the Gospel is Good News.
Literally. That’s what the word “gospel” actually means–which is why I’m so excited about Jesus: because He is good news.
God created us to thrive by being in relationship with Him. We lived in perfect paradise and harmony in a perfect world. But Adam and Eve–the first humans God created–chose not to trust God and disobeyed Him. Sin came on the scene, and because of their decision all of humanity is sinful by nature and the world is broken. (We see that today in big ways like murder, prejudice, abuse, hatred, and seemingly smaller ones like pride, lust, jealousy, gossip, lying, etc.) That perfect relationship turned into a broken one. Because God is holy (which means set apart), and He can’t be associated with our sin, humanity was separated from God because we rebelled against Him. (Genesis 1-3; Isaiah 59:2; Romans 3:23, 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:18)
But God loves us so deeply that He restored the relationship we broke for His glory and our good. He had absolutely no reason to, except out of love. The Lord did this by sending His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life as fully God and fully man here on earth. Even though Jesus was tempted just like us, He never sinned. When He was put to death on a cross–by the very people He came to save–He took on the punishment we deserved. On the third day God raised Him to life. (John 1:14, 3:16; Matthew 27-28; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 5:6; 8:3-4; 1 Peter 2:24)
good works ≠ peace with God
Naturally we love sin, but it only brings death. Even if we try to live perfect lives, no matter how “good” we try to be, we can never achieve holiness to be accepted by God. We’re totally incapable of earning our way into God’s favor. We can’t become holy by trying to be a good person or doing the “right” things. And since He’s Judge, we deserve the rightful consequence for every single sin: eternal punishment and God’s wrath in Hell. (Psalm 9:7-8; Romans 2:2-5; Ephesians 2:1-3; James 2:10; Revelation 21:8)
But the story doesn’t end there.
Because Jesus wore our shame on the cross, we can wear His righteousness. The cross bridged the cavern between us and God. By repenting of our sins, surrendering to Christ, and believing that God resurrected Jesus, we not only are forgiven of every single sin–past, present, and future–but we can walk in freedom even in this broken world. Once we place our faith and hope in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, to convict us of our old, sin-loving ways and empower us to honor God, Who gave Himself up for us. We have the joyful anticipation of spending eternity with God in perfect relationship, worshipping Him forever and ever in Heaven and the new earth. Until then, we have the privilege of sharing this GOOD NEWS with others!!! (Psalm 103:10-13; Matthew 28:19-21; John 1:12; Acts 13:38-39; Romans 5:1-11, 6:23, 10:9, 13:14; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:1-17; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 4:15; 1 John 1:9)
How to become a follower of Jesus
Becoming a disciple or follower of Jesus means accepting this incredible free gift of salvation and forgiveness by turning away from sin and instead trusting in and pursuing Christ. There’s no magical or specially-worded vow to begin a relationship with Jesus. It’s a prayer, a conversation with God in a confession of repentance and belief. To make that decision, in your own words, looks like this:
ADMIT – Admit you’re a sinner. You need Christ. It all starts with looking inward and seeing no matter how good you try to be or how you chase after happiness, you’re dead inside. We’re lost. We’re broken. We’re doomed without God. We’re desperately wicked. We have to realize and fully acknowledge we need a Savior in order to be saved. (1 John 1:8)
BELIEVE – Believe in your heart that Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life, was crucified, buried, and risen back to life on the third day to bear the punishment for your sins that you deserved but Jesus mercifully took on instead so that you could be made right with God. (John 3:16, 6:40; Acts 2:21)
CONFESS – Confess that this is true. Your decision to follow Christ is an acceptance of your identity bought by Jesus and a declaration of Who you’re living for: the God Who saved you. Genuine belief will spur on actions, to live for Jesus and like Jesus and share the good news (the Gospel) of Jesus with others. (Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 6:12)
It’s the absolute BEST decision you will ever make.
If you’ve made this decision to follow Christ, I would love to hear your story and help you get plugged into solid resources that will cultivate your relationship with Christ through biblical community, reading God’s Word, prayer, etc.
No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve faced or will go through in this life, Jesus has overcome, and He will comfort us and sustain us through it all. And His love never changes. Even though we still struggle with sin, we’re no longer slaves to it. We’re bound to righteousness because of Christ our Savior. He is gracious, forgiving, and merciful. You are adopted into God’s family. You’re a child of God! You’ve now got the God of the universe as your Father, Who will never leave us or forsake us (John 1:12-13; Romans 6:6-7, 6:14; Ephesians 1:5-6; Hebrews 13:5).