The Good News
The Good News
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
- Romans 1:16-17, ESV
We learn of the gospel, which simply means “good news”, from the Bible. So, what is the good news of the Bible? First, we must note that while the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books written by numerous men across multiple continents over the course of about 1,500 years, it is all communicating the same message and pointing to the same person, Jesus. When confronted by some religious scholars, Jesus made this truth quite pointedly for them:
"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life."
- John 5:39-40, ESV
The Bible is a collection of books that all communicate the same message, the gospel, and Jesus is at the center of that. This is why the gospel will be at the center of every sermon or teaching you hear at Beloved Church. To teach any part of Scripture without seeing how it beautifully points to Jesus would be to miss the point!
This central message of the entire Bible can be easily understood through a simple alliteration: Good, Guilt, Grace, Gratitude.
First, we learn that God created everything and declared it to be good. This includes man, who was made in God’s image. Man was physically, relationally, and spiritually good as God created him.
Man chose to disobey God and eat from the one tree God forbade man to eat from. This disobedience and rebellion caused man to fall, or no longer be good. Death—being both spiritual and physical—is the ultimate consequence of sin. God is perfect and holy, so He could not be in a good relationship with sinful man. To be restored back to the way man was created as good, man’s guilt would have to be addressed. Because of sin, and we all sin, everyone is guilty before God.
(Genesis 3; Romans 3:23, 6:23)
Because of our rebellion against God and resulting guilt as sinners, we deserve God’s wrath. Separation from God and eternal suffering are the appropriate consequences man should face to appease God’s justice. However, in God’s great love and grace, He has provided salvation through His Son, Jesus, for us who are completely undeserving. Grace is essentially God showing us favor when we cannot possibly earn or deserve it.
Jesus lived a perfect life while we cannot because of our birth into sin. He revealed Himself to be God in human flesh, come to save the world. He was murdered and endured the wrath of God as He became our sin in exchange for His righteousness on the cross. Dying the death we deserve, He was victorious over death and sin rising up again on the third day! His work and provision of salvation is certain for all who repent (or turn from) their sin, believe Jesus died and rose again, and confess Him as Lord. Ultimately, the only way to be saved from the consequences of our sin is to place our faith in Jesus for salvation. As followers of Christ, we look to Him alone for salvation and know that He exchanged our sin for His righteousness just like Paul told the Corinthian church.
(John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:9-11)
Recognizing that we deserve eternal punishment because of our sins, we worship God in awe of His grace and serve out of gratitude for what He has done. The salvation we have in Jesus was not meant to end with simply saving us from Hell and sin’s consequences. God saved us to worship Him and do good works for His glory. These works do not affect our salvation, but are a response to it in thankfulness for His grace and are possible because of His Spirit in us. Even as we struggle to overcome our sins through the power of the Spirit, we rest in the confidence of the gospel—we stand in grace!
(2 Corinthians 5:15; Ephesians 2:8-10; Romans 5:2)
The gospel shows us that we were not always Christians. There is a turning point, a point at which a non-believer becomes a believer. Christians were not always Christians. Some Christians can pinpoint a single moment or event in which they acknowledged the truth of the gospel, confessed themselves to be a sinner in need of Christ as Savior and called on Him as such with belief in His power and promise to save. Other Christians cannot tell you an exact moment, but note that they were once not a part of God’s family, cut off in their sin; but were at some point brought into His family and salvation through faith. We hear the gospel and respond with faith and repentance. We continue in the gospel with faith and repentance as God’s saved children.
While some cannot pinpoint a moment of conversion, there is a moment in which the Spirit regenerates our hearts and seals us with a promise for the day of redemption (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 1:13-14). Many find a prayer of confession and commitment to be a helpful way of expressing their desire to trust and follow Jesus.
The invitation is real: pray to God. Tell Him that you acknowledge your sinfulness. Tell Him you repent, or turn away from your sin and need Him to be able to do so. Ask for and accept His forgiveness. Tell Him you believe Jesus lived a sinless life, died the death you deserve, and rose again victorious over sin and death on the third day. Tell Him you believe He did that so you could have life with Him. Confess Him as Lord and Savior. Ask Him to help you live for His name by the power of the Spirit. Pray this with confidence—we can draw near to the throne of grace because of the saving work of Jesus (Hebrews 4:14-16).
We continue and grow to be more and more conformed to the image of Christ through the continued work of the Spirit and the word. This process is known as sanctification. The Apostle Peter wrote that we should “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2, ESV). The pure spiritual milk is the word, which we know is all about the gospel. Along with the ingestion of the word through Bible-intake in its various forms, Christ gave us two ordinances to remind us and proclaim who we are and what He has done in the gospel.