The word “gospel” means “good news.” This word was used in the secular world to refer to one of many events that altered history (ex. the birth of Caesar was announced as being good news). But in the New Testament it is used to refer to one history-altering, life-changing, nothing-will-ever-be-the-same event. And that singular “good news” is that the gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Rom. 1:16).
How is the gospel presented in the Bible?
Unlike what many have heard, the gospel does not begin with “God has a wonderful plan for your life...” Rather, the Apostle Paul begins the good news with this shocking statement: “For the wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men…” (Rom. 1:18). Unless we first understand that we justly deserve God’s infinite wrath because of our sin, the “good news” is no news at all.
Why do we deserve God's Judgment?
We deserve God's judgment because of our own sin. “Sin” literally means, “to miss the mark.” Sin is anything you think, say, or do that is not consistent with the holy character of God as revealed in the Bible.
And the Bible describes all men as either self-righteous sinners (religious but still unrighteous) or un-righteous sinners (not religious but still unrighteous). It sums this up by saying, “… all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
The Bible goes on to say that God will punish sin: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23). “Death” is eternal separation from God in hell, a place of eternal torment.
Is there any way to escape God's wrath?
God has provided only one way for us to escape the just punishment for ours sins—Jesus Christ (whose person and work are the “good news”).
In summary, the “good news” is that Jesus Christ (who is fully God) laid aside His privileges as God, became a man, lived a sinless life, was crucified for our sins, and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4). He became our sinless substitute to secure our right standing with God. In the words of 2 Corinthians 5:21: "He made him, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." Because Jesus is also infinite and eternal God, He was able to satisfy the infinite wrath of God against sin. His resurrection is proof that He conquered sin and death.
Because of what Jesus Christ did on our behalf, we can have our sins forgiven, be reconciled to God, and have eternal life in Him. The Bible says, “… but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). It also says that God“justifies the ungodly” (i.e. sinners) based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ who died in our place and paid the penalty for our sins (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:5b).
How can we have eternal life and the forgiveness of sins?
Change your thinking about God, His Son, His salvation, and your own sin – in light of the good news! Admit to God that you are sinful and helpless to do anything to change your condition before Him. Trust soley in Christ as God’s perfect Son who died for your sins so that you could be reconciled to God. Two words summarize your proper response to the good news – repent and believe.
How can you begin living out the good news?
The Bible says that those who have truly received the gospel by trusting in Jesus Christ will give themselves to the worship of God and to the pursuit of a transformed life —“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God… and do not be conformed to the this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind… “ (Rom. 12:1-2).
How do we worship God and grow in salvation?
- Go to church: Find a church that teaches the Bible so that you can learn more about God and grow with God's people.
- Read the Bible and pray: God speaks to us through His Word. We speak to God through prayer.
- Obey: Demonstrate your love for God by knowing and obeying what He says in His Word.
- Witness: Tell others the good news!
What is our promised hope?
Those who have trusted Christ possess eternal life now and God’s promise of a future inheritance in heaven. Peter describes this heavenly inheritance as “imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:4-5). Heaven will be a place where believers will be able to worship and enjoy God forever and never sin again (Rev. 21-22).