question is, “what must you do?” The apostle Peter preached a similar message on the day of Pentecost and the crowds asked, “What shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-38).

Are you ready to meet God when you die or when Jesus returns to judge the world? You can be! Turn from your sin (repent) and put all your faith & trust in Jesus Christ alone.

But it is very important to know that no good work can save you; only the finished work Jesus accomplished on the cross can! “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,  not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8). What you need to do is to run to Jesus and hold on to him as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Then begin to grow as a believer by reading the Bible, joining a faithful church, and being much in prayer. To this end you can make yourself know to us and join this Bible study group. We would like to help you to understand who Jesus is and what salvation means.

We would love to hear from you. If you have any questions please contact or join us at one of our services:

Goodwood Baptist Church

Sunday Service: 10am & 6:30pm.
Address: Corner of Milton and Fisher Street, Goodwood, Cape Town.
Tel: +27 (0)21 591 8041.
Email: durbanvillehomefellowship@gmail.com.
Web: www.goodwoodbaptistchurch.co.za