The gospel is the greatest and most important message in human history. There is nothing more vital to hear and believe. It is the proclamation that changes literally everything.
So what is this message?
The gospel is the message that God has done all that is necessary to redeem, reconcile, and restore us and all of Creation to a holy and harmonious relationship with him through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Do you want to have that holy and harmonious relationship with God? Do you know how to find it? More accurately, do you know in whom you can find it?
The Bible tells us that peace with God is possible through Jesus Christ alone.
1. God’s Offer: Grace
God offers salvation according to his grace, not our works. You cannot earn your salvation. Salvation and peace with God are free gifts. Consider these few verses of Scripture:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” –Romans 6:23
“For 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.” –Ephesians 2:8
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy.” –Titus 3:4-5
2. Our Problem: Sin
We have all fallen short of God’s glory and deserve his wrath.
God is holy and just. He does not turn a blind eye to evil. He judges it, all of it. Because we’ve all broken the laws of God (by lying, cheating, stealing, and so on), we all deserve his wrath. Remember, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The Bible is clear on this point: none of our good deeds are sufficient to atone for our sin.
In fact, if we would earn our salvation, we would need to be perfect. Consider these words of Jesus:
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” –Matthew 5:48
We have no hope of being perfect in our own efforts. As the Apostle Paul said, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If we’re going to be saved, it must be by grace.
3. God’s Gracious Provision: Jesus Christ
Thankfully, God is not only just. He is also gracious. And in his grace, he sent his one and only Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life. While on earth, Jesus offered that sinless and perfect life on the cross for us, in our place. Jesus suffered and died as our substitute. On the third day, he rose again from the dead, signaling his victory over the grave and the sufficiency of his work. He took the wrath of God upon himself and forever away from those who will trust in Him.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” –John 1:1, 14
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” –Isaiah 53:6
“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 Corinthians 5:21
Notice what that last verse is saying! Not only does Jesus take away our sin. In Christ, God’s grace replaces our sin with Christ’s righteousness. In Christ, we can be made truly holy in God's sight—considered as holy as God’s one and only Son!
4. Our Response: Faith in God’s Provision
True and saving faith in God is not merely believing facts taught in the Bible. It is living and active trust in those truths. True saving faith is enduring trust in God, that salvation is by His grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. If you will truly believe (trust) in God’s offer of grace through Jesus, you will be saved. This is the promise of God:
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” –Acts 16:31
Consider also these words of Scripture:
“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved… For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” –Romans 10:10, 13
Would you like to place your trust in Christ and be saved? You can!
However, count the cost of following Jesus. Following Jesus means things like:
a. Receiving Christ
To be forgiven of our sins and restored to peace with God, we must receive God’s gracious offer of salvation through his Son, Jesus. We can do this through prayer (talking to God). Your prayer might be something like this, but it doesn’t have to be. Just make it authentic and honest, from your heart. A sample prayer for forgiveness:
“God, I confess that I am a sinner. I’ve not honored and obeyed you with my life. I know that you are just and holy, and that I deserve your condemnation for my sin. Please forgive me. I trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for my sins on the cross. I believe in his resurrection. Thank you for his suffering in my place; for taking away my sin; and for granting forgiveness and holiness to me through Jesus. Help me to now live for you. Amen.”
Until now, you’ve sought peace, joy, and satisfaction in many ways opposed to God. Maybe you did so through irreligion, rejecting God's Law and doing whatever you pleased in opposition to him. Maybe you did so through religion, believing that your religious performance would make you acceptable in God's sight. Irreligion and religion might seem very different. They aren't. They're actually quite similar: ways of relying on ourselves and our works, not God and his gracious performance for us in Jesus.
Whatever your false sources of trust, you were striving to find in them what you can only truly find in Christ. Truly trusting in and turning toward Christ means turning away from these false sources of refuge and rest more and more every day and now finding them in God. This is something the Bible calls “repentance.”
God provides ordinary, everyday means by which we can grow to renew our perspective (way of seeing God, ourselves, and our world), our priorities (what we value), and our practices (our behavior, speech, and so on) for his glory, our good, and the good of others. The Bible calls this process of renewal, sanctification. For our growth in grace, God desires that we routinely do things like study His Word, the Bible, pray to him, and fellowship with one another.
5. God’s Assurance
If the desire of your heart is now to truly trust in Christ, you are saved! You are forgiven. You are now one of God’s children. You can have freedom of conscience, joy in the Holy Spirit of God, and the reassurance of God’s love—now and forever.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” –John 6:47
“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” –John 1:12
Your Next Steps
As you now move forward in your new faith, be sure to find a church family that preaches the truth of God’s Word, a family of faith in which you can grow to know more about the good news of Jesus for every aspect of your life. If you happen to live in the Orlando area, please consider joining us at Willow Creek Church in Winter Springs! We’d love to have you as our guest.
However, if you don't live in the Orlando area and would like some help finding a solid church, please contact Pastor Kevin Labby. They would be thrilled to help you find a church in your area, one that preaches the truth of God's Word and the good news of God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ.