February 17, 2011

Great definition of the GOSPEL

My pastor in Jackson, Dr. Duncan, wrote a great explanation of the Gospel in our church newsletter this week. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and thought I would share it. It’s such a basic piece of knowledge that can be easy to take for granted.

So…how would you respond if someone asked you, “What is the Gospel?”

The one and only God, who is holy, made us in His image to know Him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from Him. What we deserve for this is final and eternal condemnation.

The good news is that, in His great love, God sent His Son, Jesus the Christ (that is, the Messiah), who lived a perfect life (a life we didn't and couldn't live), and died on the cross (in our place, dying the death we deserved), thus fulfilling the law Himself for us and taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust in Him. He rose again from the dead, showing us that God accepted His sacrifice on our behalf, displaying his power and victory over death and hell, and demonstrating that God's just wrath against us had been exhausted in, on, and by Him. That's the Good News.

But the Good News requires a response. What is that response? God now calls all of us to faith and repentance. He calls us to acknowledge our sin and guilt and need and to trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. Those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ are by God's grace pardoned, adopted, changed and brought into a new life, a life in which we can finally be and do what God created us to be and do (that is, to glorify and enjoy Him in all of life and to be a blessing to others), and in which we have communion, shared life, eternal fellowship with God, who is Himself our greatest treasure and blessing."

The Bible supplies us with numerous brief summations of the Gospel. Here are a few that quickly come to mind. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." Romans 5:8 "God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 2 Corinthians 5:21 "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 "Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, . . . . For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures . . . ."

Recently, John Piper offered this one sentence definition: "The Gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again eternally triumphant over all His enemies so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe but only everlasting joy."

There is actually a lot more…but I think this explains the nuts and bolts really well!

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