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What Is the Gospel?

In ancient days, messengers were used to deliver important information. On many occasions, the fate of the messenger depended upon the news he brought. If he brought good news, he was rewarded. If he brought bad news, he was punished, or killed. You will be pleased to know that I bring you good news. This good news is the gospel of Jesus Christ. We sometimes use the word "gospel" to refer to the absolute truth, and that's what the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is.

Romans 1:16-18 says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: 'The righteous will live by faith.'"

This gospel of Jesus Christ is indeed good news, and it's the truth. The wrath of God is upon those who reject His son, Jesus. They will stand accountable on judgment day. God is a perfect god of love, but because He is perfect, his wrath must punish sin. Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Romans 1:19-20 says, "Since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

We cannot claim that we don't know that God created the world. If we do, we are only fooling ourselves. We all know the truth. C. S. Lewis said, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it, I see everything else."

Titus 2:11 says, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men." God has revealed His truth in nature. But some choose to suppress that truth. You may tell me that you deny God, but the Bible says that you really know better than that. Just listen to your conscience. On April 18th, 1521, Martin Luther was on trial for preaching the very gospel I'm writing about here. When he was asked to change his mind about this good news, he said, "My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against my conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other."

Why do I bring you this good news of the gospel? Because my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Here I stand, I can do no other."

Romans 1:21-23 says, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles."

Verses 29-32 say, "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree, that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but also approve of those who practice them."

Have you ever been envious, wanting what someone else had? Have you murdered, or even hated someone else? Have you caused strife? Young people, have you disobeyed your parents? All of these sins separate us from God. God cannot tolerate such evil acts in His perfect heaven.

Romans 2:1-2 says, "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth."

None of us has any excuse. We will stand in judgment, under the wrath of God Himself. All of us are guilty. How can we accuse others when we ourselves are guilty? God's righteous judgment is based upon truth, as is the good news of the gospel.

Continuing in Romans 2:5-11, "But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger... For God does not show favoritism."

God's judgment is perfectly righteous. Only God can give eternal life. But those who reject the truth will suffer eternal death. They will be judged by the wrath and anger of a righteous God. If we reject His son, we will know trouble and distress. Do you seek glory, honor, and peace? God shows no favoritism--whether you are from America or India, or rich or poor. The Bible tells us about the trouble and distress for those who reject God's son.

Revelation 20:11-15 says, "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it...The dead were judged according to what they had done...The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

At the great white throne judgment of God, all unbelievers will be judged by God. They will all be found lacking, and they will be cast into the lake of fire. If we die physically while we're spiritually dead, we will eventually enter the second death. There is no way for man to remove the wall that separates him from God, not even by water baptism or the church.

Romans 3:10-12 says, "As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one."

Well, if we are all guilty, then where is the good news? How can any of us have any hope? How can the wall of separation between God and man be removed? God provides the good news through His gospel, by granting us righteousness through faith. Romans 2:21-26 says, "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood...the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."

We are all unworthy of God's standards. The only way we can be saved is by accepting as truth the good news of the absolute righteousness of Jesus Christ. This righteousness is offered to us as a free grace gift from God. All we have to do is recognize our guilt and condemnation, and believe the truth, that Jesus Christ died for our sins.

Romans 4:16 says, "Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring."

Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We all know that we have sinned.

Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." We all know that we are doomed to death for our sin.

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

This is the good news of the gospel, although it's somewhat perplexing. Why would God sacrifice His one and only Son for us? My son is 29 years old. He is my one and only son, and I love him with all my heart. He is a big, strong man, and he has a heart for Jesus Christ. I also love every one of you reading this right now. That means that I want the best for each of you, and I'm willing to make some sacrifices to ensure the best for you. But I'm not sure I love you enough to sacrifice my one and only son for you.

Jesus Christ is God's Son. The Bible says that God is well pleased with His Son, Jesus. He loves Him with greater love than I can even understand, He loves me with that same tremendous love. But He did love me enough to even sacrifice His one and only Son. This is indeed good news for us.

We can't do anything to save ourselves, because we have nothing to offer God. Only God can save us. We simply believe that he can save us, and place our trust in His saving grace. He saves us free of charge, and then He continues to provide for us throughout eternity with unearned blessings. Since he saves us, we call this experience, salvation. The term "salvation" simply means being saved from destruction. The doctrine of salvation teaches us how to be saved from an eternity of fire in hell. This is the good news of the gospel.

Why does God save us? He wouldn't have to save us. God's purpose in saving sinners is that they'll learn to please Him by bearing fruit for Him and increasing in His glory and grace.

Romans 7:4 says, "You died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God."

Colossians 1:10 says, "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord, and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God." Believers are to please God and bear His fruit through good works and through increasing in the knowledge of His word.

The good news about salvation is that it's a free grace gift from God. Ephesians 2:5 says, "By grace you have been saved." We can't receive salvation in any other way.

God is the one who provides salvation, not man. Romans 11:5 says, "So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace." It's His choice, not ours. The good news is that He is a god of truth, a god of the gospel.

It is a joy to bring this good news of the gospel to you. I urge you to accept this free gift from God today. Here I stand, I can do no other.

Owen Weber 2008