The gospel of Jesus Christ – What is it?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). The gospel or "good news" is that God has provided a way of salvation for mankind. Why did man need salvation? Because of sin. Sin could be defined as an inherent impulse, natural to every person born, to self-destruct. God, our Creator, has shown us what is good, but we impulsively choose to do the opposite. The Law that God gave to Moses, including the famous Ten Commandments, is like a blueprint of goodness—a reflection of God's character.

A long time after the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, the apostle Paul preached about the Law. The Law told him what was good, and then "sin came alive" and he died (Romans 7:9), for the wages of sin—even one sin—is death (Romans 6:23) and eternal punishment (Revelation 20:15; Matthew 25:46). It is separation from God forever, and is called the "second death" (Revelation 20:14–15). This is terrible news. Paul then wondered "Did that which is good, then, bring death to me?" (Romans 7:13) and answers his own question: no, it was not the Law which produced death, but sin, "in order that sin might be shown to be sin."

All men are sinful and unable to do what is good by God's standards (Romans 3:10–12). Throughout history, men have tried to appease the gods by their good works and sacrifices, but the Bible says that "by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). The point of the Law was not to bring us death, it was to bring us an awareness of sin so that we could see the Way toward Life. Those who say they have not sinned are lying to themselves (1 John 1:8, 10). We all know that we are not perfect.

The good news is that we don't have to suffer the punishment for sin. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. For "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). How can this be? How can it be just for Jesus to simply forgive us of our sins? Under the law, there is no forgiveness of sins without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). When the Law was first given, God gave the Israelites animal sacrifices that would atone for their sins (Leviticus 1:1–4). This ritual had another purpose—it was a picture of the sacrifice Christ would make on the cross for everyone who would believe. He was perfect (Hebrews 9:11) and eternal (1 John 5:20) and therefore his sacrifice atoned "once for all" (Hebrews 10:10). So "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).

Jesus told His disciples: "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40). Jesus made this promise good when He died and rose again, showing us that He has the power to raise us as well! Again, the gospel of Jesus Christ is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." And that is very good news.

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